News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Protests against Karl Rove planned at Gerlach fundraiser

By Kimberly Hefling / Associated Press

Washington - White House adviser Karl Rove was scheduled to appear at a fundraiser Tuesday night for Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., and Democratic activists were planning a protest.

"Our question to Jim Gerlach is why are you seeking the support of somebody who put politics ahead of patriotism?" said Tom Matzzie, Washington director for, a liberal group behind the protest.

Rove, the architect behind President Bush's election victories, is at the center of a federal investigation into a 2003 news leak that exposed the identity of a CIA officer. Some Democrats have called for his resignation.

Gerlach barely defeated Democratic attorney Lois Murphy in 2004 to win his second term in the district, which is made up of parts of Berks, Chester, Montgomery and Lehigh counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. He won by 2 percentage points, despite raising $2.3 million and spending $2.1 million on the race.

John Brabender, a campaign adviser to Gerlach, said Democrats are frustrated about Murphy's loss to Gerlach.

"I think they're going to run their typical negative-after-negative-type campaign and as usual not put forward any positive ideas," Brabender said.

Murphy, who has filed to run again against Gerlach in 2006, released a statement calling on Gerlach to cancel the fundraiser.

"Until Rove's role in the controversy is explained to the satisfaction of the American people, Jim Gerlach should not seek to benefit from Rove's support for his political campaign," Murphy said.

Brabender said Gerlach did not consider canceling Rove's visit at the fundraiser because it would have sent the wrong message. He said the fundraiser was scheduled sometime ago, but he did not know the number of people expected to attend.

"In this country we respect people's rights and until a time that some court or somebody proves that somebody has done something wrong, that we treat people with respect," Brabender said.

Gerlach started the month with $742,704 on hand, and Murphy had $106,329. Another Democratic opponent, Mike Leibowitz, had $3,000 cash on hand.


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