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July 20, 2009

Tell the Media about Read the Bills

Quote of the Day: “Senators and representatives who vote on bills they haven’t read and don’t understand betray their constituents’ trust. It is no excuse to say that Congress would get much less done if every member took the time to read every bill. Fewer and shorter laws more carefully thought through would be a vast improvement over today’s massive bills, which are assembled in the dark and enacted in haste. (Rep.) Steny Hoyer chortles at the thought of asking members of Congress to do their job properly. It’s up to voters to wipe the grin off his face.”  — Jeff Jacoby in a Boston Globe column that mentions’s Read the Bills Act

Subject: Good news, plus, it’s time to tell the media about the “Read the Bills Act” and

We have a lot of good news to report. First, we reached 27,000 members/subscribers on Wednesday. It took us 176 days to go from 24,000 to 25,000, and then 59 days to go from 25,000 to 26,000. But it only took us 16 days to to go from 26,000 to 27,000!

And the growth hasn’t stopped . . .

* We’re already 17% of the way to the next increment of 1,000
* Plus, we’ve already blown past 1,000 new registered users of our Educate the Powerful System this month, with 10 days still remaining in July

But there’s even more good news . . .

As you might imagine, we subscribe to a Google Alert that informs us every time someone mentions “read the bills.” Nearly all these mentions are either about us, or about the generic idea of reading the bills. Recently, the number of “read the bills” mentions has begun to soar . . .

* We’re seeing more journalists, columnists, and bloggers write about the idea
* We’re seeing new groups promote the concept, although NOT with a specific enforceable bill like ours
* This editorial from Investor’s Business Daily describes a strong bill like ours
* And this Boston Globe column by Jeff Jacoby specifically mentions us

DC Downsizers have now driven the “read the bills” idea into the mainstream public debate. You have . . .

* Pounded Congress with more than 166,000 letters about this issue
* Forwarded countless numbers of RTBA Dispatches to friends
* Called reporters and radio stations telling them about our proposal, which has generated an increasing number of interviews for me

In addition, we’ve also built a huge coalition of websites, organizations, and blogs that constantly promote the Read the Bills Act. This is why has dominated the Google Alerts about the “read the bills” idea. But there’s one thing we haven’t done . . .

Even though I’ve been interviewed by nearly 200 hosts and reporters, we’ve never specifically reached out to the media about the “Read the Bills Act,” or about This may seem crazy, but there are very good reasons for it . . .

1. What most people call “free media” ISN’T. Generating media coverage is one of the most expensive AND time consuming things an organization can do. Calling it “earned media” instead barely begins to do justice to the costs involved.
2. Spending money this way can also be like pushing on a rope, if the media isn’t interested
3. We haven’t had the resources, money or staff capacity, to do it

Now things are changing. The media is showing interest, so we don’t think we’ll be “pushing on a rope” if we try to interest them.

In addition, we NEED to make sure that when the media thinks of “Read the Bills” they also think of, because only our specific enforceable proposal really has the teeth to make a difference.

So we’re switching gears. We thought direct mail prospecting would come first. But the time is right to start bombarding the media instead. There are thousands of journalists and talk show hosts we’re going to need to reach, so it will take . . .

* Databases
* Staff time
* My time
* And communications costs for fax releases, news wire releases, and some snail mail to targeted media people

Can you help us? We’re going to start. But to keep it going we’re going to need the same kind of constant growth in our outreach budget that we’re achieving in all our other growth numbers. As of right now, we’re behind our fundraising target this month. We understand that this may be because of the excellent response you gave the Downsize DC Foundation for the Supreme Court legal brief on campaign finance, but . . .

* That was a special, un-budgeted project
* The media is interested in “read the bills” right now, so we need to start letting them know about YOUR “Read the Bills Act” right now.

This means — with only 10 days left in July — we need to beat the 19 new monthly pledgers who signed up in June. As of today we have 4 this month. We need 16 more, and TODAY would be an ideal day for you to join us as a brand new pledger, or to increase your monthly pledge.

Please help us launch and sustain our media outreach by starting a monthly credit card pledge — it can be as low as $5 a month (which is just 17 cents per day). You can start your pledge using our secure online contribution form.

Please let us know if it’s okay to advertise your support here:

NEW MONTHLY PLEDGERS IN JULY: John DiLiberto, 3 unlisted — 4 total. FROM JUNE: Bryan L Anderson, Janet Rea, Timothy M. Dyer Jr, Kenny Harrill, Ryan Sharif, Katherine Durham, David C. Flathmann, Maggie Culver, Ginny Rober, Dwight E. Baker, David H. Abernathy, John Murphy, Jeremiah J Blanchard, 6 unlisted — 19 total

Or, you could make a one-time donation. We had 26 of these in June, but we only have 11 so far this month. We’re looking for at least 16 more generous supporters over the next ten days. If you can make a one-time donation please let us know on our secure contribution form if its okay to advertise your support here.

NEW ONE TIME DONORS IN JULY: Brian O’Neill, Richard E Camp, Travis Walston, Donald Grahn, Sonja Thompson, 6 unlisted — 11 total. FROM JUNE: Bryan L Anderson, Richard S. Tolleson, Bryan Anderson, West Coile, James Sherman, Lawrence Lappin, Malin Williams, Jeffrey Taylor, Jason Pace, Kraig Clark, Autumn Browne, Victoria Pate, Patricia Barnum, Dwight E Baker, Rick Slusher, Dr. R.S. Gillinson, Edward J Krieger, Jan Berridge, 8 unlisted — 26 total

I’m eager to start doing interviews and talking to reporters. Anything you can do to make that happen will be greatly appreciated.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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