Pernicious Predatory Political Practices

An 85 year-old friend calls with a bit of panic in his voice. “I think I’ve gotten myself into something in Washington,” he said. He’s getting mailings that look he’s part of a lawsuit.

We meet for coffee to look over the mailings. He shows me the piece that worries him. It’s a law suit. It strikes him as very official. [See the return address in the top envelope below: Congressman Trey Goudy and my friend’s name  v. President Barack Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Homeland Security Secretary Johnson]. It has a case number: 584-9760 US.

Trey Goudy

Trey Goudy (R-SC) is Chair of the Congressional Committee on Benghazi, the one who was criticized by the next-in-line to be Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), because the committee was driven by a partisan political agenda. The letter speaks with urgency and asks for money to prosecute the case.

Next He pulls from his satchel a long tube from The National Campaign to Guarantee Social Security “warning” him of cuts to his Social Security benefits and possible elimination of Social Security. Only near the end of the three page letter does the campaign identify liberals as the enemies of Social Security. The letter solicits a sum of $200 before March 10 when the National Campaign to Guarantee Social Security’s creditors expect them to pay past bills.

National Campaign - SS

Most of the mailings have the same return address:  1600 Diagonal Road, Suite 600, Alexandria, VA, the offices of the Federation of Responsible Citizens.

A search of the Federation of Responsible Citizens and other mail solicitors that target seniors led us to this podcast and article aired by Minnesota Pubic Radio in Dec., 2013.

http://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/01/03/news/mediscare-fundraising-mailers

My friend and I consulted with the MN Attorney General’s Office. We were told to tear up any such mailings. “Just throw them away. You’ll see this slow down or stop after the election.” But what about the millions of seniors who at one time made a small contribution to some such mailing, believing it was in their best interest to do so? Is there a lawsuit out there to stop this pernicious predatory political practice? Someone please say yes.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 26, 2016

14 thoughts on “Pernicious Predatory Political Practices

  1. And I am seeing a lot of these things on the net, , the one that claims you can get this great deal if you hurry to get a large lump sum from SS, etc., etc. are really scary!
    … Outright outlandish claims to spread fear…..

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    • The First Amendment right to free speech is an achievement of which Americans are proud, but it is also a curse when the right is used perniciously, and especially when it is used for predatory purposes. I don’t know how we get ourselves out of this. “Say the word ‘freedom’ – say the word ‘malicious’ – say the word ‘irresponsible’ – say the sentence ‘I am not my sister’s/brother’s keeper’.”

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  2. I could swear I saw a suggestion for “return to sender” when I read my mail on my phone, but I can’t find it now. At any rate, I wanted to point out that sometimes these guys include “no postage needed” return envelopes. So easy to lick and mail back so they have to pay for it. Can even include an appropriate note.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gordon,

    you hit the nail right on the head in terming this kind of activity pernicious! Unfortunately, we live in a toxic, political climate that pits people against one another wherever possible; the whole mentality of ‘your with me or against me’ has gotten out of control over the past 20-30 years. IMHO it shows a lack of maturity as a society, when there is no room for nuance in discussions and no appreciation for pulling together as one society, where we help as many people as possible to succeed in living productive, positive lives.

    With that, decency has become a victim of collateral damage, and I don’t see the end in sight yet.

    These sort of mailings do prey on people’s fears, as you point out. I get at least one mailing a day that dresses itself up as a governmental edict, which, to me, is akin to phishing. Scammers of the world are working overtime, and there should be a creative way to fix this…what if, all unwanted mail of this kind were to be sent back to its return address, even the phony ones? I think there might be a postal regulation for verifiable return addresses to have anything delivered very soon.

    Just as frustrated,

    Frank

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  4. I see this kind of garbage from both the right and the left all the time in all kinds of media, perhaps because my name is on political lists. My dad who is in his mid-eighties gets similar stuff. imho, very few of the writers of these documents have any kind of decency.

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    • Thanks, Anonymous,

      I no longer get mailings from the right. I get some from the left and the center, but not a lot. The raft of materials my 85-year-old friend laid on the table before my eyes raised my blood pressure. It’s normally 110/68; I bet it went all the way up to, oh, say, 120/75!😊 All kidding aside, this stuff is toxic. It poisons the public waters. Some unsuspecting souls take the bait. Some throw it in the trash. Others turn off the switch to all political discussion, which has the effect of leaving the most important public policy decisions in the hands of the devious and pernicious. My concern is how to stop these kinds of mailings. The only recourse appears to be the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service.

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    • If a drop in the ocean makes a difference…. I’d like to believe it does, but increasingly think it doesn’t. Nevertheless, we must try, even if we are Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill knowing it will fall back down every day. Integrity and living with oneself is its own reward. I think. But if one person is helped by exposing this nonsense, that’s one less rock to fall back down.

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    • Faith, We don’t get this kind of stuff. It’s appalling. Reading it made me sick. All I could think of was the words that stopped Joe McCarthy in his tracks: “Have you no decency, Sir? Have you no decency left?”

      Like

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