Following former President George W. Bush’s heart surgery Tuesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee reportedly used a “get well soon” card for Bush to raise money for its organization.
“President George W. Bush courageously defended our freedom and our country, and America misses his days in office now more than ever before,” the NRCC wrote on its website, with a link to sign a card. The e-card on the website did not appear to link to a fundraising pitch.
However, the NRCC originally emailed supporters a version of the e-card that linked to a fundraising page for the NRCC, according to The Dallas Morning News.
After signing, supporters were prompted to, “Chip in $5 to help us send President Bush a bouquet of bluebonnets – the Texas state flower.” But the listed donation possibilities went up as high as $250, according to the Dallas newspaper.
When asked, the NRCC did not send the original emailed pitch to ABC News or comment on the reported fundraising, instead emailing a brief statement.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Americans to show President Bush how much they care about him as he recovers,” NRCC spokesman Daniel Scarpinato wrote. “The reaction has been overwhelming, and we all look forward to his speedy recovery.”
Parallels have already been drawn between this effort and that of the Democratic National Committee following the Boston bombing in April, when it invited supporters to, “Thank Boston’s first responders” by signing a thank-you note that required a name, email and zip code.
If supporters signed the thank-you e-card, they were then directed to another DNC page where they were prompted to input other contact information to receive DNC updates. But there was no direct prompting for any contributions, as with the NRCC card.
Some saw the DNC’s thank-you note as a means of boosting the DNC’s fundraising lists. In response, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted, “Disgraceful: @TheDemocrats capitalizing on terrorism and Boston’s first responders to boost their fundraising lists. Very poor taste.”
When asked by The Daily Caller for a comment on the backlash, DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said, “Our supporters were looking for an outlet to express their gratitude and support for first responders in the wake of the tragedy in Boston, and collecting messages of thanks to deliver to them, we concluded, was the best outlet we could give them.”
He added, “What’s disgraceful is that Republicans would stoop so low as to politicize the simple act of thanking the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.”