RNC: Texas Group Guilty of Outsource Scam
WASHINGTON – The Republican National Committee (search) filed a complaint Tuesday accusing a Texas group of posing as a GOP organization to raise money by phone using an Indian telemarketing firm and through fund-raising mailings.
The fund-raising telephone calls prompted false, widespread rumors that the RNC was outsourcing its donor phone calls to India, the committee's complaint to the Federal Election Commission says.
The complaint accuses The Republican Victory Committee (search), based in Irving, Texas, of impersonating the Republican Party and fraudulently raising money by telling prospective donors it was being solicited by the GOP for use by Republican candidates.
Jody Novacek, one of those named in the RNC complaint, said The Republican Victory Committee is a tax-exempt, political organization raising money for get-out-the-vote activities around the country.
The RNC's allegations "couldn't be farther from the truth," Novacek said in a telephone interview. "We are Republican-leaning, and the funds will be used for voter mobilization at the state and local level."
Novacek said The Republican Victory Committee started raising money in January — in part using a call center in India — but stopped in April when the U.S. postal inspector's office began an inquiry. She said the postal inspector's inquiry was resolved and her group had planned to resume fund raising after the July 4 holiday, but now would keep its solicitations on hold until the FEC complaint is put to rest.
Spokesmen in the postal inspector's office in Washington did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Novacek said The Republican Victory Committee had no paid staff and was operating purely as a volunteer organization. She said the group was using a consulting and marketing firm she owns, BPO Advantage, to manage its fund raising and pay its telemarketing bills, but that money from the committee was taken only "as a passthrough to the call center" and didn't benefit BPO Advantage. The Republican Victory Committee and BPO Advantage operate at the same address.
Novacek declined to release fund-raising figures for The Republican Victory Committee, saying she had no exact number and wasn't comfortable providing an estimate. The group's first report to the Internal Revenue Service outlining its contributions and spending is due in July.
The RNC said it was alerted to the fund raising by people who received suspicious phone calls and mailings soliciting money for the "Republican Victory 2004 Committee." Caller ID numbers were associated with a call center in New Delhi, India, and one telemarketer claimed to be in "the Washington, D.C., of Virginia," the complaint says.
The RNC said it has been in consultation with the postal inspector's office about the fund raising.