The Berman Letter: Thanks For Your Help!

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One Newt deal was unexpectedly documented in a handwritten postscript to a letter from a lobbyist for the restaurant industry, Richard Berman, whose Employment Policies Institute gave a tax-deductible $25,000 gift to Newt’s college course. In the letter enclosing the contribution, Berman penned a thanks to Gingrich for his help with a hearing at which Berman wanted to testify. (Click on the copy of the letter to the left to see a full, readable scan.)

Berman has since argued that no one pays $25,000 to testify at a hearing, and he is undoubtedly right. That wasn’t all Berman got. Gingrich wove Employment Policies Institute material on the evils of the minimum wage into his college course. Once Newt became speaker, Berman and his paid economists were able to make the same case to Congress. Gingrich also used course material that Berman provided on one of his biggest clients: restaurant mogul Norman Brinker, who founded the Steak & Ale and Chilis chains. As first reported by National Public Radio, Gingrich ran a ridiculously flattering video about Brinker in his course. “Whether it’s his beloved game of polo or his magical success in business, Norman Brinker simply does not know how to lose,” an announcer gushes. Another Brinker enthusiast is shown calling him “a living legend.”

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WE CAME UP SHORT.

We just wrapped up a shorter-than-normal, urgent-as-ever fundraising drive and we came up about $45,000 short of our $300,000 goal.

That means we're going to have upwards of $350,000, maybe more, to raise in online donations between now and June 30, when our fiscal year ends and we have to get to break-even. And even though there's zero cushion to miss the mark, we won't be all that in your face about our fundraising again until June.

So we urgently need this specific ask, what you're reading right now, to start bringing in more donations than it ever has. The reality, for these next few months and next few years, is that we have to start finding ways to grow our online supporter base in a big way—and we're optimistic we can keep making real headway by being real with you about this.

Because the bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we hope you might consider pitching in before moving on to whatever it is you're about to do next. We really need to see if we'll be able to raise more with this real estate on a daily basis than we have been, so we're hoping to see a promising start.

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