Former Democratic Strategists Now Boost the GOP

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The Nation

Former Democratic Strategists Now Boost the GOP

by
Lee Fang

In 2008, Mark Squier was the executive producer of the Democratic National Convention in Denver. A veteran political consultant of several campaigns, including Howard Dean’s insurgent quest for the White House, Squier helped launch the Obama-Biden ticket into the final stretch of the campaign.

Now Squier is working for the other side.

Shortly after the general election four years ago, a slew of Democrats joined Republican consultant and CNN pundit Alex Castellanos to form a firm called Purple Strategies. Steve McMahon, also a former Dean operative at the DNC, merged his campaign company, Issue & Image, with Castellano’s National Media Research to form Purple Strategies.

A search of FEC records shows that Squier’s new firm has been hard at work helping to elect a GOP Congress and defeat Barack Obama. A search of Federal Elections Commission records provides a snapshot:

• Just in the last week, Purple Strategies’ media buying firm helped the National Republican Campaign Committee purchase $103,054 worth of attack ads in key Congressional races, including against Mike McIntyre, one of the most endangered House Democrats in North Carolina.

• Purple Strategies’ subsidiary is providing media production, creative services and focus group services for the Republican National Committee. In the last month, the firm collected $7,698,514 from the party.

• Purple Strategies is the consulting firm for the YG Action Fund, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Super PAC.

In total, the company has received at least $43 million in contracts working for Republican candidates this cycle.

One might assume the name “Purple:” would mean that the firm provides bipartisan services. But the name seems to refer to only the firm’s composition—I could not find work on behalf of the poor, disadvantaged minority groups, environmental causes or any of the core left of center constituencies.

Other prominent Democrats at Purple Strategies: John Donovan and Meghan Johnson, both former DCCC strategists; CR Wooters, a former aide to Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); and Jim Jordan, a former executive director at the DSCC.

In previous years, Purple Strategies reportedly managed BP’s media relations strategy after the Deepwater Horizon spill. The firm also specializes in assisting trade associations, the lobbying juggernauts I profile in the latest edition of The Nation. Purple Strategies counts the US Chamber of Commerce, PhRMA and the American Chemistry Council as clients.

One of the biggest untold stories of the Obama administration is the extent to which supposedly Democrat-led lobbying and PR firms were eager to help undermine Democrats’ progressive agenda on behalf of corporate interests. It’s a story I will be revisiting later. But as delegates prepare to arrive in Charlotte for the DNC, it’s worth noting that the guy who was in charge of producing the event the last time is now working to elect Mitt Romney.

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