April 18, 2012

REVEALED: Corporate Lobbyists Air $100,000 In Attack Ads To Save Rep. Tim Holden (D-PA), Pro-Corporate Blue Dog In Tight Race

REVEALED: Corporate Lobbyists Air 0,000 In Attack Ads To Save Rep. Tim Holden (D-PA), Pro-Corporate Blue Dog In Tight Race
"Center Forward" is registered to a lobbying firm and run by corporate lobbyists. The new group just bought ads to defend Congressman Tim Holden, a big business-friendly Democrat.
Congressman Tim Holden (D-PA) is in a fight for his career as he takes on left-leaning attorney Matt Cartwright in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary next week. Holden has faced criticism that he serves the interests of his corporate donors rather than the public interest — voting time and again to help big banks, industrial polluters, and against campaign transparency.

Politico is reporting that a brand new organization called “Center Forward” is rushing to Holden’s defense and just purchased $100,000 in attack ads against Holden’s opponent. Though Holden voted against health reform, the ads bizarrely attack Cartwright for supporting the public option:

The spot also portrays Cartwright as an opponent of President Barack Obama, saying that he “even put down President Obama on health care reform. More yelling. Less cooperation. Blaming President Obama. That’s the worst of Washington. That’s Matt Cartwright.”

Politico only reports that the ad is aligned with the Blue Dog caucus, and the ad itself doesn’t display any information about Center Forward or where this $100,000 is coming from.

An inspection of Center Forward’s board shows that the organization is run entirely by D.C. lobbyists:

— Center Forward board member Bud Cramer is a lobbyist for Wexler Walker and Associates.
— Center Forward board member John Tanner is a lobbyist for Prime Policy Group.
— Center Forward board member Baron Hill is a lobbyist for APCO.
— Center Forward board member Vickie Walling is a lobbyist for Prime Policy Group.
— Center Forward board member Libby Greer is a lobbyist for Cauthen Forbes & Williams.

The board members work at firms that represent Wall Street speculators and oil companies. APCO is also the top consulting firm for the health insurance lobby. Unfortunately, Center Forward is using a tax entity that doesn’t have to disclose its donors to air the ads.

Although the Federal Elections Commission doesn’t require much disclosure, the filing for the late-stage attack ads reveals that Center Forward is registered to 325 7th Street NW Suite 400, an address in Washington, D.C. That address is shared by the C2 Group, a corporate lobbying firm that openly advertises its cosy relationship with the pro-corporate Blue Dog caucus of Democrats, including Tim Holden:

C2 GROUP enjoys a close working relationship with the Blue Dog Coalition through the relationships that Jeff Murray and Tom Crawford have developed over the past ten years. Jeff served as the first Executive Director for the Coalition, during his tenure as Chief of Staff to former Alabama Congressman Bud Cramer, a founding member of the Blue Dogs.

C2 represents corporate interests from across the board, from big tobacco to PepsiCo to GE and Amgen.

Notably, Center Forward, which launched in March, isn’t even necessarily a Democratic group. Center Forward’s first major event was a collaboration with American Action Forum along with Purple Strategies, a media consulting firm that counts the National Republican Campaign Committee, BP, and PhRMA among its client list. American Action Forum is part of the fleet of front groups, including Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads, that was founded by Karl Rove, Norm Coleman and Ed Gillespie. Center Forward also counts former Republican representative Mike Castle as an advisor.

RELATED: Republic Report questions Tim Holden about his vote to deregulate fracking.

RELATED: One month before the election, Tim Holden sponsors bill to allow farm interests to dump pollution into the Chesapeake Bay; collects cash from big agricultural lobbyists.

RELATED: Holden complains about big money in politics — after voting against the fix for Citizens United.