by Kagro X
ABC News's Brian Ross reports on the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Physician of the Year" fundraising scam:
The good news reached the Jamestown, N.Y., office of Dr. Rudolph Mueller in a fax from a congressman in Washington. Mueller had been named 2004 Physician of the Year.
"My secretary came running in and said, 'Dr. Rudy, look at what you've won, you're Physician of the Year,' " said Mueller, an internist.
But to receive the award in person at a special two-day workshop in Washington last month, Mueller found out that he would have to make a $1,250 contribution to the National Republican Congressional Committee. It was a disturbing discovery, he said.
Mueller soon found he was not the only winner. There were hundreds of Physicians of the Year present, many of whom found the criteria for being selected equally as opaque.
Wow. That's cold. Who could've come up with such an idea?
The Republicans, under the direction of DeLay, came up with the idea for the awards five years ago as a means of helping to raise funds for the congressional campaign efforts for their party.
Dr. Mueller, curious to find out what was behind this honor from out of the blue, sent in his donation, and as noted above, was disappointed to find out the reality:
"You know, nobody knows, so don't feel bad about it," Mueller said one attendee told him.
Right. But now, everybody knows. Although one might wonder why doctors weren't aware of this a little earlier, like say, July of 2001, as Dr. Julie Isaacson was:
Julie Isaacson, MD, was surprised and flattered when she received a phone call inviting her to join a select panel of doctors who advise congressional Republicans on health care issues.
The "Physician's Advisory Board" counsels GOP leaders on such topics as HMO reform and reducing government interference in medicine, explained the caller, who said he was a representative of House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R, Texas).
Still, Mueller and Isaacson shouldn't feel all that bad. After all, it's not like physicians are the only suckers around. If they were, then the GOP wouldn't have been able to rake in millions from so many "Businessmen of the Year."
Rev. William J.P. "Bill" Doubek recently received a notice of a distinct honor -- the 2004 Businessman of the Year Award.
The award is a project of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) in Washington.
"I was surprised and honored for the award," said Rev. Doubek, pastor of the First Lutheran Church of Neosho. "The award is a certificate with my name on it."
"He (Rev. Doubek) is one of thousands of recipients around the country," said Carl Forti, communications director of the NRCC. "In the past, the recipients have also got a gold medal."
Yes, the Tom DeLay and the NRCC folks have been giving these bogus "awards" out for years, thanks to the innovative (and highly paid) minds at a fundraising outfit called InfoCision. The company has come under a bit of fire for their practices before:
InfoCision began raising funds for the NRCC in 1993, under then Chairman Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.) who represented what is now Reynolds’ district.
“This is a proven product that has worked,” Reynolds said.
InfoCision’s fundraising tactics and operating costs have sparked controversy in the past. InfoCision’s spokesman, Steve Brubaker, senior vice president of corporate affairs, was not available for comment.
InfoCision often tries to recruit new donors by using such fundraising gimmicks as notifying prospects that they have been named “businessman of the year,” or “physician of the year.” Then prospects are asked to shell out $500 for a full-page newspaper advertisement or several thousand dollars for an honorary dinner. But the primary purpose of the pitch is to raise money for the NRCC.
And, as WhiteHouseForSale.org pointed out some time ago:
The method is not a perfect science. Sometimes the phone lists inadvertently include a curious reporter, like Pulitzer Prize-winner Brent Walth of the Oregonian, who was very surprised to receive a message from Tom DeLay about an award for "national leadership" he’d just won.
No, it's not a perfect science. But wait, it gets better. Check this source to learn more about "Businessman of the Year" Chris Hill. (Did you roll over that link? You read it right!).
Put down your drink, though, because you're gonna love the story of "Republican of the Year" (God, that's sweet!) Mark A. Grethen. Seems he couldn't make it to the ceremony:
A previous commitment will keep a Suffolk man from traveling to Washington next month to accept a Republican of the Year award: He's serving a 26-year prison sentence for sex crimes involving children.
What's the upshot of all this? Nothing in particular. It's business as usual for Republicans. Maybe this figures into the calculus of why Republicans, abused by the domineering DeLay, still refuse to seek help and rid themselves of this man. He strangles his colleagues in the House GOP Conference. He spits in the faces of the donors among "the base," and pays the money he fleeces from them to his wife and daughter.
And what will we tell the children? Why, take notes, of course.