Carter Clews

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Carter Clews is the chairman and founder of, a website that calls itself "America's first and foremost online conservative community." He is also the president of Impacts International LLC, which provides "web-powered public policy services to corporations, associations, political strategists and lobbyists seeking to influence key decisions within the legislative, executive, or judicial branches of national, state, and/or local governments." [1]

On his website, Clews describes himself as "a public relations/marketing innovator" who "brings a 30-year track record of success to the company. As director of public relations for the National E-activism, he helped steer its course as it became one of the nation’s most prominent and powerful grassroots lobbying organizations. As director of communications for the Senate Republican Conference, he initiated 20 new communications programs, including the first-ever Senate satellite transmissions and radio actuality system … As senior vice president for public relations at Gray and Company, he helped quadruple the client base in less than one year … As vice president of creative services at Inphomation, Inc., he wrote and co-produced the top three revenue-generating infomercials in industry history … And as director of Internet services at ATA, he helped pioneer and bring to profitability the e-lobbying concept." [2]


Clews is the son of the Rev. Charles Gordon Clews, a United Methodist minister. His education includes graduate work in communications at Oklahoma State University.

In 1977, Clews went to work for the anti-union National Right to Work Committee and participated in its 1978 grass-roots lobbying effort to block legislation proposed by U.S. president Jimmy Carter that would have made it easier for unions to organize. According to the Washington Post, the NRWC sent out an estimated 12 million pieces of mail to gin up opposition to the bill.

In February 1981, Clews left NRWC to become communications director for the Senate Republican Conference Committee. The Associated Press reported that Clews worked for the SRCC as it developed an "actuality system that "feeds the recorded voices of GOP senators to radio stations in their home states."

In 1984, Clews set up an office in Madrid, Spain, for Gray and Company, a large, Washington-based public relations and lobbying firm with close ties to the Reagan administration. Clews, who was a senior vice president at Gray and Company, came under scrutiny in a 1985 investigation which suggested that the firm had been involved in bribing a Spanish politician. "Sources close to Gray and Co. said yesterday that it appeared from the ongoing inquiry that $250,000 was to be transferred from a Spanish utility company, which had become a Gray and Co. client in Madrid, to the public relations firm's bank account in Baltimore to be paid to a Spanish legislator believed to be working on energy legislation," the Washington Post reported. Clews said he had been instructed by Alejandro Orfila, a Gray & Co. employee and former secretary general of the Organization of American States, to assist in the delivery of $500,000 from the utility company, Unidad Electrica S.A. (UNESA), to Jose Ramon Lasuen, a Spanish member of parliament and Spain's conservative Alianza Popular party. According to author Susan B. Trento, who wrote a book about Gray and Co., the PR firm was using the utility firm as a front for its efforts to back the Alianza Popular.

In 1985, Clews set up his own PR firm, Clews and Co., and was hired to work on behalf of the Nicaraguan contras, organizing events such as a fundraising dinner for the Nicaraguan Refugee Fund. The dinner included a staged photograph of Ronald Reagan kissing 8-year-old Patricia Guerra, who was introduced as a "Nicaraguan refugee." (It was later disclosed that Patricia was born in the United States, lived in Washington, and that her parents had been in the United States for more than 15 years.) The United States Council for World Freedom hired Clews' public relations agency to improve the public image of John K. Singlaub, a retired general and USCWF's leading public spokesman. Clews was recommended to USCWF by Rob Owen, a contract agent of the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Aid Organization. The Clews agency did the promotion and publicity for the 1985 WACL convention. [3] In 1986, Clews was described as an "aide" to Singlaub when it was reported that an airplane carrying weapons to the contras had been shot down inside Nicaragua. Eugene Hasenfus, a U.S. mercenary who was aboard the plane and survived the crash, later disclosed that the airplane and Singlaub were part of the Reagan administration's covert operation to supply the contras in violation of legislation passed by Congress.

In 1988, Clews worked for the Howard Phillips's Conservative Caucus. Later that year he became an aide to the Federal Trade Commission but was fired after sending out a letters to newspaper editorial boards and radio talk shows criticizing Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. AdWeek reported that "Clews' actions may have violated the Hatch Act, a federal statute that forbids government employees from using their office to influence an election."

In 1989, Clews Communications declared bankruptcy, with debts of $59,190 to creditors of which it was only able to pay 22%. Clews went to work for the Blackwell Corporation, a television production company headed by Neal B. Freeman, and then went on to work for Inphomation Communications Inc., a Baltimore-based marketing company that produced the Psychic Friends Network infomercials (fronted by Dionne Warwick) for several years before eventually going bankrupt. In 1995, the National Infomercial Marketing Association gave Clews a "best infomercial writing" award for his work for Inphomation on an infomercial for a fishing product called "Helicopter Lure."

In 2003, Clews teamed up with Christopher Carmouche and his wife, Christine Carmouche, to set up, an advocacy website allied with the Christian Coalition. It developed a money-raising scheme called the "Insta-Fax." The site features angry right-wing polemics aimed at stirring up visitors to send fax messages to a list of politicians that it has selected. It charges visitors $20 to send the fax. Campaigns in which it has participated include a push for federal passage of a law banning so-called "partial birth abortions"; opposition to gay marriage; an "F-word campaign" aimed at the Federal Communications Commission; lobbying to block the morning-after pill, and a campaign of harassment against a humorous "Jesus Dress Up" website. In February 2004, the company worked for Democratic opponents of legalized slot machine gambling in the state of Baltimore but was embarrassed when state Republican Party officials, who supported legalized slots, said that Laptoplobbyist had previously approached them seeking $100,000 to lobby on the other side of the issue. "I would consider it basically blackmail," said state Republican Party Executive Director Eric Sutton. "They showed us their plan for an anti-slots campaign and threatened retaliation, saying if we didn't buy into their scheme, they would help the other side launch their own campaign.

"Weeks ago, they are in our office wanting $100,000 to do a pro-slots program," said state party chairman John Kane, adding that they talked about how pictures on the group's website would be altered to change the message from opposition to supporting new revenue for public schools. "They were going to take the pictures of the prostitutes out and put a picture of schoolchildren in," Kane said. [4]

In 2004, Rachel Buchman, a 27-year-old reporter for Philadelpia's National Public Radio affiliate, WHYY-FM, ran afoul of Upset because she was unable to get the website to stop sending her unsolicited email spam, Buchman called the company and left a message on its phone machine in which she called them "evil, horrible people. You're awful people. You represent horrible ideas. God hates you, and he wants to kill your children. You should all burn in hell." The company responded by complaining to her employer, and Buchman was fired.

Contact information

External links

  • "Group Watch: World Anti-Communist League," Interhemispheric Resource Center (visited December 9, 2004).
  • "Welcome Laptop Lobbyists," parody (visited December 9, 2004).
  • Helen Dewar, "'Grass-Roots' Lobbying in Full Flower," Washington Post, May 28, 1978, p. A2.
  • Mike Causey, "Metro; The Federal Diary," Washington Post, February 20, 1981, p. B2.
  • W. Dale Nelson, "Republican Senators Take to the Airwaves," Associated Press, July 6, 1981.
  • Lois Romano, "Orfila Departure at Gray Followed Internal Inquiry," Washington Post, March 9, 1985, p. A1.
  • Elizabeth Kastor, "Mistaken Identity: Reagan and the Child Refugee Who Wasn't," Washington Post, April 18, 1985, p. D1.
  • Helen Thomas "Washington News," United Press International, October 8, 1986.
  • "FTC Official Fired for Remarks About Dukakis," AdWeek, September 12, 1988.
  • Jack O'Dwyer, "Washington Page," Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter, March 29, 1989, vol. 22, no. 13, p. 7.
  • Susan Trento, The Power House (New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1992) is a detailed book about Gray and Co. Its chapter about the Spanish bribery scandal is titled "The Best Little Whorehouse in Madrid" and includes information drawn from legal depositions given by Clews and others in the wake of the scandal.
  • "Fitness Titans Jake Steinfeld, Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda, Along With Victoria Principal, Big Winners at Fourth Annual 'NIMA Awards'" (news release), PR Newswire, September 21, 1995.
  • David Nitkin, "Anti-slots Lobbyists Met with Advocates," Baltimore Sun, February 7, 2004, p. 1B.
  • William Bunch, "Angry Voice Mail Leads to Resignation," Philadelphia Daily News, December 1, 2004, p. 4.
  • Rachel Buchman, "Rage Against the Machine," Philadelphia Weekly, December 8-14, 2004.