The temperature in Des Moines on January 8, 2004 was 29 degrees F but conditions between the campaigns were growing ever more heated as this exchange of letters illustrates:

Letter from Steve Murphy to Joe Trippi on Integrity of Caucus System
January 8, 2004

Dear Joe,

We have been friends a long time and it is with a heavy heart that I write this letter.

In the past several weeks, it has come to our attention that your campaign in Iowa is engaged in an effort to violate caucus rules and send out-of-state supporters to pose as Iowa residents and caucus in cities and towns across the state.

First reported in Newsweek (November 22, 2003; enclosed), one of your staff members has contacted us to confess that efforts to send non-Iowans to caucus is indeed a critical piece of your "perfect storm" strategy.  Despite your campaign's claim in the Newsweek story that action taken to organize out of state voters were those of a single "kid from Burlington," we have learned that the problem is much deeper than that.

An op-ed in yesterday's New York Times (January 7, 2003; enclosed) correctly points out that one doesn't need "a valid voter registration card or proof of residency - any identification at all - to take part in Iowa's caucuses.

I don't need to tell you that not only would such an effort undermine the Iowa Caucus on January 19th, but it would tarnish the reputation of this unique political event and threaten the future of something that Democrats such as us love and cherish.

The necessary course of action for your campaign is clear. You must identify those in your campaign involved with this illegal endeavor and fire the individual or individuals organizing this effort within your campaign.

Such an action on your part is not only the best way to ensure the integrity of the Iowa Caucuses now and in the future, but it would avoid any questions being raised about Howard Dean's vote tally on January 19.

Knowing you and the Governor as I do, I know you'll do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Steve Murphy, Campaign Manager
Gephardt for President
 
 

Dean for America:  Letter from Joe Trippi to Steve Murphy
January 8, 2004

Dear Steve Murphy,

I am saddened by your letter today because sleazy tactics like yours are exactly the reason that people have stopped participating in the political process.

Let me be clear, your allegation is ridiculous.  The 3,500 volunteers who have pledged to come to Iowa by caucus time are people who believe in a better America and a stronger democracy.  Many are first time voters who have chosen to reengage in the political process because they understand that government has stopped working for the people.  They know that Howard Dean is a different type of politician, and if we asked them to participate in the activities you allege, they would get in their cars and drive home.

We understand that the grassroots enthusiasm this campaign has generated and the over 3,500 volunteers who are canvassing in Iowa this month is threatening to Dick Gephardt.  But that is no excuse for you to try to make Iowans question the motives of these idealistic Americans who are paying their own way to Iowa to canvass.  In doing so, you are practicing precisely the type of politics that these volunteers are dedicating their time and effort to stopping.

People are tired of this type of campaigning, which is why we've been energizing voters across the country with our message of hope and of a better democracy.  As Governor Dean often says, it's not enough for us to change presidents we need to change the way politics work.

Frankly, Steve, baseless political allegations like the one in your letter lead me to believe more and more that your campaign is not the one to make this change.

These allegations are not just an insult to Howard Dean and me, but they are an insult to all of the new people we're bringing into the process.  Instead of these despicable and desperate attacks, you should start running the kind of campaign that inspires and energizes thousands of new voters so much that they want to come to Iowa and campaign for your candidate!

I assure you these allegations are false, and if my word is not good enough for you and Dick Gephardt, for whom I served in 1988 as deputy campaign manager, then it is with a particularly heavy heart that I send this letter.

Sincerely,

Joe Trippi

campaign manager
 
 

Letter from Kerry Campaign Iowa Director John Norris
January 8, 2004
 

Jeanni Murray
State Director
Dean Campaign
1408 Locust Street
Des Moines, Iowa  50309

Dear Jeanni,

Iím distressed to learn that staffers from the Dean campaign are misrepresenting themselves as Iowa caucus-goers to gain advantage against our campaign.  You should know this is not how we campaign in Iowa, and I demand that you take action to remove these staffers from the Dean campaign immediately.

Today, your National Campaign Manager, Joe Trippi was on CNN stating that people from outside Iowa were coming to the state to help Dean, and they never would lie in order impact the outcome of the caucus.  If your hired staff are already misrepresenting themselves today in communities like Creston, how can any Iowa voter trust that your campaign will prevent volunteers from engaging in the same illegitimate activity on January 19th.

 The Iowa Democratic Party has fought for decades to preserve the honesty and purity of the grassroots caucus system.  Today's revelations jeopardize that hard work, and no Iowa Democrat should stand for it.

On Tuesday, a young man came into our Creston office and said he was a resident of Red Oak, Iowa.   He claimed he was in town for business, working at a local farm.  He asked numerous questions about what our staff did, the territory they covered, and what type of folks we were calling in Creston.   Our staff was immediately suspicious.

The next day, a different young man came into the office and identified himself as Mark Evans.  He said that he was the new manager at the local HYVEE, and that he and his wife just moved from Georgia.  He started asking questions about our operation and began snooping around the office.  Our staffers were confident they had seen him wearing a Dean sticker around town, so they asked him why he had come into the office. He said that he was an undecided Iowa caucus-goer, and was interested in politics.

Today, this second man, "Mark Evans," returned to the Creston office and admitted that he and his friend had lied, and that they were employed by your campaign.  He identified himself as Mitch Lawson, who moved here from Georgia to work for Dean.  According to Mitch, "We came into your office to find out information and get your calling scripts from you."

In order for Iowans to trust that the caucuses will be free of further dirty tricks, these two men should be asked to leave your campaign immediately. The sanctity of the Iowa Caucus depends on it.  If your folks are lying today, what's to stop them from stealing the caucus from Iowa voters for Howard Dean on January 19th.

Sincerely,
 

John Norris