For Immediate Release March 29, 1999

For More Information Contact: Amy Pennington or Brett Feinstein, (888) 865-2729

"THE NUMBER YOU HAVE DIALED IS NOT IN SERVICE…"

U.S. Attorney Dowd shuts down taxpayer-paid anti-Prop B 800 number

COLUMBIA—The toll-free number paid for by the federal government and used to provide information and materials against Proposition B, has been shut down, apparently due to pressure brought by thousands of outraged Missouri taxpayers.

U.S. Attorney Edward L. Dowd, Jr., promoted the toll-free number in a letter sent out on official office stationery. The letter stated that if the reader wanted materials to distribute in opposition to Proposition B to call a toll free number. When the number was active, it was answered "U.S. Attorney’s office."

It appears that the letterhead, envelopes and postage to mail the letter were paid for with federal tax dollars. The phone line and toll charges were also paid for with tax dollars and the phone number was answered by federal employees.

Brett Feinstein, spokesperson for Missourians Against Crime, noted that Missouri taxpayers were very upset about the use of tax dollars to influence a Missouri election. Missourians Against Crime is the group leading the campaign to pass Proposition B.

"Missouri taxpayers are outraged that Ed Dowd would use their tax money to campaign against a state ballot issue," said Feinstein. "Evidently, Dowd got the message and pulled the plug on his outrageous taxpayer-funded anti-Prop B hot-line."

A call to the toll free number on both Friday and today received a phone company generated message saying that the number was no longer in service. The number had been active since at least March 10, the date on the announcement letter from Dowd’s office.

Missourians Against Crime was called by hundreds of people who complained that tax money was being used for a political campaign. Many callers asked what they could do to end the use of their tax dollars for this purpose.

"We have received calls from a number of individuals, including people opposed to Prop B, who were very upset that Mr. Dowd was using federal tax money to interfere with a Missouri ballot issue," Feinstein stated. "Many of those people also called Mr. Dowd’s office and complained. The people were heard and the number was shut off."

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