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National Leadership Award?


February 7, 2007 by Ryan Joy

I received a voicemail this morning at my work phone number from a Bill Barkus claiming to work for Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) and the National Republican Congressional Committee. According to the message, the RNCC wants to recognize me with their “national leadership award”. Of course I’m immediately skeptical as I consider:

a.) why would a Rep. from Oklahoma want to recognize me as a national leader?
b.) why would the RNCC want to recognize a Democrat?
c.) how did they get my work number?

I thought surely that someone had nominated me as a joke.

However, I needed some answers so I searched on the Internet for “Tom Cole leadership awards“. Lo and behold the first site that came up was another blog about these so-called ‘leadership awards’ and I learned that many, many people had been called. You can read all about it here.

Apparently they ask permission to use your name in a full-page ad they’re taking out to “support further tax cuts and to defeat the Democrats in the upcoming elections” and they also ask that you donate a few hundred dollars to help out with the “media blitz”. I’m assuming that their goals have changed since the Republican defeat in November. Then again, maybe not. They may just be that out of touch.

The common link seems to be registered business owners, but it’s still odd that I was called on my work number. My DBA doesn’t list my work number. The other commonality seems to be that we’re all Democrats (or at least vote that way), but I don’t believe that can be substantiated. Perhaps it’s just Democrats who were skeptical enough to research it further on the Internet.

I haven’t called the number back yet, but I think I might tomorrow sometime just to have a little fun. I did, however, put a call into MY Congressman, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) to inform his office of this scam on the part of the RNCC in case they were not aware. I’m hoping that someone will introduce a symbolic resolution demanding that the RNCC stop harassing and trying to dupe voters across the country. That should embarrass Mr. Cole, Mr. Reynolds, and the already disgraced Mr. Delay.

Update: (03/16/2007): I just received another phone call from Mr. Tom Cole’s office. This time the caller identified herself as Amanda Peyton on my voicemail, but gave the same spiel. They should google their name and their award. They’d see that I come up first.

Update: (04/27/2007): Congratulations to this guy. It’s a real honor to be considered for this award and not just some money-making scam that casts a wide net.

Update: (05/02/2007): These guys are UNBELIEVABLE! I just got another voicemail, this time from a Douglas Wilson with the Business Advisory Council telling me that Congressman Cole would like to invite me to dinner with President Bush on June 13th. This time I was instructed to call 888-383-8065, so it looks like they’re changing up a little bit.

Update: (05/11/2007): It will never end. I returned from lunch just now to find yet ANOTHER voicemail from Jacqueline Grupe (sp?), my contact at the Business Advisory Council. I was asked to call the same 888-383-8065 number as before and to do it with urgency to be able to have dinner with President Bush. Tom Cole must really, really want me to join them for dinner.

  • Geri M

    This is retarded! I got a call from a “Betty Lake”. I was thinking, “WTF!” What would they want with a World of Warcraft gamer! Seriously!

  • Nichole

    I just received a call for my husband for this same scam. It was from a Kenny Richman & said that Tom Cole wanted to invite my husband for dinner with the President on June 13th. He also gave 888-383-8065 as the call back number.

    You would think people would have better things to do with their time.

  • JL FLores

    I just got a call from “my contact, Jason Cohn (con?) with the Business Advisory Council” leaving a 1-888-383-8065 # for me to call back regarding Congressmand Tom Cole inviting me to Pres Bush’s dinner on June 13th. What?!?! So I googled it and found you guys. Anybody report this to Cong Tom Cole’s office?

  • Yet another person who got the call today. Dinner with the president, Tom Cole, from my “contact” Susan Bates, 888-383-8065. What an honor! Let me check my schdule… June 13th – shoot, I’m hosting an impeach Bush dinner. Maybe I can shift a few things…

    P.S. I recently signed up for a federal contractor database – I suspect they harvested it.

  • K. Burr

    OK~Just received a ONCE IN A LIFETIME OFFER I can absolutely refuse!!! I myself got the gracious phone call from the WONDERFUL Betty Lake!! Anyone recognize this one?? Well got to lookin’ at the names and found they were all odd!?!? Who the hell named their child Susan Bates(Hotel Heir related?), Betty Lake(Pinup?), Jason Cohn(Director?), Bonita Hagar(Comic strip or Rock star??) Anyone catch the similarities?? Such comedy ~ did not know a scam could be so fun!!!!

  • Rachel

    Hi – My husband got the call. Looked up the telemarketing company, Infocision……..( – – I called and asked to be put on their Do Not Call list. Hopefully they will scrub my number off their database and the calls from Infocision will stop.

  • William Rogers

    I’m a behavioral neuroscientist involved in an ongoing quantifiable research investigation pertaining to the current administration. All of our staff received similar calls from one Michelle Gorman inviting us to meet with President Bush. We called back and have been asked to interact either in Oklahoma or DC. We do have questions relating to our study of “why certain humans behave in the manner and fashion that they do”. We will follow through and see what happens.

  • This seems as if it might be interesting. We will contact several of the participants to see if there is something worth exposing.

  • Dee Greenberg

    I got a call today from Wilma Stevens (05/18/07)
    from the Business Advisory Council. She told me I was invited to dinner with George Bush (Ha!) and to please call her back at this number as soon as I get the message: 888-383-8065. I own a very small start up business venture and am a registered business owner as well as a registered Democrat. I did not for one minute fall for this hype — yeah like George Bush really gives a crap about me . . . .

    Glad I found this site! 😉

  • G~

    WOW – I just got the call from Bonita! This sounds fantastic! It will be an honor to have dinner with all of you .. : )

  • Barbara S

    Got the same call this AM. I’m fairly sure Pres. Bush does not want to be in the same room with me (I have a daughter in the military)….so glad I checked the web and found this before I called back. thanks for all the useful information.

  • T

    My husband and I are small business owners in Texas (We recenlty reloactaed from arizona to tx) and got a call this morning from a Debra Cambell with Congressman Senator Tom Cole advising me to call this number 888-383-8065. They would like for my husband to have lunch with President Bush on June 13… Of coarse not calling the number I immedieatly felt a scam and googled the number, and ran into this. Felt that I should leave my feedback.
    I have no idea how they got our unlisted number, cause our business just opened up within the last couple of weeks in this state.
    Anyhow, I’m not forking any money over >

  • I thought I would add a note as I too recieved a call to go to dinner with Congressman Tomco and President Bush. I am a legal alien here in the US. I am from the UK and run a small (just me) computer repair company in San Diego. The funny thing is I can’t vote anyway, so maybe I should go for the free food. Oh, I guess nothing is free right!!

  • Jim

    Yes, I received 2 calls recently from the same. Both were stating that Pres Bush wanted to have dinner with me (Well, just come on over to my place, I will throw some pig on the grill)

    Anyway, didn’t call back and the number they called was actually a co-owner of a business I closed 2 years ago, but they asked for me!

    You should say, yes I would love to get a picture and love to go…and $500, sorry, I checked the box on my tax return to donate to the Presidential Campaign and that is the bulk of my political contributions for the year.

  • dave wendel

    Same call, twice. I wish that there was a way to take legal action.

  • call from Ashley Fritz

    I received one today saying “Hello, this message is for Mrs………. , My name is Ashley Fritz, I’m your contact with the Business Advisory Council. Congressman Tom Cole would like to invite you to dinner with President Bush on June 13th. Please call me as soon as you get this message at 1-888-383-8065.Thank you”. Thank you for having this post!

  • marc

    i too received htis call
    my soin don’rt want to have lunch with president Bush…You hate hime,
    i said your right I would NEVER want to have lunch with him
    my son is so clever he is only 9

  • marc

    sorry wasnt able to edit last comment

  • marc

    re: president Bush
    i told my son, who was 6 at the time, we were going to washington DC and he said i dont want to go
    i might see president Bush..
    I said well if you dont have anything nice to say yhen dont say anything although if he said something mean I wouldnt stop him

  • Brandie

    I received the following VM this morning:

    Hi this message is for Miss Brandie, my name is Barb Wells, and I’m your contact with the business advisory council. Congressman Tom Kohl would like to invite you to dinner with President Bush on June 13th. Please call me as soon as you get this message at 1-888-383-8065. I have not returned the call, but I do see the agenda on the Business Advisory Council. I see from above posts, it’s not cheap to go!

  • Martin Hanson

    Ditto for me on 05/30/07 like this:

    Hi this message is for (insert my name), my name is Charles Perry, and I’m your contact with the business advisory council. Congressman Tom Kohl would like to invite you to dinner with President Bush on June 13th. Please call me as soon as you get this message at 1-888-383-8065.

    It doesn’t sound like a recording, call was to my work number (I’m not in accouting or finance), and the last sentence conveys some urgency.

    I didn’t call it, waiting until I got home today and could check it out a little–was going to have my secretary call it.

    I’m not that well connected to be invited to a presidential dinner.

  • Danielle

    I have also been receiving these calls for several months – on my home AND work number, both directed to my name. I am getting really PO’d with them – they are nothing more than phone spam.

    I found this blog because today the message left a return phone number 1-888-383-8065 which I decided to google to see what the number was. I see I am not alone in being harrassed.

  • Joe

    I just thought of a response to their request for donations while I was reading all your comments: “No, I will not contribute, I am already contributing at the gas pump!”
    If the republicans want to stay in power they had better fix this one.

    Joe :o)

  • Alex

    Just got the call! Wow! Let’s get these crooks!

    Actually the odds are it has NOTHING to do with Tom Cole, or any party, that it is actually an “honest to goodness” SCAM/FRAUD by a totally unrelated group, using the guise of political fundraising to keep everyone from reporting it to the FTC..The people steal your money and run.

    (Ftc claims that fundraising is allowed, but if this isn’t really fundraising, then it’s a felony on multiple levels)

    Think about it, if that nice convenient 888 number isn’t Tom Cole, then these people could be in for some serious charges, including fraud, telemarketing, impersonating a government official, identity theft…

    Everyone take the time to officially REPORT THIS! To both the FTC and to Tom Cole! You can bet something will be done.

    ( works, and google Tom Cole’s Congressional page, not his campaign pages, obviously don’t call the number from the scam)

    Most imporatantly report the Number. Everything else is likely a Lie, but high ranking gov officials should be able to trace the number. File an official FTC Fraud complaint (it’s a pain, but if we all do it something should get done about this).

    Also you can register for the ftc no-call-list, 30 days later report JUST the number (because we really don’t know who is calling)

    Really, lets act like the “Business Advisory Chairs” that we are and get these people either put away, or exposed.

  • Yup, they’re still going at it. I got back from vacation today and heard this spiel from a woman claiming to be “Samantha Benniger.”

    I just formed a new business in April… more confirmation that that’s where they’re pulling our names from.

  • Brandon

    Same deal with me. This time they claim you’re wanted for a business council. I called Tom Cole’s offices in D.C. to see if they’ve made an official press release about this scam and was referred to the National Republican Congressional Committee at 877-565-1309 (I got a voice mail though). I’d asked the woman at Cole’s D.C. office if they’d received other calls regarding this matter and she said “..Quite a few.”

  • Brandon

    Just found this link when I googled the last phone number I mentioned.

  • elizabeth

    I have received a call from Rep. Tom Cole’s office and the Business Advisory Council on about five different occasions so far, and the calls have encompassed everything mentioned on this page so far. I think it is annoying that they keep calling me!

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  • Dustin

    It just so happens that I work for this company …and while some information is excluded in the initial call (that’s just part of marketing) the president’s dinner is absolutely real …for those of you calling this a “scam” …looks like you so called “business people” better do a little more research

    Yes, there are people who want to go to this dinner, there are people who have even attended this dinner repeatedly …when we call your business we are “prospecting”, and again…any so called “business person” should know what that means, and thusly your apathetic refusal to call back only prompts us to call you again. A good salesman never gives up.

    The president’s dinner…of course it isn’t free, are you kidding me, hundreds of people taken to DC on the NRCC’s funding?! How would that be good fundraising, which is exactly what the president’s dinner is…any half educated “business person” as you all like to be called should know that.

  • Dustin

    You want good word of mouth, concerned the least bit about your “business” image, then be courteous to anyone who places a call to your “business” telemarketer or otherwise..

  • Dave F

    The virus is morphing….

    …the award that is dangled is now something called a Congressional Leadership Medal. If Tom Cole wants to raise funds, or invite someone to a dinner that they have to pay for, that’s fine. Don’t blow smoke up my keister by telling me I’ve won an award, and as a business person, don’t waste my time with this crap. It’s insulting. I’m contributing the $500 to anyone who will run against this a-hole