Talk:DCI Group

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Posted a note to User talk: requesting details on reason for deleting the names of Feather, Oschal, Turner and Whitaker from the personnel list? --Bob Burton 22:08, 31 May 2005 (EDT)

Moved following content from DCI Group to talk page (to be cleaned up/updated):

ACT and ATL remain closely affiliated today. ATL claims to be a “broad-based coalition of technology professionals, consumers and organizations dedicated to limiting government regulation of technology and fostering competitive market solutions to public policy issues affecting the technology industry.” In reality, however, it is mostly a shill for Microsoft. Four out of ten of ATL’s other “founding members”—Association for Competitive Technology, Citizens Against Government Waste, 60 Plus Association, and Small Business Survival Committee—are themselves industry-funded organizations that consistently take their sponsors’ positions. Other founders include CompTIA, a computer trade association; and the big box stores CompUSA and Staples. These natural allies served as useful window dressing for an organization whose main issue was defending Microsoft against antitrust action.

Joshua Micah Marshall described the ties among ACT, ATL, DCI and Microsoft in the July 17, 2000 American Prospect. He noted that “while Microsoft did confirm that Synhorst’s DCI had been retained as a consultant, it insisted that another DCI employee, Tim Hyde, and not Synhorst, was handling the company’s account. In any event, the web of connections among DCI, ATL, and Microsoft is striking. While working for Microsoft, DCI has also provided consulting services to ATL.” Josh Mathis, who was installed by ACT president Jonathan Zuck as ATL’s executive director, “is also an employee of DCI, who still works out of the same Washington, D.C., office as Synhorst and Hyde.”

ATL’s domain name,, is registered to ACT. The site itself is hosted by Synhorst and Tom Stock’s LLC, TSE Enterprises. TSE and Stock’s other company Network Processing Services, LLC (which owns TSE’s domain name) are connected to the websites of several industry-backed grassroots groups that advocate positions favorable to DCI clients. TSE’s website describes its work as “engineering web sites and portals, interactive multi-media, and electronic direct marketing campaign for public relations, public affairs, and political groups nationwide.”[1]

I get letters from dead people

In August 2001 the Los Angeles Times reported that ATL was behind a “carefully orchestrated nationwide campaign to create the impression of a surging grass-roots movement” behind Microsoft. “The campaign, orchestrated by a group partly funded by Microsoft, goes to great lengths so that the letters appear to be spontaneous expressions from ordinary citizens. Letters sent in the last month are printed on personalized stationery using different wording, color and typefaces—details that distinguish those efforts from common lobbying tactics that go on in politics every day.” Although FLS-DCI has not publicly claimed responsibility for generating the letters, they are consistent with the company’s own description of the word produced by its “letter desk” service: “all unique, but conveying your desired message.”

According to the Times, the campaign was discovered when Utah’s Attorney General at the time, Mark Shurtleff, received letters “purportedly written by at least two dead people . . . imploring him to go easy on Microsoft Corp. for its conduct as a monopoly. The pleas, along with about 400 others from Utah citizens,” included at least one from the nonexistent city of Tucson, Utah.

Even living residents of real cities who wrote letters supporting Microsoft later complained that they had been snookered. Some who were called “believed the states themselves were soliciting their views, according to the attorneys general of Minnesota, Illinois and Utah. When a caller started asking Minnesotan Nancy Brown questions about Microsoft, she thought she was going to get help figuring out what was wrong with her computer,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Another Minnesota resident contacted the state’s attorney general to tell him, “I sure was misled.”

Eighteen states’ attorneys general were joining with the Justice Department in its anti-trust suit against Microsoft. Iowa’s Attorney General Tom Miller reported receiving more than 50 letters in support of Microsoft during the summer of 2001. “No two letters are identical, but the giveaway lies in the phrasing,” the Times wrote. “Four Iowa letters included this sentence: ‘Strong competition and innovation have been the twin hallmarks of the technology industry.’ Three others use exactly these words: ‘If the future is going to be as successful as the recent past, the technology sector must remain free from excess regulation.’”

The Times credited a DCI affiliate, DCI/New Media, with assisting Microsoft’s “grass-roots” campaign, in concert with the Dewey Square Group, a public affairs firm with close ties to the Democratic Party.

Corporate voice for choice

Another “coalition” with DCI’s fingerprints is Voices for Choices, which appears to front primarily for AT&T. TSE hosts the Voice for Choices website, and AT&T has been a client of DCI Group. In the spring of 2004, VFC ran a campaign seeking to pursuade the Federal Communications Commission and the Bush Administration to appeal a court decision that threw out price caps on rental prices for local telephone lines. While the Baby Bells, who own the local phone lines, applauded the decision, AT&T and MCI/WorldCom were threatened with being priced out of providing local phone services.

Voices for Choices ran ads in Roll Call and other inside-the-beltway publications that hinted at a Bush defeat in November if the administration and FCC did not support an appeal. The White House was not amused with the veiled threat, and Voices for Choices pulled the ads. The Progressive magazine ran another VFC ad in April 2004, which portrayed the organization as a consumer interest group and asked, “Whose Side Are You On? 68,000,000 Americans who now benefit from phone competition.—or—4 Giant phone companies that would benefit by killing competition.”

Post-election musical chairs

In the wake of the 2004 election, the DCI Group added House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's communication director Stuart Roy to its staff. The Hill reports, "Roy will help transform the firm into a one-stop shop for corporations and other entities in need of lobbyists and media advisers."[2] Meanwhile, bid farewell to Stephanie Leger, who served as an associate in the government affairs division. Leger was appointed the Director of State/Federal Relations for Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. She continues to work in Washington, D.C., managing the governor's office in the Hall of States.[3]

Los Angeles Times staff reporters Noam N. Levey and Chuck Neubauer, report in their October 2, 2006 story, "Foley Enters Alcohol Rehab Center,"[4] that "Kirk Fordham, a veteran Republican legislative staffer who has worked on Capitol Hill for much of the last 17 years, served as Foley's chief of staff from 1995 to 2004. Fordham also managed Foley's first campaign for Congress, in 1994.

"In 2005, Fordham went to work for DCI Group, a leading GOP political strategy group. The same year, he became Reynolds' chief of staff." Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.), to whom the story refers, is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which leads the effort to maintain the GOP majority in the House. He hired Forham October 4, 2005. according to a press release of that date.[5]