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Report: University investigates students for letting tracker secretly record Carlos Curbelo remarks


George Washington University is investigating two members of its College Democrats for allowing someone to secretly record remarks made to College Republicans by Miami congressional candidate Carlos Curbelo, according to the university's independent student newspaper.

The GW Hatchet reports that the two students apparently signed in the so-called tracker, a person sent by the opposition to follow a candidate's every move.

The tracker was signed into Thurston Hall by a student with a GWorld card. CD President Connor Schmidt and [College Republicans Chairman Alex] Pollock said the incident encouraged “dirty politics” and exploited college students’ access to speaker events.

Pollock said he worried that candidates might now hesitate to speak at GW, particularly during campaign seasons.

College Republicans told the newspaper the tracker worked for Garcia, though the video, first published by the Miami Herald, appeared to have been obtained by national Democrats and not the candidate's campaign. (The article claims Democrats have asked the Herald to take down or edit its original post.) 

It seems unusual that student leaders at an institution of higher learning would endorse keeping politicians' comments secret, in case candidates happen to say what they really think and those comments might be reported to voters.

In the recording, Curbelo called Social Security and Medicare a "Ponzi scheme" -- a clip that has since been used in attack ads by Garcia and by a Democratic political action committee (and rated False by PolitiFact Florida).

The GW report prompted the National Republican Congressional Committee to accuse Garcia of risking two students' academic futures.

"Not only has he caused his longtime friend to do jail time, while other staffers have lost their jobs due to criminal behavior on Garcia's behalf, now Joe is putting college kids' futures in jeopardy all for his own political career," NRCC spokeswoman Katie Prill said in a statement.

Not to be outdone, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also weighed in, taking the opportunity to again bash Curbelo over the substance of his comments.

"It makes sense that Carlos Curbelo and his Washington backers are trying to throw a fit about this video because what it shows is that Curbelo is totally out of touch with South Floridians: He thinks Medicare and Social Security are a 'Ponzi scheme,'" DCCC spokesman David Bergstein said in a statement.