During the early stages presidential campaign
of 1996, Bob Dole
took some heat for about a week when he accepted
a campaign contribution
from an Illinois
group called the Log Cabin Republicans
. At the time, the Dole campaigners did not know that the LCR was a group of gay republicans
. When this was found out, Dole took some heat from his right-wing
colleagues, and returned the check to the LCR. When that
was discovered, Dole took even more
heat from his moderate
colleagues, and ended up cashing the check and blaming the fiasco on his staff
(Don't get indignant, that's one of the things campaign staff
One of those who cried the loudest when it was discovered that Dole accepted the LCR check was Pat Buchanan, who was fighting Dole for the Republican Nomination. Buchanan wanted to know how Dole could 'compromise' his position by accepting campaign funds from a homosexual group.
Watching the whole affair from the sidelines was liberal prankster Michael Moore. Moore asked the obvious question: Aren't candidates supposed to take all the money they can, wherever they can find it? How many of Dole's opponents would really back down from free money? Moore decided to try an experiment. Enlisting the cooperation of an Ithaca bank, he set up a few accounts under the following names:
- Pedophiles for Free Trade
- Abortionists for Buchanan
- The John Wayne Gacy Fan Club
- Satan Worshippers for Dole
- Hemp Growers of America
Each account sent out legitimate
checks for $75 and $100 to the campaigns of Dole, Buchanan, and H. Ross Perot
- The Dole campaign returned the Satan Worshippers' check.
- The John Wayne Gacy check was returned by Perot's campaigners, with a nice letter explaining that the Independant Party was not yet established in that state.
- Buchanan's campaign cashed all the checks, except the Satan Worshippers for Dole club, which was not returned.
As Moore explains in his book Downsize This!
, he was especially satisfied
to see Buchanan do this, because back when he worked for Richard Nixon
in 1971, Buchanan had himself suggested pulling the same stunt against Nixon challenger Pete McCloskey
, with checks from SDS
, Black Panther
s, and Gay Pride