CI 3/16/97 -- Fantabulous Fundraising Follies
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 97 17:45:43 -0800
Subject: CI 3/16/97 -- Fantabulous Fundraising Follies
CERTIFIABLY INANE March 16, 1997
(c) Patrick C. Ross
Fantabulous Fundraising Follies
Speaking of the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, the last few
months have provided us with a titillating view of fundraising in our
nation's capitol: raising cash in Buddhist temples, Vice Presidents making
cold calls from the White House, and a staffer for the First Lady accepting
$50,000 in that very same White House (maybe she thought it was the latest
dividend check for Hillary's cattle futures investments). Perhaps the most
amazing thing about the scandal is not the brazen approach by Clinton and
his comrades but the fact that the Democrats were able to raise so much
money at all. Let's face it, fundraising has always been a Republican art
form, dating back to the oil and sugar trusts of the late 19th century.
Until recently, the high water mark of Democratic fundraising had been
sending Billy Carter to scrounge up donations at breweries by threatening
to make more Billy Beer.
To learn more, I decided to speak with a major 1996 donor to the
Democratic National Committee. He represents a number of foreign interests
and wished to remain nameless, so I will refer to him under the alias of
Ichray Ogghay. He claimed to be setting a fundraising record in 1997.
"I'm setting a fundraising record in 1997," Ogghay claimed.
"But why are you raising money for the DNC right now?" I asked.
"There's no campaign."
"No, no, you misunderstand," Ogghay replied. "I've raised over $2
million this year FROM the DNC."
I was confused. "Why are they giving you money?"
"Allow me to demonstrate. Lessee, I'll try the Washington Post this
time." He speed-dialed the number. "Yes, Rich Hogg here again. Thought
you should know I gave $300,000 to the DNC last fall in an effort to have
China's Deng Xiao Ping nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize." He hung up
the phone and counted to ten. It rang. "Rich Hogg... Yes, I did give you
$300,000 last fall... Of course, a check will be fine, payable to Rich Hogg,
please. Thank you for the refund, it was a pleasure doing business." He
hung up again, and eyed me across his desk. "There. I just made a mint in
"Did you really give the DNC money for Deng Xiao Ping?" I asked him.
"I forwarded a donation from the Chinese government for $100, yes,"
Ogghay acknowledged. "But all you have to do is tell them you've given much
more. The DNC's recordkeeping is atrocious."
"And was Deng nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize?"
Ogghay looked down. "Unfortunately, no. The White House did manage to
get him multiple entries for the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes,
however. The lucky duck won a lifetime subscription to Better Homes and
That reminded me of PR's Rule # 912: When awarding any prize lasting
a lifetime, it's best to select a winner with one foot in the grave. "So
right now you're busy collecting money from the DNC that you never even gave
them. Don't you have any ethical qualms with this?"
"The White House didn't seem to have any qualms about receiving the
money I did give them."
"True enough. I'm confused on one point, however. Since the DNC spent
most of their money last fall, where is the cash for all of these refunds
Ogghay grinned. "I suspect they'll have to be even more aggressive in
their fundraising now, and hope they're not caught until after the 1998
election. I expect to be invited to spend the night in the Lincoln bedroom
again soon, but this time I'm gonna hold out for some official White House
bath towels. Ones I don't have to swipe, that is."
"Lotsa laughs... Certifiably Inane lived up to its billing."
Wash. Post 6/27/96 review of this free weekly humor column
Certifiably Inane (C) Patrick Ross 1997
© 1997 Peter Langston