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Time to Put H&R Block on Notice
Tax Service Company Caves-in to Anti-Gun-Rights Extremists

by Sean Oberle

March 13, 2002

Wide distribution permitted and encouraged.

This is not about the NRA. Even if you are one of those gun-rights activists who dislike the NRA, believing them to be too compromising, you need to take action on this.

This about businesses caving in to the political agenda of the anti-gun zealots at the Brady Campaign, Gun Industry Watch and others. 

If we let this stand unpunished, more businesses will bow to the extremists.

The facts: H&R Block had an agreement with an organization called Memberdrive. Memberdrive made an agreement with the NRA by which the NRA got a royalty for each member who used H&R Block. The anti-gun-rights extremists threatened protests this Saturday in numerous cities. H&R Block caved, severing the deal.

See the joint Brady Campaign, Gun Industry Watch press release about the cave-in here. See the H&R Block letter announcing the cave-in to Brady here.

Action step 1: Sign the online petition I have created at

Action step 2: Write a letter to Linda McDougall, H&R Block V.P. of Communications (who wrote to Brady about the cave-in), telling her that H&R Block has lost your business. Fax or snail mail this to her – email gets ignored, but paper doesn’t, so if you email her, send paper too. A phone call wouldn’t hurt either. (My letter to Ms. McDougall is below.)

Whatever you do: keep it polite but firm, clean but frank.

Linda McDougall
V.P. Communications
H&R Block
4400 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone: 816-932-7542
Fax: 816-753-8628

Action step 3: Go to your yellow pages. Call your local H&R Block branch and explain that you will not give it business because of this decision by headquarters.

Action step 4: A) If H&R Block already is doing your taxes – especially if you gave it business because of this deal – stop the process. Explain to your representative that you have decided to take your business elsewhere because of H&R Block’s decision. B) If you already have paid for these services, demand a refund – after all, now that H&R Block has changed the situation, you turned over your money under false pretenses.

Sean Oberle is a Featured Writer and gun control analyst for He can be reached at View other articles from him at

* * * *

Dear Ms. McDougall

I find it ironic that in your March 8 letter to the Brady Center, you claim that you are attempting to remove H&R Block from a political debate. By severing ties with Memberdrive to avoid scattered protests this Saturday, H&R Block has increased the politics of this situation. The Brady Campaign and Gun Industry Watch yesterday began touting your letter on their websites as a political victory – they are using you. You have done nothing but increase your status as their political pawn.

I find it appalling that H&R Block is severing this deal about a month before tax day. 

Fact: Many NRA members chose to use your company this year solely because of this agreement. While no one can know the exact number, with 4 million NRA members (plus millions of non-member supporters), the number of people using your services because of the agreement is large, perhaps tens of thousands or more.

H&R Block has violated their trust, and in doing so deserves no more business. Frankly, these people either deserve a full refund now that H&R Block has taken their money under what has turned out to be false pretenses or H&R Block should see to it that the PROMISED contributions (or royalties or whatever you want to call them) to the NRA occur.

H&R Block will suffer hard economic injury because of this. That is not an idle threat – just ask the executives at Kmart. That company’s recent bankruptcy was attributed in part to a gun-rights boycott because of the store’s association with Rosie O’Donnell, who is an anti-gun rights extremist, as well as other anti-gun activity by the store chain.

Just ask Ace Hardware, Citibank, Dell Computers and Jeep, all of whom have been the targets of gun-rights wrath in the past year. Indeed, Ms. McDougall, even firearm manufactures are not immune to severe economic injury when they get on the wrong side of the gun-rights grassroots. Please, call the executives at Smith & Wesson and ask them about business.

I am truly sorry that H&R Block will suffer economic injury because of this. Beyond its recent mistake in handing the anti-gun extremists a political tool, I have respect for the company.


Sean Oberle


Printer Version

As an individual, I believe, very strongly, that handguns should be banned and that there should be stringent, effective control of other firearms. However, as a judge, I know full well that the question of whether handguns can be sold is a political one, not an issue of products liability law, and that this is a matter for the legislatures, not the courts. The unconventional theories advanced in this case (and others) are totally without merit, a misuse of products liability laws. — Judge Buchmeyer, Patterson v. Gesellschaft, 1206 F.Supp. 1206, 1216 (N.D. Tex. 1985)

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