This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
A biographical note on LaCivita states that he was "political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the historic 2002 election cycle" and that he was "responsible for the day-to-day management and implementation of the NRSC’s $70 million issue advocacy campaign. This included nearly $60 million in purchased TV time, and over 155 individual 'issue ads' for 17 states. Mr. LaCivita was also responsible for implementing polling, mail and phone programs in conjunction with his regional political staff."
"In the 2000 election cycle, Mr. LaCivita was campaign manager of George Allen's successful bid for the United States Senate. In a $10 million race the Allen campaign unseated a 12-year incumbent with a 4.6-point win. It was the only successful Republican U.S. Senate challenger race in the country," it states.
LaCivita's role as political director of NRSC in 2002 places him on the edge of a Republican phone-jamming scandal in which Democratic get-out-the-vote calls in Manchester, N.H., were blocked on election day. In December 2005 James Tobin, who worked under LaCivita as the New England regional director, was convicted of two felony telephone harassment charges but was acquitted of the charge of conspiring against voters rights. He was sentenced in May 2006 to 10 months in prison, AP reported, that he "helped plan the phone jamming." Tobin was convicted in December of two felony telephone harassment charges. He was acquitted of a third, more serious charge, of conspiring against voters rights.
On August 25, 2004 the New York Times reported that LaCivita was working for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as an adviser on media strategy. According to Federal Election Committee filings by SBVT, LaCivita received $35,700 for his media consulting work. He received $39,897 for providing consulting services to Progress for America.
LaCivita told the New York Times that he worked as a private contractor for DCI and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and that there was no coordination between the firm and the group. "Obviously, I don't work for the Bush campaign," he said. Mr. LaCivita described his role as providing advice on the news media and placing advertisements.
LaCivita's resume includes the following:
- Graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with majors in political science and international affairs in 1989
- United State Marines Corps including in the Persian Gulf War
- legislative assistant handling defense issues and the Judiciary Committee for then-Rep. George Allen; served as his political director in his 1991 race for Congress;
- Regent University adjunct instructor in campaign management 1991-1993
- assistant Secretary of Administration under then Governor Allen, a cabinet post in which he had oversight of 5 state agencies, including the statewide procurement system.
- Worked on Allen's 1993 campaign for Governor.
- executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia
- campaign manager of George Allen’s successful bid for the United States Senate in 2000.
- political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the historic 2002 election cycle
Articles and Resources
- "Bios - Panel 1: 2002 Election Analysis: Chris LaCivita, National Republican Senatorial Committee", University of Virginia Center for Politics, 2003.
- Zachary A. Goldfarb, "Depositions of GOP Officials Allowed", Washington Post, July 14, 2006; Page A12.
- Dems want to depose ex-RNC chief in phone jamming civil suit", Boston.com, June 8, 2006.
- Center for Public Integrity, "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth", Silent Partners, 2007.
- Center for Public Integrity, "Progress for America Voter Fund", Silent Partners, 2007.
- Jim Rutenberg and Kate Zernike, "The 2004 Campaign: Advertising; Veterans' Group Had GOP Lawyer", New York Times, August 25, 2004.
- Glen Justice, "A New Target for Advisers to Swift Vets", New York Times, February 21, 2005.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Chris Cillizza, "GOP Group Joins Soft-Money Fray," Roll Call, November 24, 2003 (Cache file from PFA).
- Jim Rutenberg and Kate Zernike, "Bush Campaign's Top Outside Lawyer Advised Veterans Group", New York Times, August 25, 2004.
- Glen Justice, "A New Target for Advisers to Swift Vets," New York Times, February 21, 2005.
- Steve Weissman and Ruth Hassan, "BCRA and the 527 Groups," Campaign Finance Institute, February 9, 2005; revised March 8, 2005: "When LaCivita departed PFA in the Spring of 2004 to work on two Republican Senate campaigns, he was succeeded as President by DCI partner Brian McCabe. LaCivita would soon be better known as senior strategist for the pro-Bush 527 group, Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth. The fledgling Swift Boat group had approached PFA for assistance, and it had recommended LaCivita. While handling the Swift Boat operation, LaCivita also returned briefly to PFA as a contractor."