If, for reasons that might best be described as unfathomable, you’ve bought a Rush Limbaugh power tie recently, you soon may be receiving an urgent appeal for campaign donations from a prospective United States Senate candidate named Rudolph Giuliani. That’s because the Giuliani campaign has the names of some 37,000 right-wing fashion victims who don neckwear from Mr. Limbaugh’s “No Boundaries” collection. They apparently also have the names of people who think President Clinton has surrendered control of the national parks to the United Nations, who supported former Lieut. Col. Oliver North, who support English-only laws, and who have bought Rush Limbaugh winter boots, sandals, coffee mugs and, of all things, mink gloves.
The Giuliani camp has amassed this intelligence by renting lists that have the names and addresses of people who have declared their hard-right politics either through their activism or their choice of fashion accessories. The Giuliani campaign has rented at least a dozen lists from a Virginia-based company called Response Unlimited, according to a review by The Observer of the company’s records. A source familiar with the transactions confirmed that the Giuliani campaign rented the lists.
As part of its aggressive direct-mail fund raising, the Giuliani camp quite naturally has turned to people who might be inclined to send a check to keep Hillary Rodham Clinton out of the Senate. But a look at the lists shows that the Giuliani campaign has stockpiled lists of potential donors who have supported groups and causes that seem to be at odds with the Mayor’s image as a moderate Republican who favors gay rights, immigrant rights and abortion rights.
Among the organizations whose mailing lists the Giuliani campaign has rented from Response Unlimited are the American Center for Legislative Reform, which apparently believes that blue-helmeted United Nations troops will soon replace rangers at Yellowstone National Park; the Catholic Alliance, an anti-abortion offshoot of the Christian Coalition; and the American Patriot Donors, which opposes gay rights.
Richard Viguerie, the controversial right-wing direct-mail magnate, was enlisted by Giuliani operatives to arrange for the list rental, according to a source familiar with the transaction. The Observer first reported Mr. Viguerie’s role with the Giuliani campaign in its on-line edition on Jan. 21.
Mr. Viguerie would seem to be an unlikely supporter of Mr. Giuliani. A leading right-wing warrior, he has worked for Jesse Helms, Oliver North, George Wallace and Patrick Buchanan. His very presence in the Giuliani campaign suggests that widespread contempt for Mrs. Clinton on the right has made the Mayor somewhat palatable to diehard social conservatives.
Calls to Mr. Viguerie’s office were not returned.
Kim Serafin, a spokesman for the Giuliani campaign, declined to comment on fund-raising specifics. “Trying to paint the Mayor as a right-winger is absurd,” she said. “This notion of a vast right-wing conspiracy is an old Clinton tactic that New Yorkers won’t fall for.”
It is not known how of Mr. Giuliani’s fund-raising appeals has gone to right-wing groups. Nonetheless, Mrs. Clinton’s camp already has begun to package Mr. Viguerie’s work as evidence of a matorial alliance with the extreme right wing.
Mr. Giuliani’s aides defend their fund-raising efforts, which hauled in $12 million last year, eclipsing Mrs. Clinton’s total of $8 million. Mayoral advisers said their techniques are necessary to keep up with the formidable Mrs. Clinton, a national celebrity who enjoys the backing of the Clinton White House.
“Look,” said one mayoral adviser, “this is a campaign where the rhetoric in fund raising is not always going to connect with the rhetoric at the top. [Mrs. Clinton’s] mail is going to go out to every crackpot leftist and leftover commie in the world.”
The adviser added that Mrs. Clinton’s camp wasn’t above gutter politics: “What they’ve done so far is to insult a lot of people in New York by calling Rudy supporters thugs and goons.”
Indeed, one of Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raising letters reads: “I haven’t even announced my candidacy and already the divisive, negative Republican campaign has begun. Already, my potential opponent is attacking me almost daily.”
Still, there’s no question that Mr. Giuliani has strayed into alien territory by working with Mr. Viguerie and his army of donors. The Mayor, a Northeastern big-city moderate Republican, has often feuded with conservatives in his party, and he 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.
He’s Got Mail
Mr. Viguerie’s conservative credentials, however, are impeccable. His best direct-mail work stirs horrifying images of a left-wing takeover of the Federal Government. His marketing strategies helped launch the conservative revolution in the early 1960’s, when he did mass mailings for Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. He raised cash for Wallace in the early 1970’s, and helped organize Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority in the 1980’s. He threw his direct-mail empire behind Mr. North, an insurgent candidate for Senate in Virginia, in 1994.
Mr. Viguerie has also done direct mail for the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church-whose members he has described as “good, decent people who are strongly anticommunist.”
The lists Mr. Viguerie apparently procured for Mr. Giuliani provide a glimpse into the intriguing world of the direct-mail magnate, who once reportedly likened the silent deadliness of his technique to a snake. Response Unlimited records offer detailed descriptions of each list, designed to promote them in the eyes of would-be buyers-such as the Giuliani campaign.
“Rush Limbaugh Power Tie Buyers,” for example, are described as follows: “These individuals have shown a fierce loyalty to both good taste in fashion as well as being highly conservative politically. These folks will respond to appeals as well as conservative and political fund raising, subscription and book club offers.”
“American Patriot Donors,” meanwhile, “support … Oliver North, a strong national defense, veterans, less government, term limits, sending Bibles to Russia, pro-family as well as other patriotic and senior citizen causes.”
Another list rented by the Giuliani campaign, according to the records, is the “Christian PAC Donors and Activists,” which is described as “a political action committee that specifically helps Christian and pro-family candidates get elected to public office, and [worked] hard to see that Bill Clinton [was] impeached.”
Then there is the “Religious Freedom Donors”: “conservative individuals [who] have opened their checkbooks in an attempt to stop the censorship of religious expression and the public display of religion.… These grass roots Americans are concerned with issues such as private prayer in schools, the teaching of homosexual practices in public schools … and the growing assault on the family.”
Meanwhile, the Giuliani campaign has rented a list of 6,000 names from English Language Advocates, a group that drafted a controversial initiative to make Arizona an English-only state, the group’s development director, Phillips Hinch, told The Observer .
The Mayor’s campaign also has enlisted other right-leaning list companies. According to campaign finance records, the campaign hired the Virginia-based RST Marketing, which is raising money for Gary Bauer, the social conservative who is seeking the Republican Presidential nomination. And the campaign has paid for the services of Pinnacle List Company, which offers lists such as the “Anti-Clinton Republican Revolutionaries” and names of those who have donated to “U.S. Border Control,” a group whose Web site warns darkly of “the ethnic cleansing of European Americans.”
Holly Ruble, the president of Pinnacle, declined to say which lists her company had rented to the Giuliani campaign.
Political operatives agree that donor lists can be extremely effective. They enable a campaign to identify would-be donors far from home. The technique is almost impossible to trace. The names of targeted individuals who make a donation later pop up in Federal filings-but only as individual donors. The name of the donor list-the ideological grouping of givers-is not reflected in filings.
What’s more, some lists cannot be traced to actual organizations; they are simply compilations of donors put together by people whose identities are cloaked in secrecy. Ms. Ruble, for instance, said that the “Anti-Clinton Republican Revolutionaries” was such a list, and that it had been pulled together by someone who wished to remain concealed.
Whatever the effectiveness of Mr. Giuliani’s carpet-bombing of the right with direct mail, social conservatives may prove reluctant to shell out cash for someone who, from their point of view, is a big-city, pro-abortion pinko with a strange comb-over. Take, for instance, a man named William Murray, a Washington, D.C.-based social conservative who runs a campaign called “Anybody but Hillary.” Mr. Murray told The Observer that he wouldn’t even bother offering Mr. Giuliani his candidate questionnaire.
“He would not qualify for support from our [political action committee],” Mr. Murray said. “We cannot support Rudy Ghoul-iani.”
Asked about his pronunciation of the Mayor’s surname, Mr. Murray said he had made a mistake.