Astroturf PR firm also a major Republican Party Player

Thu, 2009-08-27 17:00Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Astroturf PR firm also a major Republican Party Player

It has now been revealed that a Washington, DC PR powerhouse that was recently exposed as being part of an anonymous “grassroots” pro-coal group also has significant ties to the Republican Party.

As regular readers will recall, earlier this week we exposed the ties between a new pro-coal “grassroots” group calling itself the “The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security (FACES of Coal), and a Washington, DC firm called the Adfero Group. Adfero’s client list includes Koch Industries and the US Chamber of Commerce, two leaders in the fight to confuse, distort and deny the realities of climate change - and especially to block government action that might affect their bottom line.

Brad Johnson at the Wonk Room is reporting today that Adfero also has significant ties to another very powerful group in Washington, DC that would love nothing more than to see legislation on climate change blocked, the Republican Party.

Johnson writes: “A new “grassroots” fossil fuel front group, FACES of Coal, is employing a shadowy Republican-staffed company to spread its message. The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security — a new pro-mountaintop removal campaign that refuses to reveal its “grassroots” members — is employing a GOP Beltway shop to promote its work.”

Johnson also outlines the undeniable links between Adfero, their subsidiary Fireside 21 and the Republican Party:

Ken Ward, Fireside21 CEO, Is A Former Richard Pombo Staffer. Kenneth Ward, the CEO of Fireside21, served as a Legislative Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to the extreme anti-environmentalist Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) until 2004. [Fireside21, Legistorm]

Jeff Mascott, Fireside21 President And Adfero Group Managing Director, Built The GOP.gov Website. Jeff Mascott, the managing director of the Adfero Group and the president of Fireside 21, “designed the original GOP.gov web site” as the “primary online communications consultant at the House Republican Conference under former Chairman U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, Jr. (R-OK).” He is married to a former staffer for Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Rep. Anne Northrup (R-KY). [Adfero, Innovative Advocacy, Legistorm]

Fireside21’s Congressional Clients Are Predominantly Republican. Fireside21 claims the record of building the websites for 150 members of Congress. Of the 38 members listed publicly on their site as clients, 28 are Republicans, from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-GA) to Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Only 10 clients are Democrats, including Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). [Fireside21: CMF Awards, Website Launches]

Adfero Is Behind Numerous Big Oil Astroturf Campaigns. Working for the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, Adfero’s “Fuel For America” campaign whitewashed price-gouging by its clients following Hurricane Katrina. Adfero’s “ChamberGrassroots,” “Vote For Business” and “Coalition for a Democratic Workplace” campaigns fight labor reforms including card-check. “Californians Against Higher Taxes” killed a clean energy reform ballot measure in 2006. Other clients include the American Tort Reform Association, the National Pork Producers Council, and the Independent Petroleum Association of America. [Adfero]

Previous Comments

…as i pointed out last Friday - http://www.grist.org/article/2009-08-20-who-are-the-faces-behind-faces-for-coal/#c219362

Outed! FACES of Coal Are Just Stock Photos
by Matthew McDermott, New York, NY on 08.27.09

Apparently FACES – the coal industry front group masquerading as a grassroots organization – couldn’t actually get any real faces, or didn’t want to include them, in their promotional materials. Appalachian Voices are pointing out that many of pro-coal supporters are actually just stock photographs from iStockPhoto. Here’s just one of the many comparison shots:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/08/faces-of-coal-just-stock-photos.php?dcitc=th_rss

There are five more comparisons done over at Appalachian Voices. http://www.appvoices.org/index.php?/frontporch/blogposts/farces_of_coals_fake_supporters/

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