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Describing it as a pernicious rumor that presidential Democratic candidates have eagerly gobbled up and run with on the campaign trail, the Republican National Committee denies outsourcing fund-raising to Indian call centers.

WorldNetDaily cited a report by the New Delhi-based Business Standard that a team of at least 75 people were slated to man the phones in call centers set up in Noida and Gurgaon, India, as part of a
fund-raising blitz.

The business journal said operators, hired by HCL eServe, a U.S. subsidiary of HCL Technologies, would be required to telephone people in the United States and solicit their support for President George W. Bush and a donation for the Republican cause.

“It’s plain not true,” RNC spokeswoman Christine Iverson told WorldNetDaily. “It’s not us.”

A check of Federal Election Commission disclosure reports through July 22 by WorldNetDaily confirm neither HCL Technologies nor eServe received disbursements from the RNC. Answerthink and Computech, two U.S.-based companies that have joint ventures with eServe, are also not listed.

The Business Standard did not name the Republican National Committee and reported only that the “U.S. Republican Party” had contracted with the Indian firm.

Iverson speculated the report, which first surfaced in January and since has been picked up by various news organizations including the Washington Times and, most recently, the London-based newssite Inquirer.com, could be referring to some other Republican Party entity or conservative organization.

There are several other Republican groups that operate nationally but are separate from the RNC, including the Republican Governor’s Association.

“We have tried so hard to beat this down,” Iverson said, adding that the RNC’s legal counsel had sent letters to the Indian magazine but had been unsuccessful in getting them to remove the story from its online archive.

Iverson said she didn’t think the RNC even employed call centers within the U.S. for its fund-raising.

According to its website, HCL Technologies is “one of India’s leading global IT services and product engineering companies … with a presence in 14 countries” and a clientele that includes 40 Fortune 500 companies and some 330 others around the world.

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