Democratic National Chairman Chuck Manatt was only too happy to help this be an open administration by sharing with reporters in Los Angeles the breathless letter he found in his mailbox at home from Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.), on the letterhead of the Republican Presidential Task Force, a fund-raising adjunct of the GOP Senatorial Campaign Committee Packwood heads.
Manatt thought it was a remarkable money pitch. "Forgive me for saying this," Packwood wrote, "but you're causing the president grave concern. Why hasn't President Reagan heard from you? Why haven't you joined him in the Republican Presidential Task Force? I can't believe you don't want to wear the President's Medal of Merit . . . . I can't believe you wouldn't be proud to fly the full-size American flag dedicated by ceremony in the rotunda of our nation's Capitol building . . . . to show your friends and neighbors you belong to our president's own Task Force . . . .
"What shall I tell our president?" Packwood wrote. "Because he's personally asked me to find out why you're holding back." Then came the pitch for a $120 contribution, $10 a month, 33 cents a day. "That's all he asks of you. And what else can you get for 33 cents? . . . So what shall I tell our president?"
Tell him, Manatt suggested, that I haven't had time to reply because I've been too busy working with you, Sen. Packwood, to defeat his AWACS package. Lyn Nofziger, the president's political director, also told the senatorial committee to knock it off, and described it as "about the limit of fund-raising letter hyperbole."