Terry Nelson

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Terry Nelson, a registered lobbyist, is a partner in Mercury Public Affairs, LLC—a "strategic partner" of Fleishman-Hillard International Communications and a "member agency" of Omnicom Group Inc.—and senior advisor to Republican 2008 presidential candidate Arizona Senator John McCain's Straight Talk America.[1]

Nelson, who "has the unique distinction of being tied to two of the biggest cases of Republican campaign corruption" during the George W. Bush era,[2] was "implicated in the infamous New Hampshire-phone jamming scandal [in 2002] and he was an unindicted coconspirator in the political money-laundering case which ended Tom DeLay's career."[2]

In September 2006, Nelson was "enlisted" by the Republican National Committee "to run a campaign that [would] coordinate with Senate Republicans on ads that similarly will rely on the best of the worst that researchers have dug up on Democrats."[3]


Nelson's 2001 archived bio states that:[4]

"Terry Nelson joins DMN Media after having served a tour of duty as Political Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee in the 2000 election cycle. In that capacity he devised the strategy to maintain Republican control of the House in the face of unprecedented spending by the DCCC and its allies. Nelson oversaw the committee's $45 million issue advocacy campaign, the largest non-presidential issue advertising campaign ever conducted. Previously Nelson served as the NRCC's National Field Director and as a Regional Political Director. He was also campaign manager for Congressman Jim Nussle and served as Majority Staff Director of the Iowa Senate."


Money laundering

Nelson was RNC Deputy Chief of Staff when, on or about September 11, 2002, Jim Ellis requested and proposed that contributions from the Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) be exchanged with the RNC and the Republican National State Elections Committee (RNSEC) for contributions to "several candidates for the Texas House of Representatives that were supported by" TRMPAC.[10]

On September 13, 2002, Ellis delivered a check from TRMPAC for $190,000 and a list with 7 "names of several candidates" to Nelson. On October 4, 2002, the RNC and RNSEC issued checks to the 7 candidates itemized on the list provided by Ellis.[10]

"The donations to each candidate were made on the same day two weeks after Texans for a Republican Majority, created by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, sent $190,000 in corporate money to the RNC group.

"Under state law, DeLay's political committee could not legally give corporate donations to candidates."[11]

Accused of race-baiting in 2006 Senate race in Tennessee

In his capacity as head of the Republican National Committee's independent expenditure group, Nelson has been able to run ads uncoordinated with the candidates, which the candidates can then disavow. Such was the case in Tennessee, in an ad about Democratic candidate Harold Ford, Jr., featuring a bare-shouldered blonde female saying "I met Harold at the Playboy Party! Harold, call me sometime."[12]

Mr. Nelson resigned amid the questionable campaign ad, after it "sparked a pre-election dustup over racial rhetoric in the South," according to The Hill's Campaign 2006 Tipsheet[8]

Contact information

Mercury Public Affairs LLC
1775 Eye Street NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20006
Telephone: 202 551-1450
Fax: 202 551-9966
Email: terry.nelson AT akerman.com
Website: www.mercurypublicaffairs.com


Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Profile: Terry A. Nelson, Lobbyists.info. Subscription required.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo, September 10, 2006.
  3. Jim VandeHei and Chris Cillizza, "In a Pivotal Year, GOP Plans to Get Personal. Millions to Go to Digging Up Dirt on Democrats," Washington Post, September 10, 2006.
  4. Bio: Terry Nelson, DMNMedia.com, November 2001.
  5. Andrew Wheat, "Delay's Beautiful Laundrette," The Texas Observer, October 21, 2005.
  6. News Release: "Two Major Bush Cheney '04 Advisors Add Significant Presence to Akerman Senterfitt's Washington, D.C. Office: Mark Wallace and Terry Nelson To Strengthen Firm's Government Relations Practice," Akerman Senterfitt, March 7, 2005.
  7. Michael Barbaro, "Wal-Mart Tries to Enlist Image Help," New York Times, May 12, 2006.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "The Campaign 2006 Tipsheet," The Hill, October 30, 2006.
  9. Chris Cillizza and Zachary A. Goldfarb, "McCain Campaign Hires 'Best Bricklayer'," Washington Post, March 19, 2006.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "House Majority Leader Tom Delay Indicted Again - Second Charges Allege Money laundering, Texas v. Colyandro, et al., FindLaw, October 3, 2005.
  11. Harry Hope, "Bush-Cheney political director appears before grand jury probing the Texas GOP," Associated Press, March 20, 2004.
  12. "Tennessee Senator Mehlman explains bimbo ad," TPM Cafe/Election Central, October 24, 2006. See Transcript.

External articles