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I don’t think I’d believe it myself it I hadn’t heard it with my own ears. I was working in my home office yesterday, and my wife came down with a message. Jessica Brown from Congressman Tom Cole’s office had called, and apparently, he wanted to give me a National Leadership Award. All I had to do was return the call at 1-877-213-0603 and they would work on my press release.
My wife though maybe it had something to do with the many websites I operate online, but I immediately smelled a rat. I figured it was a Nigerian Scam of some sort, using a random name and a phony award to get people to fork over their money. In the end, I almost wish that’s really what it was. It turns out to be far more sickening.
First, I Googled the Congressman’s name, and it came up legit. There really is a Congressman Tom Coles from Oklahoma. Why would an Oklahoma Congressman want to give me, a resident of Maryland, an award? I searched for his name with Jessica Brown’s and found nothing. Next, I searched for the phone number they had left at which to call them back, 1-877-213-0603. That’s when the whole plot began to unfold.
It seems that I’m not the only one being called by Congressman Tom Cole’s office being offered a National Leadership award. It seems anyone who is a “small businessman” is being contacted and told they have won this award for helping to improve the local economy. I have no employees, and I work out of my basement. I’m not sure how I’m improving my local economy, but anyway…
It seems that a lot of people are being called by different people, all with the same message. The callers include Betty Lake, Kim McClain, Sandy Vandergrift, Elaine Praise, Vickie Bell, Robin Blankenship, Ashley Cameron, and more. The message is always the same, telling them that they have won a National Leadership Award and they need to call back so they can get started on their press release.
It turns out that when you call back, you are told that they are the National Republican Congressional Comittee, and they patch you through to a recorded message from Tom Coles about how the NRCC needs you to donate $500 to they can fight the Democrats and help small businessman such as yourselves. Your $500 donation will get you the award, your name added to a Wall Street Journal press release, and an invite to a dinner with the President.
Another blogger actually recorded the call, so you can see for yourself exactly how it all went down. It really disgusts me that a political party would stoop so low as to try something like this. It’s not exactly a scam, since I presume that you do end up getting the National Leadership Award (now we know what that’s worth), and your name in the Wall St. Journal, etc.
Still, this has got to be one of the sleaziest fundraising methods I’ve ever heard of. If a private company tried this or a charity, they would be condemned by everyone in sight, and hypocritical Congresssman would be the first to throw the stones.
If you read this site on a regular basis, you know that I’m have no affiliation with a political party. I am certainly not a Democrat, and this is not is not some kind of Republican bashing post to make Democrats look good. To be honest, I think the Democrats are capable of just as sleazy things. Nearly all politicians are, and that’s why politics is such crap!
Anyway, so that’s my story.Â Leave a comment if you’d like and tell me what you think about all this.