NRSC Fundraising Scheme Has Potential to Intimidate Elderly

Earlier today I went out to my mailbox to get our mail. I saw a very official looking envelope that had printed "Return Enclosed" at the bottom as if it were a tax return. While it was addressed to my husband, we commonly open each other's mail if it has to do with taxes. It wasn't until I pulled out the contents of the envelope that I realized it was a fundraiser. My blood started to boil.

Elizabeth Dole sent out an NRSC fundraiser intentionally disguised as a "Return" and sent to "U.S. Individual Resident". Upon a quick second look I did see that the return address had the American Eagle and Elizabeth Dole's name at the top of the envelope. Someone else might honestly think that this was an official notification from the government. Especially, an elderly person or a new registrant who hasn't been politically active in the past.

Links to documents below the fold....

Enclosed in the envelope was a four page letter and a three page survey. The survey was designed to look like a tax form. The very first sentence of the letter is,

Your immediate attention is required on a confidential and time-sensitive matter.

First, this is unsolicited. Neither my husband nor I requested this solicitation. Imagine my surprise when I continued to read and found these paragraphs:

DO NOT DESTROY YOUR SURVEY! The enclosed Republican Senate Leadership Survey is an OFFICIAL REPUBLICAN PARTY DOCUMENT. Your Survey is REGISTERED IN YOUR NAME ONLY and MUST BE ACCOUNTED FOR upon completion of this project.

If you decide not to represent your local voting district in this important Republican Senate Leadership Survey - please RETURN THE SURVEY DOCUMENT - AT ONCE - IN THE ENVELOPE PROVIDED.

This certainly sounds official and it also sounds threatening. If I didn't know better, I would think that something bad could happen to me if I didn't return this to the Republican Party. It also says it is confidential. That's like an abuser saying, "Don't tell. This is our secret." This could be very intimidating to an elderly person or someone who isn't experienced in politics.

This isn't even the worst part. While there is a postage paid return envelope included in with the survey there are only three options given for returning the survey. All three ask for money. Yes, that's right. There are no options given to return the survey without enclosing money for the NRSC. The first option is:

Yes! I want to help defend our Republican Senate Majority and build a strong foundation of Republican grassroots support for President Bush and his agenda. I am enclosing my most generous contribution of: __$500 __$250 __$100 __$50 __$25 __Other$____

The second option is:

No. I do not wish to participate in this vital Republican Senate Leadership Survey. however, I am returning my Survey Document, along with a generous donation to help build Republican grassroots support for President Bush and his agenda. I am enclosing a donation of: __$500 __$250 __$100 __$50 __$25 __Other$___

The final option is simply absurd. This is the final option:

No. I do not wish to particiapte in the Survey, nor do I wish to make a donation to help the Republican Party. I am returning my Survey Document, along with a contribution of $11 to help cover the cost of tabulating and redistributing my Survey.

I have no problem with the NRSC wanting to do a survey. I have no problem with them wanting to solicit funds for their Senatorial candidates. I do have a problem with them passing off a fundraiser as a tax document, requiring that it be returned and then not allowing for a way to return it without sending money. It is basically a bill and it is delivered in a very intimidating and threatening tone.

I will be contacting the Attorney General in North Carolina tomorrow to see if this fundraiser in any way violates state law. I will be filing a formal complaint with the AG's office and anywhere required to put a stop to this type of false fundraiser. There is a way to raise money that is honest and straightforward. This is not it.

Shame on Elizabeth Dole for extending the Republican culture of corruption from Washington into North Carolina and every other state where this fundraising scam is being used.

To view copies of this fundraiser/survey, please see Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Envelopes, Survey 1, Survey 2, Survey 3.

Update: I changed the title of the post to prevent any misunderstanding about the "targeting" of the fundraiser. I don't know who it was sent to, but the wording, tone, design and secrecy of the mailing has the potential to be more intimidating to the elderly. I'm sorry for any confusion.

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Comments

Holy sh*t.

Not just elderly . . . it looks to me like it could intimidate ANYONE. How about we have a blogswarm and make sure every newspaper knows Liddy Dole IS TRYING TO SCARE PEOPLE INTO GIVING HER MONEY!

Send to political reporters at the Observer

I'm sure they see sleaze like this all the time, but it doesn't hurt to contact the political reporters and let them know about the crap Liddy Dole is putting in your mailbox. I sent to Rob Christensen at the N&O.

Easiest way is just to send a link to your diary on BlueNC.

Local news

People who live in areas where this scam is being worked should contact their local TV stations. Many stations have consumer affairs departments that would be interested in this story, and many stations actively solicit local interest story ideas from viewers. The outer envelope looks just like an IRS mailing, complete with bogus 4-digit "2006 Form" number; its intent is obvious. (Unfortunately, "required" is one of the most misused words in American English, but in this context the intent is clear.)

I agree completely

I am trying to get this to the local news without giving my identity away. My husband is very private and works for a super conservative firm. I'm trying to consider this while at the same time I want to do the right thing. Because my mother is a local Democratic office holder anything I do looks political. I'll get it out there, though.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Page 4 is missing...

Would you re-post page four of the letter. I'm saving these to hopefully use as part of a handout if and when Senator Dole makes a public appearance. I loathe her.

Stan Bozarth

It is now corrected

I'm sorry about that. Thanks for letting me know.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

SD

You need to get this on DAilyKos with all of us recommending. Write it up and email us right after you post it, along with CBN. Actually, maybe MyDD is a better place, we can get it on the recommend list there and others will see it!

We need action on this, it's immoral.

BTW, I think your title should imply something about the fraud that is being undertaken here. Maybe one of our lawyers could chime in with a ready-made comment?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

The title is fine

If I were to change it, I might make it "NRSC Fundraising Scheme Intended to Mislead [vulnerable constituency X]." I don't think that's any better than what's up now.

I will definitely dust off my dKos/MyDD memberships to recommend this. Liddy should be ashamed.

why daily kos?

This story will do fine here on your blog.

Thanks Nick

We wanted a little more attention and we got it. There were 281 people who recommended the diary and it stayed on the list for almost 24 hours.

I have also followed through and contacted some media and the DNC, DCCC and the DSCC. I realize the fundraising tactics may be typical, but it doesn't have to be that way. Thanks for posting.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Will do....on hold for AG Cooper right now

I'm reporting to Attorney General and FEC this morning. I'll let you know what happens. I have softened the title a couple of times. I will not on KOS. I also sent the links to Reddhedd at FireDogLake, but don't know if they'll write anything.

Just for the record. I would be just as angry if a Democrat sent this out.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I posted comments linking to this story

on Booman open thread and DailyKos open thread. This was a great and lucky catch - she should be ashamed of the immorality of this. It puts her, morally, on the same ground as those criminals that send emails saying you've won a million dollars or that Mr. Dashamusha Wallabandooni has left you his estate.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

S.D. if this takes off

it's your entree : )

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

DKOS diary is up

Go Rec away!



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

You mean....

that guy really doesn't want me to inherit all his money? Dangit.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I Rec'ed

n/t

Hey

put a cross-posted link at the top, increase the BlueNC traffic and Lance will buy you a pony.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I always link here....how did I forget?????

Gonna go edit right now...hehehe



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I posted this at DKos but

I posted this at DKos but it'll probably be missed at the bottom. When you file your complaint, cite...(IANAL)
Title 39, 3001
(i) Matter otherwise legally acceptable in the mails which constitutes a solicitation by a nongovernmental entity for information or the contribution of funds or membership fees and which reasonably could be interpreted or construed as implying any Federal Government connection, approval, or endorsement through the use of a seal, insignia, reference to the Postmaster General, citation to a Federal statute, name of a Federal agency, department, commission, or program, trade or brand name, or any other term or symbol; or contains any reference to the Postmaster General or a citation to a Federal statute that misrepresents either the identity of the mailer or the protection or status afforded such matter by the Federal Government is nonmailable matter and shall not be carried or delivered by mail, and shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs, unless--
(1) such nongovernmental entity has such expressed connection, approval or endorsement;
(2)
(A) such matter bears on its face, in conspicuous and legible type in contrast by typography, layout, or color with other printing on its face, in accordance with regulations which the Postal Service shall prescribe, the following notice: "THIS ORGANIZATION HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED OR ENDORSED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND THIS OFFER IS NOT BEING MADE BY AN AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.", or a notice to the same effect in words which the Postal Service may prescribe;
(B) the envelope or outside cover or wrapper in which such matter is mailed bears on its face in capital letters and in conspicuous and legible type, in accordance with regulations which the Postal Service shall prescribe, the following notice: "THIS IS NOT A GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT.", or a notice to the same effect in words which the Postal Service may prescribe; and
(C) such matter does not contain a false representation stating or implying that Federal Government benefits or services will be affected by any contribution or noncontribution; or
(3) such matter is contained in a publication for which the addressee has paid or promised to pay a consideration or which he has otherwise indicated he desires to receive, except that this paragraph shall not apply if the solicitation is on behalf of the publisher of the publication.

Good stuff.

Thanks for bringing it home to the illustrious Southern Dem. She's a busy mom and we try to give her all the help we can.

:)

Anglico

I left you another comment over on "Blue" to continue our "debate".

Sorry for the off-topic, folks!

PantsB

Thanks for tracking me down. I did make note of that. I'm following up on everything I can before I have to leave to take the girls to dance.

Lance, I'm so sorry I failed to put this in the body of my diary. I changed my link in my userid to BlueNC. If it's any consolation I had no uptick in traffic from this on either of my two blogs. (and durn I'm worn out from keeping up with the comments, but there are some awsome suggestions.)



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Still on Rec list....

and hoping it will drop off soon. Last count over 150 had rec'd it and I will say that most must have come from the FDL nod. I got some excellent suggestions.

I contacted AARP and they have no type of fraud or scam alert that they put on their web site. I also emailed Americablog as suggested and sent the documents to Olbermann as suggested. I haven't heard back and don't really expect to.

Like everybody else I can see Olbermann having a field day with the letter and all it's caps and underlining...overblown urgency....much like he did with the O'Reilly story. I taped last friday and won't let John erase it. Katie (12) who is very politically oriented laughed 'till she cried. It was a classic.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

A nation of one

Re: Question 12. "As the world's most powerful nation, President Bush..." WTF? He's a nation now?

I was so mad when I read this

I didn't really pay attention to that one. The survey was...um...not very scientific.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Republicans are Crooks and Thugs

This is just further proof.

The GOP is pushing the pendulum way up to the right, and when it swings back, its going to swing back hard.

Screw you, Republicans. Go to Hell.

Picked up by Americablog and Democratic underground

SD,

This has been picked up by two national blogs. Great job exposing the "empty wig" as they say.

For you visitors, stay and look around, we have plenty of other stuff to keep you interested on our site.

Dole

Just sent a message via the Dole website. Sleazy bastards. Thanks for posting this.

Thanks Pam

I had no idea this would take off quite this way. Very nice.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Eliz Dole

Why am I not surprised at this? Didn't get one as they probably know from all the petitions and letters I've sent her (and only one reply out of all of them) that I wouldn't be interested and am too savvy to see through it.

Yes, this SHOULD be publicized. Nip this in the bud. And thanks for reporting it to the AG, other blog, news outlets.

Dole does nothing for NC anyway. How this liar got elected if beyond me.

Get it on the news

Anyone know how to send this to Steven Colbert? He could do a wonderful job with it.

I just checked my email

and no response from Olbermann, but I didn't expect one. The forms speak for themselves if he chooses to use them. They do provide excellent opportunity for snark, don't they?



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

My father received one of

My father received one of these months ago... I think sometime after last november. I didn't realize it was a widespread thing, I figured my dad was an idiot and donated to some local republican and got put on a list or something.

Please keep us posted on the legality of it, I'd like to bring this up with my AG too.

I will be updating this

I am keeping track of every step since I've never filed a complaint. I do think the letter that goes with this is borderline and may cross the line into intimidation. If nothing else we will get this pubicized as best we can.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

galling

I'm amazed that they demand that you send them $11 even if you don't want to complete the survey or give them money.

hah yeah!!

I find that to be pretty damn ridiculous. Someone needs to teach those people some manners.

Wow

She sends junk mail and then CHARGES you for it. Totally amazing.

Ruby,

I'll just be adding that to the list of things that I never want to hear anyone say about me ever.

Thanks

Thanks, but page 4 is missing.

Thanks...I fixed it.

Sorry I missed it when I was double checking my post.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Can we give Liddy a headache with her own survey?

What do you think of this idea...everyone print out the survey, fill it out honestly, and send it back to Liddy. It will skew her results, overwhelm the electronic readers, cause her to pay staff to hand sort through the submissions, and cause her to "waste" the money she's already spent. All it costs us is a few cents for the stamp, and the paper to print it off!

Just a thought...

Stan Bozarth

I'd be shocked if they even bother

to tabulate the data. It's a fundraising scam pure and simple. And Liddy Dole has some serious explaining to do.

This isn't new

I have received this twice (didn't return either one). I didn't think it was especially misleading, just a standard fundraising scheme.

Stan Bozarth

Your opinion would be...

So, your opinion is that: A political party, asking to be trusted to run our most trusted resource-our government, should be free to mislead and intimidate people into sending them money?

A government official should have integrity, be competent, and serve the common good. These types of tricks, whether new or old, show a complete lack of integrity and complete disregard for the common good (it is essentially: You have money, I want it, I will take it). One the other hand, Republicans seem to be pretty competent at tricking people.

This may have been common in the past, but now that BlueNC and the Southern Dem are on the scene, these practices are going to be exposed.

I know survey fundraisers are old news

it's the letter that is the worst part. I wasn't fooled and anyone reading this blog wouldn't be fooled. I worry about those who might be afraid they could get in trouble.

hehe...wish ya'll knew my straightlaced Republican husband....polar opposites are we....I was teasing him tonight about the OFFICIAL REPUBLICAN PARTY DOCUMENT POLICE coming to the door and torturing him until he turned the survey back over to them. Between that and calling Dick Cheney a moron when he shot the old man in the face...I might be in the dog house soon.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

**NEWS FLASH**

Repubs hate the poor, the elderly and the less educated--and are trying to steal their money...so what else is new???

Stan Bozarth

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