"They called it 'the matrix,' " writes Washington Post reporter Joe Stevens, "a computer program that brought a scientific dimension to Enron's effort to seduce politicians and sway bureaucrats. With each proposed change in federal regulations, lobbyists punched details into a computer, allowing Enron economists in Houston to calculate just how much a rule change would cost.
"The Citizens for Liberty in Cuba is using Washington, D.C.-based Griesinger Assocs. to 'promote policies to aid in bringing democracy' to the island," reports O'Dwyer's PR Online.
Ralph Reed, the hard-ball political organizer and brilliant PR strategist behind the rise of the powerful Christian Coalition, went to work for Enron just as George Bush began his drive for the presidency.
A food industry website reports that lobbyist Rick Berman addressed Tuesday's annual meeting of the National Turkey Association. "What many of you don't understand is just how many different ways this industry is being attacked by groups. They are coming at you all from the animal rights side, as well as biotechnology, antibiotics hysteria, anti-corporate, labor and the factory farms angle. ...
"Afghanistan's Northern Alliance Junbish Party is using Philip S. Smith & Associates, Washington, D.C., to make sure it plays a leading role in the post-Taliban government," O'Dwyer's PR Daily writes. "Smith is a former Asia policy advisor for the House Republican Research Committee and senior legislative assistant to Rep. Don Ritter (R-Pa). He reports to Gen. Rashid Dostum, a former Communist who switched sides and fought the Soviet Union after it invaded Afghanistan. Dostum is the former warlord who controlled the key Afghanistan city of Mazar-e-Sharif.
The Wall Street Journal reports that, " Libya's Col. Moammar Gadhafi, is attempting a rehabilitation. Top U.S. and Libyan officials have held several unpublicized meetings in England and Switzerland in recent years to discuss improving ties. Public-relations campaigns and lobbying efforts on Libya's behalf are under way, funded in part by oil money and driven by a desire to cash in on future deals or resume business interrupted by sanctions. ... The four American oil companies that were forced by U.S. sanctions to suspend operations in Libya ... are eager to return to Libya.
PR trade publication The Holmes Report writes: "Accounting giant Andersen--the former Arthur Andersen--is reportedly looking to recruit crisis management and other communications experts as it faces mounting criticism for its role in the collapse of Enron." Anderson has already hired the Virginia-based firm Hartz Consulting and retains Ketchum as its PR agency of record. But the company is expected to enlist more PR consultants as it faces Congressional investigations, a federal criminal inquiry and lawsuits from shareholders.
Major media have been remarkably quiet about the Carlyle Group, "one of the most powerful, well-connected, and secretive companies in the world," which brought together high-powered former politicians including George Bush seniors with Saudi financial moguls and even members of the Bin Laden family. "The Bush administration isn't afraid to mix business and politics, and no other firm embodies that penchant better than the Carlyle Group," reports Red Herring magazine. "Walking that fine line is what Carlyle does best.
In Hong Kong, ex-legislator Gary Cheng Kai-nam has been convicted of corruption after he was caught double-dipping. While acting as a government official, Cheng set up his own PR firm and worked as a paid lobbyist. "It was bad enough that Cheng should have found it proper to set up a public affairs consultancy after becoming a legislator," observes the South China Morning Post.
John D. Graham founded the industry-funded Harvard Center for Risk Analysis that last week issued a whitewash report on mad cow risks in the US. Now Graham has a new government post at the Office of Management and Budget where he is leading the Bush administration's assault on environmental, health and safety regulations. The secret plotting between business lobbyists and Graham has even angered a lobbyist who leaked information to the Washington Post. The documents "provide another glimpse of behind-the-scenes strategy-setting by business lobbyists" such as the U.S.