You are hereTalking Points Memo: Lobby Firm Tells Clients How To Sway Elections While Avoiding 'Public Scrutiny'

Talking Points Memo: Lobby Firm Tells Clients How To Sway Elections While Avoiding 'Public Scrutiny'

February 17, 2010- In the wake of last month's Citizens United ruling, a powerhouse Washington lobbying firm is informing its corporate clients on how they can use middlemen like the Chamber of Commerce to pour unlimited amounts of money into political campaigns, while maintaining "sufficient cover" to avoid "public scrutiny" and negative media coverage.

A "Public Policy and Law Alert" on the impact of the Supreme Court's ruling, prepared by two lawyers for K&LGates and posted on the firm's site last Friday, notes that, thanks to disclosure rules, corporations could alienate their customers by spending on political campaigns -- especially because they could become the target of negative media coverage.

So, what's a corporation looking to advance its political goals to do? According to the alert, written by K&L lawyers Tim Peckinpaugh and Stephen Roberts:

[G]roups of corporations within an industry may form coalitions or use existing trade associations to support candidates favorable to policy positions that affect the group as a whole. While corporations that contribute to these expenditures might still be disclosed, this indirect approach can provide sufficient cover such that no single contributing entity receives the bulk of public scrutiny.

In other words, just use lobby associations as handy pass-throughs, to obscure from the public your involvement in the race. Simple!

In fact, as we've reported, that's a tactic that corporations already routinely use, and that the Chamber of Commerce pioneered over the last decade. But the Citizens' United decision means these campaigns can now directly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate -- and can do it right up to Election Day.



Backbone Campaign
Liberty Tree
Progressive Democrats of America
Peoples Email Network
Justice Through Music
Locust Fork Journal
Berkeley Fellowship UU\'s Social Justice Committee
The Smirking Chimp
Progressive Democrats Sonoma County
Center for Media and Democracy
Chelsea Neighbors United
Atlanta Progressive News
Yes Men
No Nukes North