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Alexander Strategy Group

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."

The Alexander Strategy Group (ASG), a Republican Party-associated lobbying and political strategy firm with offices in Washington, DC, and Hong Kong, was founded in 1998 by Ed Buckham, Thomas D. DeLay's former Chief of Staff, "with a huge initial contract that DeLay secured from Enron. (The group also paid DeLay's wife a salary for several years.)" [1]

On its website AG boasts that "Unlike traditional lobbying firms, Alexander Strategy Group offers an integrated suite of advocacy services that includes government affairs, strategic consulting, public relations, grassroots development, creative media, international representation, coalition building, business development and corporate/crisis communications." [2]

ASG has "worked extensively with the Executive and Legislative branches of government, been involved in numerous Presidential and Congressional campaigns, forged alliances with numerous conservative advocacy groups and worked at the highest levels of the international arena," according to a press release. [3]

On January 9, 2006, ASG announced it would be closing shop due to being "fatally damaged by publicity about the ongoing federal investigation into the affairs of" and "its ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former House majority leader Tom DeLay." [4]

Alexander Strategy Group in the K Street Gutter

"Representative Tom DeLay's campaign to get Republicans to dominate Washington lobbying may have worked too well for the Alexander Strategy Group," writes Bloomberg. The lobbying and political strategy firm "has links to no fewer than three of the scandals convulsing the U.S. capital." Alexander Strategy Group (ASG) partner Tony Rudy "is now a focus of the federal investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff." Founder Ed Buckham "set up a South Korea junket for his old boss," DeLay, "that violated ethics rules." Lobbyist Jim Ellis "faces money-laundering charges in Texas along with DeLay." Lastly, ASG represents Group W Advisors, Inc., a defense contractor owned by Brent Wilkes, who "is one of the four un-indicted co-conspirators in a Nov. 28 criminal complaint for allegedly bribing" Representative Cunningham, who pled guilty to graft and resigned from Congress. [5]

"While Abramoff, DeLay and Randy 'Duke' Cunningham dominate the headlines," the Alexander Strategy Group (ASG) "deserves to be heavily scrutinized for its role in each of those scandals and others not yet on the mainstream radar," reported Jeremy Scahill in The Nation. "Recently, ASG was on the cutting edge of one of the fastest-growing industries ... private security," working for Blackwater USA and an image-boosting industry coalition, the International Peace Operations Association. ASG's clients also included Republican fundraiser and "Bush Pioneer" Brent Wilkes, whose companies have collected "some $90 million in military contracts" over the past decade. Previous to hiring ASG, Wilkes retained Patrick McSwain, Duke Cunningham's former chief of staff, as a lobbyist. McSwain went on to found another "high-powered GOP lobbying firm," Northpoint Strategies, whose clients included the Carlyle Group and Titan Corporation ("of Abu Ghraib fame"). Scahill concludes that such connections speak "volumes to how far and wide these investigations should extend." [6]

Personnel

"ASG was founded by Ed Buckham, the former chief of staff to Texas GOP Congressman and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, and Tony Rudy, a lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies and also a former top aide to DeLay. Other top partners are Mike Mihalke, Terry Haines, the former Staff Director of the House Financial Services Committee, and Ed Stewart, who handles the firm's international interests.

"Christine DeLay, Tom's wife, also receives a salary from ASG.[7] Her approximately $40,000 a year salary, though, is "for her job as chief executive officer" of Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee (ARMPAC).

"According to Tom DeLay's communications director, 'DeLay's wife is paid through the Alexander Strategy Group primarily as a bookkeeping arrangement... She does not keep an office at the firm and often works out of the couple's home.'" [8]

But Christine DeLay is not listed among the firm's 17 staff members on ASG's website. [9]

Other staff included:

Clients

Enron

Enron was ASG's biggest client; they received at least $411,000 from Enron between 1999 and 2001. [10]

"Ed Buckham and ASG were involved with a "secret 'grassroots' campaign -- spearheaded by Enron -- to deregulate energy markets... An outline for the plan was faxed to Tom DeLay's Washington office. It was printed on Alexander Strategy letterhead complete with Ed Buckham's name in print. The only problem was that Alexander Strategy's CEO was still in the employ of the federal government at the time... Alexander Strategy Group was, as Enron promised, awarded the $750,000 contract to drum up support for electric power deregulation -- a goal that Enron believed would open the $300 billion a year electric markets to Enron. The stealth campaign would operate out of an energy consortium dubbed, 'Americans for Affordable Electricity' -- a name that Californians would find bitterly ironic just three years later." [11]

Blackwater USA

The North Carolina-based private military contractor Blackwater USA hired ASG for crisis management, public and media relations as Blackwater - and private military contractors in general - came under increased public scrutiny following the public killing and mutilation of four employees in Fallujah, Iraq on March 31, 2004. [12]

On September 20, 2005, O'Dwyer's PR Daily reported: [13]

Anne Duke, a senior associate for ASG, has been serving as a media contact for [Blackwater USA] of late. Yesterday she issued a statement about the company's mourning of three Blackwater employees and a State Department official who were killed near Mosul, Iraq, by a suicide bomber on Sept. 18. Twenty-one Blackwater employees have been killed in Iraq.
Duke has not returned an inquiry from O'Dwyer's about the Blackwater/ASG relationship. Her job description on the ASG website says she implements PR plans, manages accounts and serves as a media contact for clients, in addition to legislative work.

Others

Other ASG clients include: [14] [15] [16] [17][18]

Contact Info

Alexander Strategy Group
Mike Mihalke, Senior Partner
3000 K St. NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-339-8900
Fax: 202-339-8927
Web: http://www.alexanderstrategy.com

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