This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
LawMedia Group -- also referred to as LMG -- is a secretive Washington DC public affairs firm. The firm's website says it "unites the worlds of law, communications, strategic counseling and crisis management into seamless campaigns for Fortune 100 companies, trade associations, start-ups and non-profits."  Ads for LMG describe its services as including "government relations" (lobbying), "grassroots lobbying," "issue / initiative / petition management," "media production" and "opposition research." 
The firm has been associated with several ghost-written opinion columns. In July 2008, LMG was linked to an op-ed criticizing a bill that would reduce credit card fees, which was attributed to Charles Steele Jr., the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The column -- which neither Steele nor his office authorized -- complains that the bill "would boost the profits of Wal-Mart," an SCLC sponsor. Steele's attorney blamed "the K Street public relations shop LMG" for the mix-up. LMG admitted that it had "reached out through its contractors" to send "advocacy materials" to the SCLC and "urged the group to go public with opposition to the bill." Among LMG's clients is the Electronic Payments Coalition, a group of credit card and financial companies that opposes the legislation. The SCLC investigated and concluded that "the wrong draft of the op-ed" had been sent to papers. "The correct draft should not have referenced Wal-Mart or Home Depot," another SCLC sponsor. 
In August 2008, LMG was linked to a Harvard Crimson op/ed supposedly by Mel King, a community organizer and network neutrality advocate. However, King's column questioned the need for net neutrality provisions. King admitted that LMG was involved and refused to say whether "he was paid for the use of his name," reported CNET News. LMG's clients include Comcast, which opposes net neutrality, and Microsoft, which hired LMG in an attempt to block a Google-Yahoo advertising deal. Another strange aspect of King's anti-net neutrality column is that "portions are identical to a Rainbow Push coalition statement attributed to the Rev. Jesse Jackson and dated three months before." A source told CNET News that "LMG has a relationship with Jackson that includes ghost-written articles on behalf of corporate clients." 
In May 2008, Microsoft retained LMG on what was reportedly a "six-figure monthly retainer," to oppose a Google-Yahoo advertising deal. "Immediately afterward, anti-Google coalitions of dubious provenance--an LMG specialty--sprouted. The American Corn Growers Association, the League of Rural Voters, and a group called the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate Google's 'search monopoly.' Prior to that time, those groups had no history of aggressive anti-Google advocacy," reported CNET News.  
In October 2007, LMG was linked to "a coalition of influential minority labor groups" -- including Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the A. Philip Randolph Institute -- that "publicly denounced the proposal by Northrop Grumman Corp. and its partner, the European consortium that owns Airbus, arguing that the team's offering of the KC-30, based on the Airbus 330 airframe, would result in thousands of skilled jobs sent overseas." LMG was working for Boeing -- the competitor for the contract -- at the time. 
In May 2007, LMG ran the Alliance for Aviation Across America , which opposed a proposal to shift some of airline carriers' federal tax burden to small-jet operators. Member groups of the coalition included the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Farmers Union and the League of Rural Voters. 
In March 2006, LMG helped Broadband Everywhere, an effort that included the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, American Cable Association, Hispanic Federation and the National Congress of Black Women. The coalition was formed to voice "concern about 'monster Bell behemoths.'" 
- Julian Epstein, founder, principal and registered lobbyist
- Gil Meneses, vice-president
- Alexandra Esser
- Joe Velasquez, lobbyist
Former personnel, from various sources: 
- Art Brodsky
- Scott M. Deutchman 
- Raphael Goodstein 
- William Jusino 
- Amy Kennedy
- Jason D. Oxman 
- Kevin Parker, senior adviser
- Doug Thornell 
- Leah Williams 
- Beth Windisch
1717 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 650
Washington, DC 20036
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch resources
- "Homepage," Lawmedia.net, accessed August 2008.
- "2007-2008 minority political companies directory," The Democratic Party, accessed August 2008.
- Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, "The Man Behind the Byline Isn't Behind the Article. So, Who Is?," Washington Post, July 29, 2008.
- Declan McCullagh, "Wanted: Writers for D.C. tech lobby group, secrecy mandatory," CNET News, August 14, 2008.
- Declan McCullagh, "Secretive D.C. firm says corn growers' anti-Google letter is legit," CNET News, June 12, 2008.
- Megan Scully, "Outside Influences," National Journal's CongressDaily, October 24, 2007.
- Shawn Zeller, "Radio Backers Go Broad," Congressional Quarterly Weekly, July 28, 2007.
- "Private-jet owners fight a proposed tax increase: Plan would ease major carriers' burden," The International Herald Tribune, May 16, 2007.
- "Mergers, Net Neutrality, Franchising Widen Lawmaker, Lobbyist Gap," Telecom Policy Report, March 20, 2006.
- "Law Media Group," Lobbyists.info, accessed August 2008.
- "FCC Commissioner Copps Announces Staff Changes," US Fed News, April 12, 2006.
- "People," National Journal's CongressDaily, October 5, 2007.
- "William Jusino," LinkedIn profile, accessed August 2008.
- "People," TWICE, November 20, 2006.
- David M. Drucker and Josh Kurtz, "Shop Talk," Roll Call, March 1, 2007.
- Barbara Grady, "Unflagging confidence helps entrepreneur hurdle obstacles," Contra Costa Times (California), July 13, 2007.
- Declan McCullagh, "Corn farmers take anti-Google fight to Washington," CNET News, June 11, 2008.