WASHINGTON — After Democrats said Tuesday they had raised $7.6 million by warning supporters that a planned GOP lawsuit against President Barack Obama could lead to impeachment, House Speaker John Boehner accused the White House of engaging in a fundraising "scam" because there are "no plans" for such a step.
Boehner, R-Ohio, said that Democrats are using the impeachment issue to raise money and rally their base.
"This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president's own staff and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill," Boehner told reporters. "We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans."
Boehner's comments come before an expected vote today by the full House to initiate a lawsuit against Obama over alleged abuse of executive powers. The suit is seen as a way to placate conservative elements of the GOP base who think impeachment should be pursued.
Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that incoming House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., "breathed new life" into impeachment speculation by refusing to rule it out in a network TV interview Sunday.
"I do not write Steve Scalise's talking points," Israel told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor shortly before Boehner's news conference. "They're pushing this because they believe it in their souls, or they believe it in their political calculations."
Israel detailed how potent the threat of impeachment has been for Democrats — generating $7.6 million in online donations since Boehner announced the lawsuit in June, including $3 million since an initial committee hearing to discuss it and $1 million on Monday alone.
Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, chairman of the House Republicans' campaign committee, suggested Tuesday that Republicans avoid the topic of impeachment.