I wrote this letter to FairTax.org this evening after reading an apology the campaign sent out to its grassroots supporters. The letter from the organization's Communication Director follows my letter for reader's reference. - Jackie
I am a freelance journalist who likes the Bill HR 25/ S 25. My husband and I used to be more active in the grassroots effort of your organization but due to frustrations from trying to assist in promoting the cause but not getting the material and moral support from your organization required to do so, we have not been active for a number of years. In fact, my husband used to be a district director for your organization.
It was because of those concerns that I was interested in reading the email that my husband received from you today, "FairTax campaign apologizes." Communications Director Ken Hoagland apologized for asking for more money on behalf of your organization but in the email, Mr. Hoagland listed what your organization has accomplished and seemed quite proud of those accomplishments. My difference, and I think my husband's too (though I wouldn't dream of speaking for him) with Mr. Hoagland is in the strategy that the FairTax uses to attain its goals. There is a saying that everyone knows (except me, apparently, because I can't remember the exact way it goes) but something to the effect that if you do something and it doesn't work but you keep doing it the same way expecting different results then you aren't very bright.
FairTax.org gives great lip service to how much they appreciate their grassroots supporters when they are seeking further contributions, yet when supporters have ideas they are often dashed, or given little material support. We are not the only ones who have noticed it. It has been a complaint of many grassroots supporters of the FairTax and is the basic reason we washed our hands of working with your organization. We still support Bill HR 25/ S 25, don't get me wrong, we simply do not support your organization because your organization has not proven to support us. Many of your supporters feel the same way and I suspect you realize that since you recognized and claim you plan to change it in the future in the email apology Mr. Hoagland sent out today.
I, and my husband, never were able to give much financially to your organization but even if we had, I can tell you we would not be interested in giving your organization more and more money to use as lobbyists to Congress for the FairTax. Lobbyists to Congress are, in part, what the FairTax promises to decrease! No disrespect but we want to see you out of a job.
I suspect Neal Boortz has done much more to advance the passage of the FairTax than FairTax.org has ever dreamed of doing, though I realize that you MAY have provided him with material and moral support. If you have, that is at least, one thing you have done right. I notice that Neal Boortz shows no sign of support for your organization. I can't recall ever hearing him mention it on his show, I find that interesting and wonder why?
When and if the FairTax ever passes Congress it will do so because the people will have had enough of our current, complicated system of taxation and will demand it. This is possible. It is still possible for the people's collective voices to be heard, as evidenced by the comprehensive immigration reform's failure last year. The people will have to accomplish it, however, not a few salaried lobbyists calling on Congressmen on our behalf.
If your organization was truly interested in causing a grassroots America to passionately cry out for the reform of our federal income tax system and did so by supporting that grassroots population toward swelling growth rather than throwing good money after bad with the same failed strategy, our family's support might return. This is what Mr. Hoagland has suggested your organization plans to do in the future as it apologizes for asking for more money from the very grassroots supporters it has offered little material and moral support to in the past. Well, I live in the "Show Me State." As it is, I will be very happy when you are looking for another line of employment.
If and when the FairTax, Bill HR 25/ S 25 passes, you will no longer need your grassroots supporters to send in non-tax deductible contributions so that your organization's staff can continue driving the FairTax bus around the country and lobbying Congress to pass it. Isn't it ironic that you seek funds to pay yourselves for supporting federal income tax reform which will, in essence put tax lobbyists out of business? You will put yourselves out of business! Without the IRS you will no longer have a job, this causes me to question the sincerity of your organization, especially when watching it fail to get the FairTax passed year after year, calling for the same process and procedure, the same strategy, year after year, asking those grassroots supporters to write letters to their Congressmen year after year, asking those grassroots supporters to continue to sign your paychecks year after year only to restart the cycle with every new Congress ad nauseam. Something is simply wrong with this picture.
Sincerely, Jackie Melton, Springfield, Missouri
Dear FairTax supporters,
It's time for me to "fess up".
I want to apologize for asking for funding--and for not doing even more than we have. Both rob my sleep. We achieved so much in the past year--but it cost us.
We dominated the Iowa race, held three big rallies in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, doubled our grassroots base, launched and kept the beautiful FairTax bus on the road, "guested" on more than 600 radio talk shows, convinced ABC's George Stephanopoulos to ask the FairTax question at GOP debates and moved the FairTax onto the national stage. And best, we saw one candidate, Gov. Mike Huckabee, not only embrace the FairTax but make it a center plank of his campaign. He continued to help us last week by signing our April 15th petition in Houston in front of a room full of reporters.
We've been "running the baselines" the way Pete Rose did--without fear and with every ounce of our hearts. We put people in the field, hired local organizers, "wrapped" the FairTax bus, funded rallies and media and gave away almost every T-shirt, cap, bumper sticker and membership brochure we had (about 250,000).
But it meant that just after Iowa we laid off most of our staff to reduce operating expenses. We only kept the campaign elements that would allow us to capitalize on our momentum for the hardest work--expanding our membership base--and reluctantly said "thank you and good-bye" to a small group of talented young people who worked seven day weeks for more than a year to make our on-the-ground efforts so powerful.
We are now rebuilding the campaign infrastructure brick-by-brick. The FairTax.org Web site is better than it ever has been, the FairTax Groups (grassroots-managed sites) are growing, the FairTax bus continues to delight in hundreds of towns and cities, our media work continues and we continue to hector talk show hosts across the nation. Membership is growing and our operational tempo is again increasing. But no, admittedly, not fast enough.
We are just now turning the corner financially--because of your generosity and because our numbers are growing. We funded 100,000 memberships "tri-folds" in the new Boortz/Linder FairTax book (on the bestseller list again as one more reminder how powerfully popular is the FairTax), we launched our first direct mail effort in years, and our Internet strategies are dramatically growing the membership. In a little more than one week, we already have more than 40,000 signatures on our April 15th petition to Congress and Presidential candidates. We have just restocked our tri-fold supply with 100,000 new pieces and we have brought on long-time supporter, Jimmy Walby, to work closely with grassroots leaders nationally. We are making plans now for Congressional district level issue campaigns and are actively reaching out to national leaders for support. Still not enough.
We bought full-page newspaper ads before the Ohio and Texas primaries (thank you for making this happen!) and plan to place more ads in small to medium newspapers in states where we have large membership figures--and low co-sponsorship levels. Alone the ads are not enough, but they bring people to our Web site and help grow our base and excite newcomers about the FairTax.
I'll admit I blew my top a few weeks ago when one frustrated local leader wrote to ask why we were not "getting real" and buying TV ads across the country and putting organizers and billboards in every town and city. After talking with him at length is was clear that we both shared a common frustration that we have not been able to do more and do it faster. But we took some comfort in the fact that the FairTax has never had more Congressional co-sponsors or been better known nationally.
Our challenge now is make our campaign even more powerful and to shift our efforts from the early Presidential primary strategy that served us so well to direct pressure on Congress and the leading Presidential candidates for both parties. Both goals, and an increased operational tempo, require many more supporters and even more active measures now by the FairTax family. On the merits, we win. But being right is not enough, it takes organization, funding and political strength to overturn the self-interest of Congress and the ignorance of the national media.
For our grassroots leaders--I'm sorry we have not been able to work more closely with you and give you better tools and more materials. That is now changing. For our many contributors, I am sorry I keep asking for funding. But to all, please know that we are on the road to a stronger and self-sustaining national campaign that just keeps getting better and better. Our cause deserves much more, and we know it.
What can you do now? Here are five things (click on anything in blue):
1. Help us deliver 100,000 names by April 15th: Sign the petition now at www.changedc.org.
2. Get your friends and family to join our cause and sign the petition.
3. Write your Members of Congress (Here's a scorecard of current FairTax supporters).
4. Ask friendly online, print and radio media to feature our FairTax ads.
5. And yes, I am sorry to ask but please continue to help us fund the work.
Take pride in what we have accomplished together this last year and keep the faith because we are on the path to write history, change America and make good on our Founding Father's promise of a nation directed by its citizens. Sincerely, Ken HoaglandCommunications Director
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