From: Timothy McCaughan/CNN
Subject: GOP Downplays Republican Fund-Raising Letters Sent To Controversial Democratic Donor
Republicans are downplaying a GOP fund-raising letter sent to controversial Democratic donor Roger Tamraz -- a letter Democrats brought up at today's campaign finance hearings focusing on former DNC chairman Don Fowler's efforts to help Tamraz.
The February 1997 fund-raising letter from Republican Leader Trent Lott to Tamraz, introduced by Democratic Sen. John Glenn (D-OH), was also sent to 103,475 other individuals, according to a Republican spokesman.
Republican National Senatorial Committee spokesman Mike Russell said Tamraz had given $1,000 earlier this year in what the committee thought might have been an effort to get his name on their donor lists as well but the committee's vetting process caught his name and the money was returned.
His name got on the mailing list in the interim, Russell said.
Glenn noted that the letter from Lott, which congratulated Tamraz for being nominated as a member of the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle, was followed a few days later from another similar letter from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The RNSC says the letter from McConnell came from the same list, meaning it was sent to a total of 103,476 individuals.
"The Senator is being less than forthright in describing that letter," Russell said referring to the letter from Lott.
"[Tamraz] was trying to worm his way into Republican donor lists," Russell said. "It was an obvious ploy in an effort to try and put his name on Republican lists, our checks and balances worked and we saw it for what it was."
Tamraz was a member of the Republican National Committee's "Eagles" during the 1980s. "Eagle" status in 1987 required a $10,000 contribution; it now requires a $15,000 contribution.
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