Observer Exclusive: Richard Viguerie, Right-Wing Activist, Aids Giuliani Campaign

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s Senate campaign committee has paid more than $20,000 for services performed by a company whose founder and chairman is Richard Viguerie, the controversial right-wing direct-mail magnate who has worked for Jesse Helms, Sun Young Moon, Oliver North and George Wallace, The Observer ‘s analysis of campaign finance records shows.

According to the records, the Virginia-based company, American Target Advertising, received payments of $5,120, $4,040, $5,400, $2,920 and $4,120 from Friends of Giuliani as of July 31. The company performed telemarketing work for the campaign, according to the records.

The controversial Mr. Viguerie would seem like unlikely company for Mr. Giuliani. The Mayor is a pro-choice, pro-gay rights Republican who has often feuded with Republican right-wingers and crossed party lines to endorse then-Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1994. Many insiders note that the Mayor is vulnerable to a third-party challenge from the state Conservative Party, whose leader, Michael Long, recently told The Observer that Mr. Giuliani was acting “silly” by not reaching out to him.

Mr. Viguerie’s right-wing credentials, on the other hand, are impeccable. He has long been one of the leading warriors on the conservative fringe of the national Republican party.

The indisputable godfather of direct-mail fund raising, Mr. Viguerie once reportedly likened the quiet deadliness of the technique to a snake, and his marketing strategies helped launch the conservative revolution in the early 1960’s. He specialized in mailings that incited fears of a left-wing takeover of the Federal Government. His mass mailings helped bring Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater national prominence during the 1964 campaign.

Mr. Viguerie raised money for Wallace in the early 1970’s, and he was one of a small group of strategists that approached Jerry Falwell in 1979 about forming the Moral Majority. Mr. Viguerie launched mass mailings for Mr. North during his ill-fated Senate campaign in 1994. He has also done direct mail for Mr. Moon’s Unification Church–whose members he has described as “good, decent people who are strongly anticommunist.”

Mr. Viguerie has long been a vigorous champion of ultraconservative principles. For example, during the 1980’s, he assailed President Ronald Reagan for straying too far to the left. Mr. Viguerie once wrote that President George Bush was “heading into a civil war with G.O.P. conservatives that will leave the political fields covered with blood.”

Calls to Mr. Viguerie’s office went unreturned. A spokesman for the Giuliani campaign was unavailable for comment.

Beyond telemarketing, it is unclear what services Mr. Viguerie performed for the Giuliani campaign. But Bruce Teitelbaum, Mr. Giuliani’s campaign manager, told reporters on Jan. 19 that a key to the campaign’s astounding fund-raising success last year was largely due to an “aggressive direct-mail operation.”

The Giuliani campaign disclosed on Jan. 19 that it had collected an astonishing $12 million from donors across the country last year, shattering the previous record for fund raising in an off-year before a Senate election, which was set by Alfonse D’Amato, who raised more than $6 million in 1997.

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