Bob Novak and the Horse’s Mouth

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Bob Novak, the columnist affectionately known among Washington journalists as the prince of darkness and author of the Valerie Plame scoop, hosts an Off The Record luncheon from time to time with high officials, such luminaries as Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Al Gore, Bill Frist and so on. You might think these people are inaccessible, but for Novak they talk, answering questions, participating in the conversation. For a moment, however brief, you are on the inside track.

But, like all good things, there is a hitch. Novak only takes 70 people into his off the record briefings so there is a real scramble to get a seat. To obtain a seat at his April 26 lunch costs $595. (You can bring guests for $395 per person.) The affair is sponsored by the conservative paper Human Events.

The result: “I was able to get the straight scoop on the economic forecast,” says Fred Jones, former president of Citicorp, in one blurb. “With that guidance, I was able to make the correct business decisions in the following months — saving my company millions.”

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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