Friday, October 29, 2004
The College Republican National Committee is the rock from under which Karl Rove, Grover Norquist and former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed crawled. They have dissociated themselves from the Republican National Committee and have long been associated with dirty tricks and generally disgraceful behavior. But willfully scamming mentally impaired seniors must be stopped.
This year, as millions of dollars flowed in, College Republicans falsely claimed in letters that checks were only trickling in and that the group was in a constant budget crisis.
And the elderly continued to be a major source of donations.
There are far more retired people giving to College Republicans than to any other IRS-regulated independent political committee, IRS records indicate.
The Times was able to determine the ages of 49 of the top 50 individual donors to the College Republicans. The median age of the donors is 85, and 14 of them are 90 or older.
As someone who has relatives in this age group, I know very well how vulnerable they feel and how frightened they are by direct-mail solicitations.
Baines was surprised to hear he had given more than $63,000 and that it had all gone to College Republicans. He said he was swayed to give, sometimes against his better instincts, by the power of the letters.
"I thought if I paid them off once it would send them away, but it just encourages them to send more," he said. "It is just a rat race in this house to pay off these people and hope that they quit.
"But they don't. They keep sending."
Do read this article! And pass it around!
Note to the Seattle Times. After having done an excellent investigative report, why did you reduce its impact by your headline: Fund-raising group milks vulnerable senior citizens? This isn't any old fund-raising group. You know perfectly well that many people don't get past the headlines. If your purpose was to inform, "College Republicans milk vulnerable senior citizens" would have been both informative and accurate.