Thomas J. Synhorst
Thomas J. Synhorst (pronounced "Sign" not "Sin"), is a partner in Feather Larson & Synhorst DCI , chairman of DCI Group, and co-manager of the Goodsijn venture funds. A "well-known Republican strategist" and a former tobacco industry "grassroots specialist", Synhorst originally founded DCI Companies, Inc. in 1988. He "has worked extensively with political and corporate clients on strategic message development and delivery." He has been referred to as the "Johhny Appleseed" of astroturf.
After the 2000 presidential election, Synhorst and Tony Feather created the Washington DC-based DCI Group with other well connected Republican lobbyists and political insiders. DCI Group considers itself a full service "grassroots" consulting firm. The group has been involved with the creation of several front groups for the Bush administration and telecommunications, pharmaceutical and computer industries.
Synhorst worked for both the 1988 and 1996 Presidential campaigns of Bob Dole. He's credited with engineering Dole's victory in the 1988 Iowa presidential caucuses. An Iowan, Synhorst had served as Sen. Charles E. Grassley's aide in the 1980s before working on Dole's campaign. In 1996, Dole's campaign employeed Synhorst's Kansas-based company Direct Connect, Inc. for campaign telemarketing. Synhorst also was affiiliated with the Mission, Kansas based Synhorst & Schraad, Inc., which was listed in Campaign & Elections Political Pages as providing telephone and direct contact services. The Kansas City Star reported in 1996 that Keith Schraad was a founder of Direct Connect.
He aslo worked on George Walker Bush's Texas gubernatorial campaign, as well as campaigns for Governor Mike Huckabee (AR), Congressman Johnny Isakson (GA), and The Republican Party of Florida, Republican Party of Iowa, and Republican Party of Arizona. He was an advisor to Bush/Cheney 2000 and worked with Senator Elizabeth Dole to launch her 2002 campaign.
The Associated Press reported in June 2001 that Synhorst "has been linked to South Carolina 'push polls' in the 2000 Republican primary that attacked candidate John McCain as 'a cheat, a liar and a fraud,' according to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee."
Joshua Micah Marshall wrote in July 2000: "DCI is the creation of Tom Synhorst, a Republican political operative and onetime field coordinator for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, who first made a name for himself by helping Bob Dole pull off an upset victory over George Bush in the 1988 Iowa caucuses. In subsequent years, Synhorst remained close to Dole, but he found his real niche in phone bank work. DCI, as well as a cluster of allied companies in which Synhorst also holds an interest, has worked for the tobacco industry for most of the 1990s. In 1998, when Congress was poised to sign off on a comprehensive tobacco settlement, the industry retained both DCI and Direct Impact to engineer a coordinated campaign of grass-roots opposition to the bill. In 1999, in the wake of the Columbine school shootings, the NRA paid out more than $300,000 to DCI and another phone bank operator, Optima Direct, to rev up opposition to renewed efforts to regulate firearms."
Snyhorst has ten limited liability corporations registered in the State of Arizona under his name. They include:
- TSE Enterprises, LLC
- DCI Properties, LLC
- DCI Group, LLC
- DCIG Holdings, LLC
- FLS-DCI, LLC
- FYI Messaging, LLC
- SIJN, LLC
- Goodsijn, LLC
- Autocall, LLC
- DCI Companies, Inc.
During the 2004 election cycle, DCI Group, FLS-DCI and FYI Messaging took in $17 million from the Bush campaign and the Republican Party according to FEC data released on October 30, 2004 and posted on the Center for Responsive Politics website. Progress for America, a 527 committees associated with the DCI Group, spent $2.62 million on services provide by FYI Messaging, TSE Enterprises, and DCI Group. In other words, of the $28.8 million PFA spent on the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign nearly 10 percent ended up with Synhorst's affliated LLCs.
Tradenames registered in Arizona to Synhorst's companies include:
In the State of Minnesota, FLS-DCI, LLC is registered to the same Arizona address as the Arizona registration.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Joshua Micah Marshall, "Mr. Gates Goes to Washington," American Prospect, July 17, 2000.
- "Firm polling Montanans about deregulation, sending letters to sign," Associated Press, June 24, 2001
- Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, "Lobbyists Try to Parlay a Presidential Campaign," Washington Post, April 12, 2004.