Ira Flatow, of NPR's Science Friday, reports on the Science Friday blog about being the target of an interesting Republican Party scam, specifically one involving the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC):
The phone message on my machine from the NRCC office said that the Congressman [Tom Cole, (R - Oklahoma)] wanted to "recognize me with their highest honor, the Congressional Order of Merit." It was given to those few select people "in recognition of their undying commitment, patriotic loyalty, and dedication to service to ... the United States of America."
Who could resist? Pictures of a great award ceremony danced in my head.
So I called back and talked to a staffer. She said the Congressman wanted me to represent small businessman in my state. She had me listen to a pre-recorded message, in which Cong. Cole sought my help to stop Nancy Pelosi from ruining small businesses like mine. And he wanted to add my name to an advisory committee. Nothing else more would be needed. Just my name, and the Award of Merit would be mine. And I'd get to attend a coveted, big time Congressional banquet.
I informed the staffer that as a journalist who covered congress, that joining a political committee would be a conflict of interest. So I couldn't do it. She thanked me for my consideration and prepared to say good-bye. I interrupted to ask: "Does that mean I don't get the Order of Merit?"
"You don't," she said. "Only those who join our committee."
This isn't the first report of this scam. Here's a report of the same thing from a Republican blog called Army of One back in 2004:
I think congratulations are in order. It seems that I've received a special award. I was notified of this award in a letter that says the Republican party, "wouldn't be where we are today without you." Pretty impressive. Of course, there's a catch...
Now, here's the catch. In order to be included in The Congressional Order of Merit Register you're supposed to send them a donation. They don't get around to this until the last page of the three page letter.
Your past support of President Bush and the Republican Party has been nothing short of heroic. I hope you will continue that work now with a special contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250 or whatever you can afford.
In other words, the award is basically just a ploy to get a donation. The last time I received one of these phoney baloney awards I contacted my US Senator to complain about it. These things are sleazy and they portray the Republican Party in a bad light.
Hat tip to Luke Scharf.
I got a couple of calls like that years ago, from Tom Delay's office. The only difference was that they wanted $500. Oh, the other difference is that Delay is being prosecuted for alleged money laundering.
As Publishers Clearinghouse says, "You may already be a winner!"
I just got a call today myself and they left a message on the machine. Glad I found your blog. Steven Metz 1-888-383-4164 from the office of Tom Cole.
This editor was pretty funny too.
Just recieved the same call from (888) 383-4164 (Tom Cole) from someone obviously so bored from saying the same line a thousand times she blurred half the words. Com'on, you're calling a lawyer, not an idiot. I did pass the bar. You remember, the profession George Bush likes to make fun of when he's not engaging us in hopeless wars to feed his overblown, self-righteous ego. Gee, where do I sign up to throw his party some money?
I also just recieved a call from a Debbie at Tom Cole's office at 1-888-383-4164. Debbie left an urgent message to call back stating my name several times as Mrs.Nary.
That would be Ms. Hall-McNary to anyone that bothered to look up my registered voting name.
I also recieved a call a couple of years ago asking for money. I guess since I vote in all elections I must have big bucks!
Mr. Nick Anthis: Thank God we have freedom of speech, and therefore everyone in this web-page is entitled to their own opinion. My opinion is that, if the Republicans in Congress want to express their gratitude to and recognize those Citizens who have stood loyal to the Party of his/her choosing with support, with money, time, work and any other type of contribution and/or support, thats great! there is nothing wrong to be proud to be an American Patriot, an Active Citizen and be awarded for it.
Aaah, I was ROTFLMAO when I got this call. Me, a dyed in the wool activist, anti-war, anti-GMO, anti Rethugs, fer sure! Congressional Order of Merit, what a gas! I knew it had to be a joke, I didn't know it was a fund raiser! Of course, my guys name was William Carver, out of Tom Cole's office, 1 888 383-4164. If you google William Carver, he was a noted outlaw of the old west. Truth in advertising, eh?
Dear Politicians and Honorable Congressmen of the United States:
On behalf of men and civilizations Frederick L. Schuman wrote:
"Remembrance of things past is often dearest to those who are bored or driven to despair by the world around them." To these the contemplation of things gone by brings surcease from constant burdens to heavy to bear. The ultimate sacrifice is a need it burden to people in hope for freedom or to keep it.
"Take not away from me," implored the Emperor Julian, world-weary in another age of disenchantment, " This mad love for that which no longer is, that which has been is more splendidly beautiful than all that is" Let history to judge those who are taking the burdens of all of us, face on without regret.
To others, concerned as watchers and movers with the challenge of today and the promise of the menace of tomorrow. The tale of many yesterdays, as constructed by the history and science of living men and women, has another meaning. Or, has it not? Said menace is upon us at the front door of the home of the brave.
While presently half of the world's men and their radicalized ancient civilizations strives to accomplish the annihilation of our civilization in the land of the free, United States politicians are in their way to be destroyed, by their own hands, to be ruined. We must hold together while intoning our mothers song O say, can you see, by the dawns early light
Men and women everywhere in the United States who are today aware of that menace is upon us shall be disturbed by the way you are destroying each other and the home of the brave.
Humphrey H. Pachecker
HUMPHREY H. PACHECKER
I too received a call from Tom Cole's office today - from Steve Reid @ 1-888-383-4164 for the Congressional Order of Merit. Just when I thought I had finally arrived I had go and find this blog and have my dreams shattered... ;)
Are you really that upset over the style of fundraising or are you just ashamed of the fact that you knew deep down you did not deserve any type of award.
I certainly don't deserve this award... although if the only criterion for receiving it is donating money to the Republican Party, then I'm not losing too much sleep over it.
I was phoned by Betty Robinson of Tom Cole's office, 1-888-383-4164, this morning, before I got into the office.
She left a message on my voice mail.
I found this web site BEFORE I phoned her back.
If you Google for Betty Robinson, you will find she was the First American to win an Olympic Gold Medal in Women's Track!
My wife called me at work yesterday excited that I was going to be awarded the "Congressional Order of Merit"...I told her it was probably a scam as anything I had done in the military worthy of any merit the NRCC would have no knowledge of...anyway, I looked it up on the internet and sure enough it's just another way for sleazy politicians to bilk money out of hard-working, honest citizens...besides I NEVER voted for Bush and don't support anything he does lately...
Why would Tom Cole, not my representative, want to award me a congressional order of merit? What had I done? How did they get my name? Ilean Fraise (not sure of spelling) at (888) 383-4164 from Lexington left the message they wanted to "recognise me with their highest honor" and that I should call "as soon as I get this message". I live a quiet life under the radar-and this blog gave me the truth to my search for the answer I sought-BOGUS. Thank you everyone!
I too just recieved my call. If you have to pay to be honored, is it really one? Thanks for the heads up. Honors should be earned, not paid for.
I too, got the phone call from Tom Cole's office. My contacts name was Jeanette Hoffman. I called on behalf of my husband and was told, after I heard the pre-recorded message that my husband would have to call and get the information for himself. I wasn't listened to when I called and gave my own name I was sent instantly to the recording. I am glad that I read this site before I told my husband about the call. Thanks a lot!!
I, too, got the same phone call, but from a Beverly Brown 888/383-4164. Glad I googled all this! I never would have contacted them back anyway since the last time I voted Republican was when I was in 8th grade when my school held a mock presidential election, and that was only because Republican is the only party I had ever heard my father talk about...but to find out that not only is Tom Cole an actual representative (although not even from my state...wouldn't that have made the ruse all the more plausible?) and this is so obviously a scam for money is reprehensible. In response to a certain Humphrey H. Pachecker who on July 23 posted "if the Republicans in Congress want to express their gratitude to and recognize those Citizens who have stood loyal to the Party of his/her choosing with support, with money, time, work and any other type of contribution and/or support, thats great! there is nothing wrong to be proud to be an American Patriot, an Active Citizen and be awarded for it"...I certainly agree with showing thanks to those volunteers who support with money, time, etc...but how do you express gratitude to someone who has never voted for your candidate or party, is not from the state where the representative is supposedly calling from and has no connection to them whatsoever! I am a "proud American patriot, and an active citizen" as I am sure that all those who took the time to write here are. Being a Republican has nothing to do with that! But to be "awarded" with a dubious honor designed to swindle money from the unsuspecting in exchange for the "highest honor" of the NRCC leaves me with nothing but disdain. I have come to realize through these posts that the reason that I have been targeted is because I recently started a small business and if I had called would have been given the same spiel as Nick Anthis about representing small businesses. I will be contacting my state about the release of that information and I will most certainly be contacting my state representatives to alert them to the poor taste of this solicitation. If they really want money, then have the guts to be up front about it!
This is yet another scam in a string of scams from this out of control party. What else should we expect from the party that thinks push polls are a good way to boost a campain. What ever happened to honesty and integrity. When did my government become another phone solicitor trying to trick me into calling them to hear propaganda? Why would I be suprised at the Congressional Order of Merit, weapons of mass destruction, eminant threats, pardons, nazi ties, terror alerts, or anything else these thugs do? I want my country back! Of course when you have a family whos money came from being Nazi sympathizers in power, nothing should suprise you.
On the aftermath to the treacherous attack from Senator Mr. Lantos and moveone.org Website suffered by this Great Nation's Honored Army and its commander Gen. David Petraeus, I hold my head high up to the skies with my hand placed on my heart and intoned the National Anthem of the United States of America. The honor of this Country and its Army will not remain unpunishedly stained. Shame on you.
I just got my call from Congressman Cole's staffer. I have no problem with a political party doing some fundraising. I do take issue, though, with them calling their "award" a Congressional Order of Merit. That's intentionally misleading. There is a reason that they call it that, as oppossed to calling it what it is, a Republican Party Order of Merit. They call it "Congressional", because that implies that it is a recognition from our government, just like the real "Congressional Medal of Honor" that they are playing on. Maybe the Democrats do something similar, I don't know. Is it too much to ask that our "public servants" and those expressly working on their behalf not try to mislead the public?
Got my message today. Googled it just for grins. Also found out that the name Betty Robinson was a gold medelist!
To the person "Humphrey H. Pachecker" posted: July 23, 2007 7:58 PM.... I too believe in freedom of speech.
Although, I find it very funny that I am being awarded the highest honor of "congressional honor of merit", when I have never even voted in my life!
I think that "E Prais-Hintz" posted on: August 21, 2007 4:04 PM.... said it the best!!! Very well written!!!
I also think that "Humphrey H Pachecker" is a bit nutty and has no clue what we are really talking about here. WE are upset because we are being lied to. If they wanted our our votes and money, then just ask. Don't trick us.
I just received a call from Rep. Tom Cole's office. I'm being awarded the Congressional Order of Merit!! Finally I'm receiving the recognition I deserve for all those years of shleping kids to and from school and soccer practice. Thank you, Republican Party, for your support of Family Values!
I received the same call. Told them no, I would not donate any money to them, also asked if it meant I would not get the Order of Merit and was told I would not. A few days ago it arrived with a envelope and no other note or information. They will not get my hard earned money, and besides they are a whole lot richer than most of us are.
I receved the same call not sure how they even have the # used to reach me maybe some wiretapping or CIA had nothing better to do. Maybe they could spend more time and tax payer money to resolve the ILLEGAL imigrant problem instead of building soccer fields in a damn desert.Which do you see as a bigger threat someone 3000 miles away or the 3 to 5 million ILLEGAL imigrants who have no identification except fake SS# here in america.I am amazed that all the governing bodies in America are unwilling to resolve this matter giving the ILLEGAL imigrants more constitutional rights than families who have lived here for generations dating back to the revolution.
Mr. Lou Dobbs of CNN: It is immoral the way you're conducting your talk show in reference to the illegal immigration issue; the true is that a criminal (illegal or legal) does not need a driver license to buy a gun, to rape, to assault, to commit another crime, however, a honest working person (illegal or legal) needs a driver license to go to work and sustain his/her family. Stop your bias racist attacks on honest working people (illegal or legal) thanks. Humphrey H. Pachecker
I got that Merit of honor or whatever call thing. I just can't even pretend anymore to sort of be a republican.. These Morons are about the most stupid arrogant and idiodic people i've ever seen. In their minds, they assume, that the white/right/uptight business dork with the ego, will want to hang this plaque on his office wall, impress his wife about how he is such and such upcomming poo poo etc.. The fact that the republican's can attempt to raise funds in this way shows they have lost their minds! Any normal thinking person knows it's a scam! So who even joins/pays? What moron does that? The ego/dork w/inflated opinion of himself, in denial about life, i guess.. Republicans have just lost their minds. Too bad, because I'm not a democrat either, oh well.. i'm just in the middle i guess without a party... I guess independent, heck it's the future, same in music industry etc, I guess we're all waking up as nation... not a nation of followers.. the dorks are part of the old school.. stupid..
Steven Metz 1-888-383-4164 Posted by: Greg Phillips | July 20, 2007 12:57 PM
Steve Reid 1-888-383-4164 Posted by: Jud Harris | August 2, 2007 11:57 AM
Betty Robinson 1-888-383-4164, Posted by: Lisa Summers | August 9, 2007 11:32 AM
Jeanette Hoffman. A Parker | August 21, 2007 2:37 PM
Beverly Brown 888/383-4164 August 21, 2007 4:04 PM
Now Tammy Rivera 1-888-383-4164 as of 12/17/07 by fax. I knew it was a scam to begin with no phone number on the fax an when the call came in the number was blocked.
I AM ONE OF MANY WRITTEN BY NRCC CONGRESSIONAL ORDER OF MERIT. BY TOM COLE M.C. CHAIRMAN (0008175) DATED MARCH 17TH 2008. I DO SUPPORT THE REPUBLIC IN WHICH I STAND AND HAVE
GIVEN HER MY LOYAL UNWAIVERING SUPPORT TO OUR GOD AND COUNTRY. YET I AM A UNPAID U.S.ARMY DISABLE VETERAN WHO
HAS BEEN DENIED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS.
YET WITH OUT INCOME I HAVE CONTINUED TO SUPPORT THIS GREAT
REPUBLIC OF OURS. HONOR AND DUTY" SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM"
I DONT TAKE IT AS A JOKE! I TRULY LOVE THIS COUNTRY AND ITS
PEOPLE MY FAMILY TO GO WAY BACK TO THE SON'S OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AND THE FRAMERS OF OUR NATION.
I HAVE POLITICAL FRIENDS FROM THE OVAL OFFICE TO THE HALLS
OF CONGRESS AND SENATE ,ON BOTH SIDE REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS. I VALUE THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN AND THOSE WHO HAVE
PAID THE PRICE WITH THEIR MINDS ,BODY AND SOUL.
WE ARE ALL AMERICANS FIRST AND MOST FUNDEMENTALY WE ARE A
JUDEO CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE FOUNDED THIS GLORIOUS REPUBLIC,
ONE NATION UNDER GOD INDIVISSIBLE WITH JUSTICE AND LIBERTY
FOR ALL. SO EVEN IF I CAN'T THE HONOR DUE TO NOT HAVING
ANY INCOME I HAVE ALLREADY PAID THE PRICE IN FULL, AS A U.S. ARMY DISABLE VETERAN L1731.REPUBLICAN SENTORIAL INNER CIRCLE-ROUND TABLE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL TRUST -TASK FORCE 187111644@
Some would say that dying for their country is probably the most selfless, heroic, and poetic death a Soldier could ever hope for. I would agree, as i have had the honor of serving with some whom have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. They gave their lives in selfless service for their country. Some have lost limbs and sight in battle and have truly earned the privelidge of calling themselves "DISABLED VETERANS". However, if there is one thing that boils my blood is a civilian imposter posing to be a disabled combat veteran. He is desicrating the very memory of both real Soldiers whom have fallen in direct service for GOD AND COUNTRY. Heroes whom have genuinely faced adversity. I am sorry to have to post this, but the truth is that the above post from Carlos M. Llanes Sr. is truly embarrassing to me as it was posted by my BIOLOGICAL FATHER. CARLOS M. LLANES SR. This man graduated from Basic Training in the Fall of 1978 from Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. He actually never made it a day past basic training as he requested to be discharged and attempted to committ suicide in order to achieve this. He was given an honorable discharge with a bar to re-enlistment. Several years later he attempted to sue the United States Army claiming that he had hurt his back during Basic Training. This man has fathered over 14 children and has lived his life jumping from scam to scam in an attempt to take a free ride via the United States Government.I can still remember him even though the last time i saw him i was 4 years old and the only Army he had ever served to date was the Salvation Army. This man represents the very reason why WELFARE in this country is in serious trouble. I cannot understand what would compell this man to pursue such things and claim such lies. Specifically I cannot believe that this man could have the audacity to claim to be a disabled veteran, especially since the only foreign land he was ever a veteran of was his front porch. I dont believe he ever once wore the uniform outside of his house. I am truly at a loss for words. God Bless America and may God have mercy on his soul. Airborne and Air Assault.
Carlos M. Llanes Jr