Mail fraud? GOP dupes small donors to fund Trump’s campaign

The Hill reports that the Republican Party has been using some shady, and apparently illegal direct mail techniques to dupe people into contributing to the Trump campaign:

Last spring, the Republican National Committee (RNC) unveiled an ingenious new fundraising technique: mailing solicitations that were disguised as delinquency notices. Envelopes were stamped with “NOTICE OF DELINQUENCY” in large bold red print with the return address:

Office of Records
[Recipient’s state] Area Assessment
***Immediate Response Requested***
***Immediate Response Requested***

gop-envelope-notice-of-delinquency-2The envelope had the stark appearance of official government mail. “Office of Records” suggested the letter came from a governmental agency. “Assessment” gave the impression the letter was notice of an overdue property tax bill. The enclosed invoice was marked “PAST DUE,” which was circled in red. An undated letter began:

This NOTICE OF DELINQUENCY has been sent to you because the Republican Party has contacted you multiple times to ask for your support for the 2016 campaign …

From this point, the letter reads like a typical partisan fundraising solicitation and was signed by Reince Priebus, Chairman of the RNC.

The Postal Inspection Service’s web site states that this kind of deceptive mailing violates federal law:

Title 39, United States Code, Section 3001, makes it illegal to mail a solicitation in the form of an invoice, bill, or statement of account due unless it conspicuously bears a notice on its face that it is, in fact, merely a solicitation. This disclaimer must be in very large (at least 30-point) type and must be in boldface capital letters in a color that contrasts prominently with the background against which it appears.

The disclaimer must not be modified, qualified, or explained, such as with the phrase “Legal notice required by law.” It must be the one prescribed in the statute, or alternatively, the following notice prescribed by the U.S. Postal Service: THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.

The paper said the Inspection Service has yet to open an investigation.

 

Read the full story at TheHill: GOP dupes small donors to fund Trump’s campaign | TheHill

Click here for the Dallas Morning News story about the mailings.