"Six of one, Seven of Nine of the other"

Former Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan is offering refunds to donors following last week's collapse of his campaign amid embarrassing sex allegations.
Ryan had raised about $1.5 million since winning the Republican nomination, said Jason Miller, who managed Ryan's campaign. Miller said the campaign expects about half of the donors to request refunds.
Ryan, a 44-year-old investment banker turned teacher, saw his once promising candidacy torpedoed last week after a California judge opened records from his 1999 divorce from television actress Jeri Lynn Ryan. In them, Jeri Ryan contended her ex-husband took her to sex clubs and tried to pressure her to perform sex acts in front of others.
– Associated Press, June 30, 2004

Valued friends and supporters:

As you may have heard, I have withdrawn from the race to represent our fair state of Illinois in the United States Senate. Recent allegations about the circumstances of my divorce have put this campaign under a dark cloud that is unlikely to blow away as long as I remain a candidate. And as sad as I am about abandoning a fight I know we had a good chance of winning, I cannot in good conscience subject the voters to any more of the media's scurrilous mud-wrestling.

I'm sorry, mud-slinging.

What matters most to me right now, though, is honoring the good faith you have shown by contributing your hard-earned dollars to our cause. I haven't been a perfect husband, but I intend to be a perfect ex-candidate. And the best way I can do that is to make full, honest restitution with every one of you. Regrettably, I cannot offer literal, dollar-for-dollar remuneration: To employ the vernacular, $1.5 million is a lot of scratch. Most of it has already gone to folks who don't keep the best financial records. Focus testers. Bumper-sticker manufacturers. Hired goons. You know how politics is. But what I can do is provide you with a package of goods and services that's worth easily as much as your generous contribution. (Maybe more!)

Here are the exact rewards you will receive, based upon the dollar level of your donorship.

Pioneer Level: You folks were the cornerstone of the campaign, giving us the "juice" we needed to take on the Washington fat cats when nobody else thought we had a chance. As such, you're entitled to the very best I have to offer. At a time to be mutually agreed upon, I will fly you and a guest to Paris, New York or New Orleans and put you up in one of that city's five-star luxury hotels. You'll enjoy three days of fine dining, shopping and seeing the sights of one of the most exotic travel destinations on Earth.

As a capper, on the final night, you will be granted admission to a top sex club, where you will watch as my ex-wife and I perform an act of Eros for the pleasure of our fellow patrons.

Don't be concerned that my divorce makes this scenario unlikely. Jeri and I maintain a warm friendship, mostly for the good of our 9-year-old son. And after all you've done for the campaign, it's obvious to me that you, too, should be considered family. Neither should you let anything you may have read in the papers convince you that Jeri may opt out of her agreed-upon duties. That "shocked and revolted" thing is just a front we're putting on to protect her public image. Take my word for it, the woman is a straight-up freak. And I've got the pictures to prove it. Speaking of which ...

Patriot Level: Even though you couldn't afford to be a Pioneer, you still gave until it hurt. And hurting is what you'll do when you see the priceless treasure that's winging your way: a 45-minute VHS tape shot on our honeymoon, showing the consummation of our love from an infinitely revealing angle and in a tasteful shade of Paris Hilton green. If VHS is too primitive for your 21st-century tastes, I'll be happy to transfer the flick to DVD, provided you supply me with the name and address of a discreet dubbing house. I asked Dennis Hastert for a referral, but all I got was a very funny look. (Note to our more "experimental" Patriots: I also have delivery-room footage of the birth of our kid, if that's what you're into. Let's talk.)

Tireless Public-Servant Level: You were kind enough to tithe a portion of the meager salary that you earn doing a hard day's work for an honest day's pay. Wait a minute ... are you sure you're not a Democrat? (Ha, ha. I kid.) In recognition of your latest and greatest sacrifice, you'll be receiving a personalized phone call from the cast of Boston Public – and that includes Jeri, of course, reading breathily to you from the script of an unfilmed BP episode, followed by a random five pages of the Kama Sutra. After that once-in-a-lifetime treat, ear time with the rest of the cast may seem extraneous. But only if you've never heard Fyvush Finkel pronounce the words "butt plug."

Borg Level: Hey, you kicked in a buck or two when you didn't have to. So you're entitled to an 8-by-10 glossy of Jeri in costume as Seven of Nine, plus a box of Puffs. Don't forget to lock the door, Diamond Jim.

Vast Right-Wing Conspirator Level: If you merited this designation, you did more for our cause than money could ever measure. Maybe you helped spread outrageous, unfounded lies about my opponents. Perhaps you stole their campaign signs from supporters' lawns in the middle of the night. Or you might have simply Photoshopped their likenesses into a Fidel Castro family portrait and e-mailed the result to Matt Drudge. Whatever form your efforts took, you're going to get the reward you so richly deserve: Ten sessions with a licensed psychotherapist, who'll help you figure out why us good guys just can't seem to catch a break these days. While he's at it, he'll give you the tools you need to answer the second most confounding mystery of our time: What kind of asswipe would need outside stimulation when he's already married to Jeri Ryan?

Please contact my office immediately to arrange delivery of your reimbursement package.


Jack Ryan
Ex-candidate and enigma

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