The American Association for Justice has just sent out a mass e-mail soliciting funds from its membership above and beyond the usual dues. The subject line: "We Need You to Fight and Protect Patients!" The message is also online:
Dear AAJ Members:
AAJ is working hard to protect patients by fighting against tort reform, and we need all of our members enlisted in this battle in order to ensure a victory. The stakes are high and the opposition is well organized, but we will succeed because we are on the right side of this issue.
I want you to read the Dow Jones Newswire article at the bottom of this email. It illustrates fully what we are up against. This is not a fire drill.
Our Communications Department has been extremely successful in getting our message to the media. You will be encouraged to see the attached press clips that we have earned.
How you can help:
Make a Contribution
A contribution to the Protecting Patients Rights Campaign is an investment in your practice and in your clients' future. All the money raised for this campaign will go directly towards educating lawmakers about the dangers of medical malpractice reform, and towards debunking the myths spewed by the other side. We can win, but we need your help today to make a difference in this fight. We need your help today to make a difference in this fight. Please make a contribution via the attached form.
Write to Congress and Encourage Clients to do the Same
Goodness knows this is standard operating procedure for a trade association, using a hot topic to supplement its income (although we've never seen it before coming from the AAJ). To anybody other than its membership, it would be a tough sell: Send lawyers your money so we can sue doctors! In any case, AAJ thought a euphemistic campaign title was called for.
If you click through to the contribution form, you'll see that the donations are not tax deductible; asking for non-tax deductible contributions for "educating lawmakers" equals "lobbying." The AAJ must think the issue has legs. Or, their allies in Congress have asked for help to fight back against the rising public demand for tort reform.
Or perhaps President Obama's mention of tort reform in his health care speech just presented a good opportunity. Money is fungible, you know.