Are Republican Operatives Trying to Hijack a Healthcare Reform Town Hall in the 909?

Update: Some research revealed that the group that sent out this email without the Congressman’s knowledge is campaignsecrets.com. From their web site:

“CampaignSecrets.com was founded in 2001 by a team of seasoned campaign professionals dedicated to providing professional campaign solutions to local Republican campaigns. By combining cutting-edge technology with proven campaign strategies, CampaignSecrets.com’s toolset provides everything a Republican candidates needs to stay a step ahead on the campaign trail. Serving more than 1,800 campaigns in 2002 alone, CampaignSecrets.com is widely-recognized as America’s leading company focused exclusively on electing Republicans to local office.”

We’re looking at campaign finance reports to see if Congressman Lewis has ever done business with these folks.

Update 2:Here is some more info.

Through checking whois.com, campaignsecrets.com is registered by Montoni Communications. The owner of Montoni Communications appears to be GOP operative and “communications expert” Mark Montoni.

We received an email that appeared to be sent by Congressman Jerry Lewis, a Republican in CD-41 (the San Bernardino area), and it didn’t *sound* right.

Here’s what the email said:

jerrylewis@congress.com wrote:

I am trying to host a Republican only “town hall” summit on healthcare for my Republican fans only.

  • Do you think Obamacare will kill seniors?
  • Do you think there are no problems with your healthcare?
  • Do you think to bad if you are uninsured?
  • Do you think that birthers are right?

If you answered Yes! Then I want you to come!

Thursday evening at the University of Redlands’ Orton Center.  I urge people to articulate how they feel about the health care debate and what they want out of the health care system. For more information do call my office at (909) 862-6030 or 1-800-233-1700 (within California)

You won’t see this event listed on my website http://www.house.gov/jerrylewis/

There’s a problem with this email: it didn’t come from the Congressman.

More after the jump.

We called Rep. Lewis’s Washington office this morning; they confirmed the Congressman has been invited to be a guest at a Healthcare Reform Town Hall at the University of Redlands, but emphasized very strongly that the Town Hall was open to everyone and they said the email was not generated by Congressman Lewis.

Here’s the press release from the Congressman’s office:

Congressman Lewis to Meet With Constituents to Discuss Health Care Legislation

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jerry Lewis has accepted an invitation from local groups in Redlands and Yucaipa to attend a town hall meeting this Thursday on health care.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. August 13 at the Orton Center at the University of Redlands. It is being organized by the Yucaipa-Redlands Tea Party group.

“I am grateful to these groups for giving me a chance to meet with my constituents and discuss the most hotly-debated issue facing Congress at this time,” Lewis said. “I am looking forward to hearing the concerns and hopes of the people in San Bernardino and Riverside counties with regards to Congress’s moves to change the national health care system.”

Lewis has already held two telephone town hall sessions on the subject since Congress recessed August 1, speaking to nearly 20,000 constituents who were on the line for at least a portion of the calls. Further listening sessions are being planned for later in the summer.

“It is vital that the American people be able to tell their members of Congress how they feel about the health care debate, and what they want out of our health care system,” Lewis said. “I am glad that we are still in the process of putting together health care legislation, so American’s voices can be heard.”

More information on the town hall to be held Thursday is available at the group’s website: www.redlandsteaparty.com.

I’m just a little bothered that the Congressman is lending such legitimacy to a Tea Party group considering most Americans got a federal tax cut this year, someone that Lewis’s spokesman disagreed with.

But that said, if you got an email from Jerry Lewis about making this a Republican-only event, well, the email isn’t from the Congressman but is likely from the GOP operatives doing their best to hijack the debate on healthcare reform. Doing nothing actually costs us more.

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