Corporate interests and their proxies are looking to exploit the September 11 tragedy to advance a self-serving agenda that has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with corporate profits and dangerous ideologies. Fast track and the Free Trade Area of the Americas. A corporate tax cut. Oil drilling in Alaska. Star Wars. These are some of the preposterous "solutions" and responses to the terror attack offered by corporate mouthpieces.
Coca-Cola has hired the lobbying firm Holland & Knight to ward off Federal restrictions on vending machines in schools, reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy has introduced a bill that would prohibit schools participating in the national school lunch program from selling soda and candy. Leahy was critical of soda manufacturers for pushing their products at children in a "captive market." He also cited a study linking soda consumption to child obesity and diabetes.
Pakistan hired former Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Texas, to advise the country on matters regarding its national security. According to O'Dwyer's PR Daily, Wilson is receiving $30,000 a month for his work. As head of the Appropriations Defense subcommittee, Wilson traveled 14 times to Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 1980s, and sponsored secret U.S. appropriations for the Afghan rebel forces in 1982.
The efforts of the 30-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to reform "tax haven" countries such as Liechtenstein and the Cayman Islands are being countered in the U.S. by a lobbying campaign run by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. Capitol Hill veteran Andrew Quinlan, who also works for the Swiss Investors Protection Association, heads the Center.
Haley Barbour, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, "illustrates the synergistic relationship between lobbying and fundraising," said a July 23 article in the New York Times. His firm has been named by Fortune magazine as the number one lobby firm in the Capital, and Barbour is also the man in charge of raising money for Republican Senate campaigns. The New York Times noted that "Two years ago, Mr.
The San Francisco Chronicles reports, "Big oil and energy firms are contributing heavily to political parties and pouring millions into expensive ads to boost their interests, hoping to swing support behind President Bush's embattled energy plan, a new study shows." The paper cites a study released by the Washington-based watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics, which shows how business and industry are bankrolling large ad campaigns to influence the political process.
The British Medical Association's journal "Tobacco Control" recently published Michael Givel and Stan Glantzs' article entitled: "Tobacco lobby political influence on US state legislatures in the 1990s." This article examines in great detail from previously secret tobacco cartel documents obtained through litigation, how the powerful tobacco cartel has exerted considerable political influence over tobacco control and public health legislation in all U.S. state legislatures in the 1990s.
Conservative financiers Capital City Partners have created a lobbying organization to back President Bush's faith-based initiatives program, according to PR Week. Americans for Community and Faith-Centered Enterprises (ACFE) plans to spend "millions of dollars" to push for "faith-based" policies and encourage more private sector support for such initiatives. ACFE will be based in Washington DC. A companion research and education group, the Foundation for Community and Faith-Centered Enterprises will be based in Phoenix, AZ.
Lobbyist Rick Berman runs the DC-based Guest Choice Network, a mean and nasty PR operation serving the tobacco, booze and food industries. (See PR Watch Volume 8 #1 for the inside scoop on Berman & Co.) His favorite target is often Michael Jacobson's "food police" at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Conservative PR pro Craig Shirley has created a new front group called "Disabled Americans for Death Tax Relief," which recently ran full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times, urging Congress to abolish the federal estate tax. DADTR claims that millions of Americans would be adversely affected by the tax which the federal government places on estates over $650,000.