The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call caught legislators trying to pass off stacks of empty boxes as the “million letters” they supposedly received on behalf of the McCain-Kennedy Immigration bill. Ron Brynaert of Raw Story reports:
“At a pro-immigration rally Thursday, a group of politicians including Sens. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) addressed reporters while picturesquely standing in front of an impressive tower of boxes they said contained letters from a million supporters of comprehensive immigration reform,” Emily Heil reports for Roll Call’s ‘Heard on the Hill.’
According to a press release, the letters were part of the “Por la Reforma Migratoria con Piolín” campaign launched by Univision radio personality Eddie ‘Piolín’ Sotelo, and was touted as marking “the first time that a letter writing campaign has generated such a large number of letters in support of immigration reform.”
“As the Members repeatedly referred to the letters and gestured toward the boxes allegedly containing them as evidence of the support for the immigration bill that is struggling in the Senate, a crack Roll Call photographer on hand at the event began to grow suspicious,” Heil continues. “He could see light shining through the handles of the boxes, indicating that they weren’t full.”
The paper reveals, “Sure enough, a quick check revealed that the boxes were, indeed, completely empty.”
Read the whole story at the link above. The blame is being laid upon an “overzealous volunteer,” but that doesn’t wash. A “volunteer” wouldn’t undertake on his or her own to place a bunch of empty boxes at a press conference. Volunteers do what they are told to do. It’s sort of what a “volunteer” IS, after all.
I can see how it happened, if not who directed it. Someone claimed a million supporting letters. Someone else said “We should let the media know that!” and suggested a press conference. Someone else thought it a powerful image to HAVE the “million letters” there, and things snowballed from there.
IF they did receive an aggregate of a million letters in favor, it could only been the result of an organized campaign with mass production capabilities, and NOT some grassroots effort inspired by a radio host – and most likely the work was off-shored to South Asian subcontractors who actually wrote or signed the letters. Of course, they might prove me wrong by actually producing the letters for all to see, but apparently they cannot.
A bonehead stunt, but they thought it worth the risk. Potemkin at least took precautions to prevent close inspections of his villages . . .