Public Notice

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

Public Notice is a right wing policy think tank run by Republican political operative Gretchen Hamel, a former GOP Congressional staffer and Republican spokesperson. Hamel was a founder of the Alexandria, Virginia public relations firm Endeavour Global Strategies, which specializes in political messaging, use of new media and attempting to control news on behalf of clients. The other co-founders of Endeavour are former Bush Administrations staffers with expertise in social media. Public Notice operates the advertising project Bankrupting America, which promotes Republican-held ideological positions of cutting social programs without proposing budget enhancing measures like increasing taxes on the wealthy or cutting defense.[1]

Public Notice makes videos and runs TV ads that emphasize the problem of government debt and attack stimulus spending. The group focuses solely on cutting government spending as the only answer to the nation's debt problem, without mentioning the detrimental effects on America's economy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, extension of the tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Americans (favored by Republicans), or Wall Street speculating.[2]

Spending on ads

Think Progress wrote the following about Public Notice:

Since the end of the Bush presidency, shadowy right-wing groups ... have primed the public with a sophisticated public relations campaign to shift the national discourse to a focus on debt reduction. Many of these groups do not appear partisan, and have figured out ways around registering their activity with the Federal Elections Commission (so the true extent to their ad-buying is rarely recorded): -- Founded in 2010 by former Bush admin flak Gretchen Hamel, the group Public Notice has quietly pumped millions into advertising about debt reduction: Public Notice sponsored at least $3 million on a debt ad called “Shovel” that falsely claims the spending doesn’t create jobs, an undisclosed amount for online ads promoting a highly produced web series on the evils of government spending, a debt pledge that features pop singer Justin Bieber, and what is believed to be another multimillion dollar ad buy recently for a commercial, appearing like a PSA, that warns that government spending is akin to cocaine addiction. To warp elite opinion, the group sponsored billboard ads at Reagan National Airport and on buses and bus shelters near Capitol Hill. Although Hamel does not reveal her donors, she is connected closely with the Koch network of billionaire and investors. Last year at a right-wing donor conference attended by top hedge fund manager Steve Schwarzman and Charles Koch, Hamel gave a presentation on “Framing the Debate on Spending.”[3]


Ties to Kochs

Hamel was an attendee at the Koch brothers' 2010 political strategy meeting. [4]

Funding

Public Notice refuses to disclose its donors, a characteristic of a front group. Its website also lists no staff, affiliates or sponsors.[5]


Sourcewatch resources

External resources

Contact

Public Notice lists no fixed address on its website, and gives no phone number. (Two more characteristics of a front group). Contact is by web form.

References

  1. Zachary Roth Former Bush Admin. Spox Launch Nonprofit to combat "Over Spending", TPMMuckraker, March 3, 2010
  2. Public Notice Projects, organizational web page (containing videos), accessed August 30, 2011
  3. Lee Fang How Shadowy Right-Wing Front Groups Engineered Our National Embrace Of Debt Reduction Over Job Creation, ThinkProgress.org, July 28, 2011
  4. Think Progress MEMO: Health insurance, banking, oil industries met with Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck to plot 2010 election, Guest blogger, October 20, 2010
  5. Gar Smith Bankrupting America: The Truth behind those Hole-in-the-ground Ads, the Berkeley Daily Planet, October 5, 2010