Americans for Technology Leadership
Americans for Technology Leadership was founded by Jonathan Zuck in 1999 as a "grassroots" organisations for concerned consumers who want less regulation in the technology sector. It also campaigns on general tech issues such as spam.
ATL's domain name, techleadership.org, is registered to the Association for Competitive Technology. The site is hosted by Thomas E. Stock and Thomas J. Synhorst's LLC, TSE Enterprises. Synhorst is a founding member of the DCI Group, a Washington DC-based strategic consulting and lobbying firm which has counted Microsoft as a prime client for a number of years.
Joshua Micah Marshall reports in the July 17, 2000 American Prospect: "[W]hile 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. And Josh Mathis, the man [ACT president Jonathan] Zuck installed 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."
Pro-Microsoft letter campaign discovered
In August 2001 the Los Angeles Times reported that a 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. Experts said there's little precedent for such an effort supported by a company defending itself against government accusations of illegal behavior."
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."
Eighteen state's 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."
- Association for Competitive Technology
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Cityscape Filmworks
- Clarity Consulting
- Microsoft Corporation
- 60Plus Association
- Small Business Survival Committee
- Staples, Inc.