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by Todd Johnston
ePluribus Media

This Fourth of July was a working holiday for friends and allies of President Bush, as the team behind Swift Boat Veterans for Truth kick-started a new information campaign aimed at marketing the president's choice for the replacement for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Based in Alexandria, Va.,Campaign Solutions -- the public-relations firm for Bush-Cheney '04, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee -- has been preparing for more than six months to help influence the confirmation process.

Becki Donatelli, an elite GOP rainmaker and chair of Campaign Solutions, has already fixed the network: well-known pundits and agitative Web sites to help raise funds and media wunderkinder to bring in image consultants, lead focus groups and make television commercials.

The Judicial Confirmation Network (JCN) is a post-office box and a Web site registered by Donatelli late last year, with Campaign Solutions as the point of contact. The JCN claims to be "an organization of citizens" that works "to ensure that the confirmation process for all judicial nominees is fair."

Caveat Emptor

The JCN's connections to White House insiders could not be more clear. Executive director Gary Marx was a political consultant for George W. Bush's campaign at Century Strategies in 1999, when its founder and president Ralph E. Reed was allegedly helping his long-time friend Jack Abramoff swindle over $1.2 million from the Choctaw Indians. Marx also served as coalitions organizer for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004.

The other member of JCN's "organization of citizens" is attorney Wendy E. Long, a former clerk for  Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Long was recently criticized for citing the results of a JCN-sponsored poll on MSNBC. Conducted by Republican pollsters Ayres, McHenry & Associates, the JCN-friendly results indicated that 82 percent of Americans supported the congressional "nuclear option," a finding contradicted in other surveys by nonpartisan and bipartisan pollsters.

JCN has also hired Creative Response Concepts (CRC), the public-relations firm that "advised Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," according to an Associated Press article featured on the website of  The Committee for Justice, another Donatelli client. CRC's "advice" resulted in attack ads on presidential candidate John Kerry that Sen. John McCain denounced as "dishonest and dishonorable." Ironically, Donatelli was the lead Internet consultant for McCain's 2000 presidential run.

To the consultants at Creative Response Concepts, the distance separating "dishonest and dishonorable" and "fair confirmation process" is apparently not great -- in physical terms, at least. Interview requests for CRC's clients are routed through the main switchboard at a single telephone number; extensions 108 and 110 at the same number handle Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, while extensions 109 and 130 are for the Judicial Confirmation Network.

"Justice" for All

As already mentioned, Donatelli has her hand in far more Bush-loyalist pockets than a single Web site with two employees. Another Campaign Solutions client, the Committee for Justice, was spun up in May 2002 to counteract Democratic opposition in Congress.

The CFJ is a group of "eminent leaders, former government officials, legal scholars, and practitioners" who sell bumper stickers at The CFJ's chairman is C. Boyden Gray, an heir to the R.J. Reynolds tobacco fortune and legal counsel to George H.W. Bush. Gray represented Microsoft in its antitrust suit and was instrumental in getting NAFTA fast-tracked through Congress. Quoting an article in The New Republic, writes that "so many different money trails lead to, by and through Gray it is bewildering."

But Gray's current trail leads to the White House and Karl Rove. According to a May 24 story in The Washington Post, Gray was encouraged to form the CFJ by Rove after being recruited by Sen. Trent Lott.

Accepting the charge, Gray proceeded to raise substantial funds from business executives and corporations by arguing that "federal judges increasingly will determine the fate of class-action lawsuits that have been the bane of business for years." The Post also writes that Gray received help from his "mentor" George H.W. Bush, who provided his Houston home for a fund-raiser that netted $250,000 for the CFJ.

A Familiar M.O.?

Donatelli, Campaign Solutions, Creative Response Concepts, the Judicial Confirmation Network, the Committee for Justice -- a well-organized public-relations campaign, guided by officials in the executive branch of the U.S. government to influence the makeup of the Supreme Court.

Rove, Gray and Donatelli have been building this war room since 2002. Nearly a month before O'Connor's announced retirement, the CFJ's Web site ran a press release written by the Associated Press's Deb Riechmann -- a favorite of the administration -- promoting and elaborating on the JCN's true reach. Riechmann wrote:

The newly formed Judicial Confirmation Network distributes information through...conservative groups, including Focus on the Family, Americans for Tax Reform, Family Research Council and the Americans for Limited Government. The network has operations, manned by paid staff, up and running in Virginia, Maine, Florida, Arkansas, Nebraska and Colorado....

"...We've been saving our quarters," said [Wendy] Long, a...mother of two who took a leave from her job as a partner in a New York law firm to help coordinate the effort. "We're roughly budgeting a few million for ads for the Supreme Court fight."

But Donatelli, Marx, Long, CRC and Republican pollsters don't work for quarters. The JCN has money -- enough to pay everyone plus a "few million" in television ads. The Committee for Justice has plenty of money, courtesy of C. Boyden Gray, as well as a common goal with and such ties to JCN as Bush-Cheney '04, Donatelli and Creative Response Concepts.

The CFJ is a nonprofit, both a 501(c)3 and a 501(c)4 -- it also comprises the Committee for Justice Foundation. But the Judicial Confirmation Network's executive director, Gary Marx, is the veteran GOP campaigner and fund-raiser who previously worked for Ralph E. Reed and Century Strategies.

Researchers/Contributors:  SusanG, mkt, txj, luaptifer, kfred, wanderindiania, sawcielackey, Zan, Ron Brynaert, NYBri, Sue in KY,
susie dow, standingup, Cho, Penny Century, JeninRI, DEFuning,

Note:  Please let us know of any contributor not listed.

Originally posted to ePluribus Media on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 06:13 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The MSM will not cover this in any detail (4.00)
    so most of the public will not realize the long track record of these people, and how they (the public) are being manipulated.

    This is an important story.  Thanks for the effort you are making to get it out.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 06:27:28 AM PDT

    •  Media ARE covering it.... (4.00)
      ...and they are covering it the way C. Boyden wants it to be covered.

      On June 18th, an article appeared in WaPo that signaled both the Gonzales appointment and the "right-wing anger, but little left-wing opposition" slant. Needless to say, that slant came out of nowhere, and was an obvious setup.

      My diary exposing the slant and stating my disbelief that Abu Ghraib Gonzales could possibly be considered for the High Court of the United States after drafting an opinion that called for unlimited Presidential powers in contravention of 229 years of American jurisprudence and history can be found here and includes the link to the WaPo article.

      If the Democratic party does not oppose this, forcefully, they are IDIOTS. There is no other person in this country, aside from John Yoo, who has created a MORE CONVINCING RECORD that goes against our Bill of Rights.  He has laid the foundation for dictatorship in the United States.

      This is NOT hyperbole.  Read the torture memos.  You think we are living in a Banana Republic now? Put Gonzales on the court and see what happens.

      •  Who do you think will replace him? (none)
        It comes down to that.
        •  Roberts, McConnell, or Garza (none)
          I can live with Roberts (another close Bush family friend) or McConnell or Garza over Gonzales, although it's tough to discern Roberts' position on a number of key issues.  All should be opposed, however, on privacy rights grounds.

          Luttig in my view is nearly as bad as Gonzales given his support/creation of the 4th Circuit attitude toward detainees and the powers of the President.

          I think Wilkinson is too old and so won't get the nod.

          •  I know this is going to annoy you but (none)
            Gonzales is the best of the bunch you mentioned. If you think Gonzales' memos were bad, according to a friend who works in this area, you should see what some of these other people have said and want to do. The others as my friends describes them are nice people, but hold some of the most foul views imaginable. It's a question of least worst- not best choice. I trust my friend- not that it should matter to you- because he is like me a pragmatist and not an idealogue and because he deals w. it every day
            •  A good deal of their positions... (none)
              are public record and they are deplorable.  As members of the judiciary (some for lengthy periods), they have gone on record with their decisions, and they have decided REAL cases.

              None of their decisions have done as much violence to our Constitution, the rule of law, our international reputation and our historical legacy as the Gonzales torture memos.

              If you are willing to engage on this further, I would be interested in your friend's opinion on this point.  He or she sounds knowledgeable and you trust her.  Perhaps he or she could suggest an opinion or two from the other candidates I listed that he or she feels is as bad as the torture memos.  (Together, these candidates have produced a large body of written opinions.)

              Lastly, don't worry about annoying me...differences of opinion are important, and in this case the stakes couldn't be higher.

              •  i am being cryptic for a reason (none)
                i just find this discussion at variance with what i am hearing so i wanted to know what is causing the difference. i cant really tell you more than what i said
                •  Understood. (none)
                  I think a number of folks in high places on both sides of the aisle have already made their decision as you suggest.  However, I think they lack the imagination of the Bushies, and misperceive, even after all that has happened, their audacity.

                  Can Gonzales singlehandedly turn the U.S. into a Banana Republic?  I don't think so.  But he can try.  And that's what scares me.  

                  Further, the idea of the architect of Abu Ghraib sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States of America should cause a shudder in every American.  What will say to our children?  How will this ever be corrected?

                  If you say impeachment for War Crimes, Plame disclosures, etc... I say OK.  Fine.  But, you must admit that such a remedy is a longshot and, in the meantime, he's sitting there deciding cases as an acting Justice.  That alone is anathema and sends a horrible signal to humanity.  So, I just don't see how you can oppose him, regardless of the fact that he's supposedly the "best of the worst."  I would say he's in another category altogether: TOXIC.

          •  incidentally, they hold these positions (none)
            within as I understand their judicial philosophy. Why people are not tauting OConnor is because unlike scalia and thomas  she wasn't as wed to a reprehensible and activist judicial philosophy
  •  are these the same people (4.00)
    who started running the ads about "liberals in Congress" supposedly wanting to block any judicial nominee Bush happens to appoint? The commercials, which started airing on WTOP a couple of weeks before O'Connor announced her retirement, are very critical of Democrats and are largely untrue. They say Democrats will attack ANY nominee.

    They advertise a website at the end of their ads:

    "People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by rioduran on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 06:29:27 AM PDT

    •  Yes indeed (4.00) is part of Progress for America, and has strong ties to the C. Boyden Grayand the administration.


      Only you can prevent dictatorships. ePluribus Media is accepting donations. Thanks.

      by Todd Johnston on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 07:28:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Spread the word, conter the spin (4.00)
      We need to put the responsibility for creating the conditions for an up or down vote where it belongs - with the President:

      If the President plays fair, and chooses a fair nominee, then the Senate will be united around that nominee.

      The President has the responsibility to choose someone the Senate could vote for with an up or down vote. If he chooses wisely, that's what will happen. If he chooses poorly, there will be a fight. The right is playing "Pin the responsibility on the donkey," we need to counter that by putting the responsibility where it belongs - in the hands of the President.

      [cross-posted from Rockridge Institute forums]

      It's time for letters to the editor, letters and calls to legislators, calls to talk radio, and chatting up the neighbors on this issue.  Go forth and spread the word...

      Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

      by mataliandy on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 08:13:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  C. Boyden Gray (4.00)
    Gray has also established a record for flat out lying about academic support for the nuclear option, in his quest to ram Bush's judges through.
    •  Thanks for the link (4.00)
      Your piece on Gray is a good illustration of the lengths he will go to in order to distort the truth.  

      I particularly liked the fact that he played fast and loose with the political affilliation of the three legal scholars in an attempt to sway public opinion. Seems that is a well-worn page in the Right Wing playbook....

      I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

      by wanderindiana on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 09:37:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If I'm not mistaken... (4.00)
    the Repubs have the votes to rush in anyone they want, if they eliminate the filibuster and go back on their word.  

    What they want, of course, is not only to get their justice of SCOTUS, but for Dems to be thrilled about it.  

    The fact that they are doing this signals that they know they are losing the PR war on judicial issues.  

    The Republican Party: Redefining Oppression for the 21st Century

    by daveriegel on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 06:50:08 AM PDT

  •  vast right wing conspiracy (4.00)
    I'll never understand why Hillary was condemned for her "vast right wing conspiracy" comment.  It's obviously true.

    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

    by bogdanmi on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 07:00:42 AM PDT

  •  Almost too much to contemplate... (4.00)
    The distortions they created about Kerry still blow my mind...
    •  Time for a tactical Strike (4.00)
      Kerry needs to hit them RIGHT NOW with a libel suit over the Swift Vet ads.  I'm a Lawyer and I know recisely how hard it would be to win such a suit, but that's entirely beside the point.  The suit is a tactical manuever to neutralize these slimeballs no.   First the defending the  suit will tie up money and resources the Org needs to wage its newest disinformation campaign.  seconly the expansive rules of discovery will allow us to uncover all of the financial backers and puppet masters ofthe group, and hopefully allow us to tie them back to the whole Bush/Rove Machine

      and finally it will shine media attention on the faces behind the scurlious ads and blunt their force

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 08:13:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kerry Won't Sue (none)
        Great idea but I doubt Kerry will sue over the ads.
        •  I doubt it as well (none)
          (and I promise that I will never again post before my first coffee-at least not without running my dyslexic rantings through a spell checker)

          Which is really a pity.  He's got the war chest to do it, and it really could keep the most vocal fringe of the battle tied up in a skirmishing action until well after public opinion has started to gel.

          But he's still trying to look presidential, which was his major problem during the campaign.  Too much trying to project the Image, not enough taking of decisive action.

          Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

          by Magorn on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 09:45:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The biggest Swift Boat lie (4.00)
      (ok, 1 of many, many biggest lies) was  --->>

      about the NON-Partisan swifties and co-authors of the flagship "expose" book, Unfit for Command.

      CO-author Jerome CORSI actually calls the Democrats (over and over again) "the RATS" in his documented posts on the Free Republic site. Here are his collected gems, go to and click the 2nd bullet on Swift Vets.

        My own favorite dig he made was when he derided the Dems and Nancy Pelosi who would be

             going to Boston for the RATS convention


    •  In a Perfect World (none)
      They'd look up Rove's a** regarding the Plame incident, and also find a connection to these swfit boat f***ers.  
      •  Rove Will Have His Hands Full Soon Enough (4.00)
        When word gets out as to the WH source re the Plame leak, he'll be busy enough defending against criminal charges.

        I think Time is due to tell all today as a matter of fact.  Novak will confirm.  Then all hell will break loose - the prosecutors are after blood on this one.

  •  Move America Forward... (4.00)
    Wait for Move America Forward to get involved as well. These are the fuckers who put together a hate ad that they ran on CNN nationally taking me apart for critizing Bolton. They won't be able to help themselves.
  •  This is so frightening in that (4.00)
    it just a few players running the whole damn country. When you dig a little into each of these organizations, it's the same old players over and over again.
  •  a little bit of lightning (4.00)
    at the right place and time, would be just the ticket.

    Brutal timing by Sandra. Independence Day? Patriotism? For the good of the country.?

      Naah. Just another day at the Neo-Con Factory. Might as well own Maytag. Give us a real good reason to spin something.

    Dick Cheney is a public servant. The check is in the mail. Santa Claus is coming to town.

    by UNCmark on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 09:15:47 AM PDT

  •  hmmm interesting coincidence of timing? (4.00)
    1. A journalist is killed when reporting on extra-judicial executions by UK supported and Israeli and American trained wolf packs in Iraq.

    2. Military suspends right of all Iraqi troops to blog independently (Leonard Clark was the beginning of wider order)

    3. Swift Boat Liars once again employed at full throttle

    It seems there might have been a meeting about reigniting the propoganda machine that was in action before the election.  Is anyone researching the complete trail on this?
      •  I am so glad to see this... (4.00)
        ... info being put to good use! The most disturbing thing about all the ePM research was discovering that there is a relatively small inbred disciplined group that conducts these campaigns... over and over, they are successful... well it is time to bring in the disinfectant.

        I am happy to see my ePluibus compatriots sticking another barb into the wounded animal that is BushCo. As long as we don't get lost in the sheer number of scandals, and carefully press each one, we have a chance to see this through to justice done.

    •  Bush circles wagons around Gonzales (none)
      Oddly, Bush doesn't approve of attack-dog style political advertising--when it comes barking his way. Here's his message to the right wing 'base' that's upset with Gonzales:

      Bush: 'Tone Down' Attacks Against Gonzalez

      "Al Gonzales is a great friend of mine," Bush told USA Today. "When a friend gets attacked, I don't like it."

      The president appealed to special interest groups running ads and mobilizing supporters for the anticipated fight over the Supreme Court nominee to "tone down the heated rhetoric."

      Wonder how the rabid 'base' will respond to being told to 'tone it down'? I suspect the level of inflamation on this issue is already screaming. Is it possible W plans to deal with the political capital Dobson, et al, thinks they still have as a bluff?

      I'm trying to resist the snarky summary...must resist...

      W set fire to the bridge between liberal and moderate wings, and now the right has set fire to the section between moderate and right, but W finds himself still standing on the bridge. Must resist...bring the graham crackers, marshmellows and chocolate...jokes.

      "I'd rather be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian." -Martin Luther.

      by antirove on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 02:43:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why don't they get a real job! n/t (none)
  •  Great work as always!!!! (4.00)
    I just want to add a little info to what you guys have.  I have been noticing a connection between the Swift Boat Liars for Bush and various BushCO projects over time.  And I think these projects are interconnected.  I disagree with one data point that  you have, but only because I think the war room that has been being prepared since 2002 is only a specific outgrowth of activities that go back over the last two decades and have roots that are even older.  

    Karl Rove's plan to gain control of Texas courts, which is wound together with his plan to gain control of the Texas legislature and the US congress, was adapted by business interests including especially big tobacco (Rove worked specifically for Phillip Morris but RJ Reynolds was a participant in the press to make US courts more business-friendly).  Here is a diary where I outline some of the details.  Much of the money that funded the Swift Boat Liars for Bush in 2004 came from the same sources that worked with Rove to take over Texas courts. (See diary here.)

    The Texas connections that Bush paid back with favors are only a small part of a much larger pie that includes national business interests.  (See diary here for Texas details.)

    Gonzales is part of the original Texas Bush crew that included Margaret Wilson, a law partner of John O'Neill.  As I mentioned here, I think a big part of the push for certain justices on the apellate courts was to make them more favorable to big business.  Gonzales is a long-time Bush lackey who knows what to say and how to say it but also knows which side the bread is buttered on.  The Supreme Court is not the place where most of the cases that would favor big business are decided, but that does not mean that big business, which is behind the front you mention here along with the front that is the US Chamber of Commerce, is disinterested in having a Bush lackey on the Supreme Court.

    The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

    by mikepridmore on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 10:41:05 AM PDT

  •  Can we please stop dignifying these guys (none)
    and start calling them what they ARE:  Boat Veterans Swift with the Truth!  
  •  can we create a web db of these criminals? (4.00)
    Can we start a web site with a db that we can collect information on these criminals, one that can be used to prosecute these thugs? It would have to be controlled and built by a professional.

    The information would have to be factual and not blog rants. The evidence must be useful in a court of law.

    I think the IRS should investigate the status of the Leadership Institute for tax fault. It is tax-exempt because it says it is non-partisan. Yet the only board member who is not a right-wing Republican is the dead John Birch Society founder. The only ones who teach there are ring-wingers. Everything that is taught is how to get Republicans elected and how to mislead the public away for the truth.

    All is financed from the right-wing supports. The whole thing is front for robbing Americans of their citizenship rights. And get power for the Republican party.

    Come on people thing criminals and how to send them to prison for life, all 40,000 or 50,000 of them. They are out to destroy your freedoms. When will you work like hell to find all the dirt on these guys? Maybe when they start put you and your loved ones in boxcars!

    Think big and dig for the evidences. Find the god damn evidences.

    Why is the IRS when you need them? Where is the FEC?

  •  Ah yes, Campaign Solutions (4.00)
    If Campaign Solutions is running the internet, then history may guide us as to what we might expect.

    "Scalp hunters." "Moon howlers." "Trophy hunters."..."Blogswarm." - Peggy Noonan

    by blogswarm on Tue Jul 05, 2005 at 12:57:53 PM PDT

  •  They are a right-wing hate group. (4.00)
    Not content with telling lies about John Kerry, Jerome Corsi is running against him in 2008. It's not enough that they helped to defeat Kerry in 2004; they are now spreading their gospel of hatred into other areas as well.

    One of their men had close connections with Rove, although Rove was careful not to associate with him in the year before the election.

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