Carter King, inspired by my recent column about a fundraising pitch emailed to me by Ted Cruz as the presidential candidate cruised for cash, wants you and me to know about a GOP fundraising pitch that recently showed up in his snail mailbox.
It’s simultaneously shameless and shameful.
But we must point out: It got King to open that piece of mail. So, in an anything-is-fair-in-love-and-war-and-politics sort of way, it was mission accomplished.
The envelope bore a foreboding and official-looking message that said, in big red letters, “NOTICE OF DELINQUENCY.” The return address was “Office of Records. Texas Area Assessment.”
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Ooh, looks important.
It also said “Immediate Response Requested.” In fact, it said that twice.
Inside, the “membership activation form” — in a box labeled “membership status” — said “past due.” And “past due” was circled.
The letter, on Republican National Committee letterhead, was dated “Monday Morning.” It didn’t say which Monday morning. As I recall, there’s one pretty much every week (and when are we going to hear presidential candidates talk about doing something about that persistent problem?).
“Dear Mr. King,” the letter said, “This NOTICE OF DELINQUENCY has been sent to you because the Republican Party has contacted you multiple times to ask for your support of our 2016 campaign but we have not heard back from you and time is running out.
“We need you to come forward today and send a contribution of $25 or more to help make sure we have a fully funded Republican National Committee ready for our nominee to walk into and hit the ground running after our National Convention in July.”
Hmm, so much for the GOP front-runner’s self-praise for his allegedly self-funded campaign.
“Remember that the only way we are going to end Obama’s liberal legacy and put our nation back on track is to elect a president to work with our majorities in Congress,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in the letter. “And the RNC is the ONLY national Republican organization permitted by law to provide substantial, direct financial support to our Republican presidential nominee.”
Again, I thought Donald Trump didn’t need anybody else’s money. And maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t want it from a bunch that uses misleading mail to collect it.
I liked King’s response letter to Priebus, though I fear Priebus won’t see it.
“I received today an envelope with large red letters on the outside: NOTICE OF DELINQUENCY for my postman and all my neighbors to see,” King wrote.
“Inside was a letter stating that my ‘membership’ (in the Republican Party) status was PAST DUE. I am furious that you would sign a letter and post it in an incendiary envelope stating that I am delinquent in anything, much less an organization to which I have never belonged,” King wrote.
“Additionally, it looks like this letter is intended to frighten the elderly and uninformed into believing that for some reason they owe $25 to your organization.
“How could you be so underhanded? I am astounded at your gall and that of your staff to prepare and distribute such a document. You should be ashamed of yourselves,” King concluded, mistakenly assuming that political operatives are emotionally equipped to ever be ashamed of themselves.
Was King’s letter close to being over the top? Yes, and that’s precisely the right tone for a response to this kind of fundraising shenanigans.
Ken Herman is a columnist for the Austin American-Statesman. firstname.lastname@example.org