Obama's $750 Million Juggernaut
As it turned out, the mailing not only paid for itself, but brought in thousands of dollars over its actual cost. Sidney Weinberg then declared that this raised a moral issue. We had asked for contributions to help elect Eisenhower. Now he was elected, and we had money left over. Therefore we were obligated to refund the excess contributions.
For some time after the election, therefore, Sidney's staff was busy figuring out a pro rata refund on every contribution, and making out thousands of refund checks which were sent to our innumerable small contributors. Everyone got a refund, even if it was a check for only 69 cents!
The 1956 and 1960 Campaigns
This isn't the end of the story, however. Years later, when I came back to working for the Republican Party after a considerable absence, the Party was still getting contributions from those original 1952 contributors! And this was a "secret weapon" which the Republicans had in subsequent elections that the Democrats didn't possess.
The names of our 1952 Citizens for Eisenhower-Nixon contributors were put in a "bank" for future use. In 1956, when Eisenhower and Nixon ran again, we wrote to these same people and asked for additional contributions, and they gave generously.
The contributions were small, and the contributors were certainly not "fat cats." On the contrary, they reminded me of the slogan that is posted in the children's zoo in the Bronx, over the guinea pig colony, "We are small, but we are many."
Together, these small contributors represented a very important part of the Republican fund raising in 1956.
Again in 1960, Spencer Olin, who was then the Finance Chairman of the Republican Party, turned to direct mail to solve his party's financial problems. In the spring of 1960, the party was almost literally broke.