How to Do a Watergate Without Going to Prison

A photo of the DCCC presentation taken by Republican operatives.Screenshot: Politico (NRCC

Operatives from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spied on their Democratic counterparts as they conducted a strategy session on upcoming congressional races, according to a report in Politico’s Playbook newsletter detailing one of the dumber episodes of intrigue in our already asinine political moment.

Politico writes that members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) were holding a meeting “billed as part of their Red to Blue program,” i.e. their strategy for flipping Republican-held seats in Congress for Democrats this November. It’s the kind of meeting that a political party wants to keep internal so as not to give their opponent any valuable data on strengths or weaknesses. Democrats chose to do this in a room with large windows at street level that apparently had canvass window blinds so thin they could be seen straight through, which is stupid. The lack of precaution meant that people from the NRCC were able to walk right up and start snapping photos through a window, which is in a sense clever, but not clever like a fox, unless the fox is a stupid fox that got lucky. Note that the DCCC and NRCC are apparently like a block and a half from each other, further reducing the effort required to do this.

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Politico obtained a copy of the NRCC report, though it’s not clear whether it was leaked (stupid) or the NRCC wanted to brag about how dumb their opponents are despite the fact that it would alert their opponents to stop holding meetings in that room (again, very stupid).

“As we walked to the DCCC, we could clearly see [the] slideshow titled ‘DCCC California Delegation’ from the sidewalk where a driveaway from a gated parking lot meets the street. There was an ashtray there, so we stood where the sidewalk meets the driveway for an hour and smoked next to the ashtray so we could photograph slides and take notes on polling data,” NRCC operatives, who of course are chain-smokers, wrote in the report.

“Since it was the end of the workday and a big meeting was starting, at least a dozen people walked past us during this time (Members, security and DCCC staff),” they added, highlighting how this whole episode is like watching a drunk person play a level of Splinter Cell where the guards are also drunk. “No one took issue with us at any point.”

Republicans were able to lift some valuable intelligence from the situation, according to Politico, such as how the GOP candidate in California’s 25th district trails by just four points in Democratic internal polling (a district that swung blue by 54.4 percent to Republicans’ 45.6 percent in the last election) and a number of Democratic Party favorites in various primary races.

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“When you have no ideas or accomplishments to run on, you creep in the bushes, take pictures through people’s windows, and invade their privacy,” a DCCC spokesperson told Politico in a stupid statement. “The next time the NRCC is looking for tips on running winning campaigns, all they have to do is call us—we’ll be more than happy to explain why Kevin McCarthy is the Minority Leader.”

Going forward, we would advise the DCCC to keep their meetings on Signal, but we know how much luck the Democratic establishment has when it comes to navigating apps.

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