GOP stressing Democrats' gifts from 'Red China' Fund-raising letter is breaking records

April 03, 1997|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- In a highly successful direct-mail letter that plays on old fears about Communist influence, a Republican Party committee is breaking fund-raising records by exploiting the Democrats' troubles over campaign financing.

The letter -- by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the main fund-raising body for Senate Republicans -- says the White House was "sold for ILLEGAL FOREIGN CASH" including money from "Red China, which still considers itself a Communist country!"

The letter accuses President Clinton's fund-raising committee of accepting illegal donations from a "Communist regime." It was signed by Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who is the chairman of the senatorial committee, and was mailed in mid-March to 240,000 potential donors. The letter was also printed in five conservative magazines.

Flood of responses

In the first two days after its mailing, the letter brought in money or letters of support from more than 22,000 people. More than 120,000 people responded last week, or 20 percent more than any week in the last campaign.

Amy Weiss Tobe, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, criticized the letter, saying: "It's disappointing that Senator McConnell would stoop to this level to raise money."

Referring to China, the letter says: "Thousands of American soldiers have lost their lives in the fight against the evil system of Communism. And now the FBI is investigating a sitting U.S. president's National Party Committee for accepting ILLEGAL FOREIGN CASH from the world's strongest remaining Communist regime!"

'Needs to be told'

Michael Russell, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said, "The overwhelming majority of the people who receive our letters tell us that this is an incredible story that needs to be told."

So far this year, Russell said, the committee has broken fund-raising records, generating about $4 million, has reduced a post-election debt of $7 million to $5 million and has around $2 million in cash.

Michael Tucker, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said the controversy over the fund-raising tactics of the Democratic National Committee had not slowed donations to the Democratic senatorial committee. It raised $2.9 million in the first two months of 1997.

Recipients of the letter are asked to sign a "Declaration to the President" stating that "I hereby demand that President Clinton fully disclose all illegal foreign cash activities" and that he "stop selling out America to foreign nationals."

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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