Russo Marsh & Rogers
RM+R also appears to trade under the name King Media Group (KMG). The KMG website is nearly identical in appearance to that of RM+R and both operate from the same postal address. RM+ and KMG have separate main telephone numbers but share the same FAX number. Finally, RM+R and KMG share nearly the same management team.
On its website, RM+R is unequivocal about its area of expertise: "When it comes to winning elections, few firms can match the success of Russo Marsh + Rogers, Inc... At RM+R we think outside the box and we don't stop until you win."
"RM+R provides its clients (ranging from County Supervisor to President of the United States) a solid strategic plan combining direct mail, fundraising, research, broadcast advertising, audience targeting, etc.," its website states. 
Move America Forward
In June 2004, RM+R formed the non-profit, pro-Iraq War organization called Move America Forward. Its stated aim was to "to stand up and support the brave men and women of our Armed Forces" . One of its first high-profiled efforts was a campaign launched against the showing of Fahrenheit 9/11 (movie 2004) in movie theaters.
Move America Forward (MAF) is a conservative organization founded and headed by California Republican activists, talk show hosts and staff members of the public relations firm Russo Marsh & Rogers, which has strong ties to the Republican Party.
According to its website, MAF "is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization committed to supporting America's efforts to defeat terrorism and supporting the brave men and women of our Armed Forces."  MAF identifies their domestic opponents as "self-loathing liberal journalists and 'Blame America First' politicians" (June 29, 2005 email, titled "The War at Home - in America").
Melanie Morgan is chairman (sic) of Move America Forward. She is a columnist for WorldNetDaily, author of the book America Mourning, and is also a conservative radio talk personality at KSFO in San Francisco, California. Melanie Morgan gained national notoriety in the summer of 2006 when she suggested that Bill Keller, an editor of the New York Times, be killed in a "gaschamber" for the crime of "treason" after the Times' reporting on US government spying on Americans. 
Melanie Morgan has an email address with the Russo Marsh & Rogers PR firm:
Melanie AT RMRWest.Net
WHOIS Information for "Move America Forward" posted by WhatReallyHappened.com shows the history of website data related to RM+R.
"Similar to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth—the advocacy group that helped derail John Kerry's presidential campaign—Move America Forward has magnified its reach by making small television and radio ad buys and then relying on cable- and local-television news outlets to give the commercials heavy coverage. Move America Forward has no discernible formal ties to the White House or the Republican National Committee, and the group says it operates independently from the Republican Party establishment. Still, the organization provides a clear benefit to the administration by spreading a pro-war message that goes beyond what administration officials can say publicly," Yochi J. Dreazen and John D. McKinnon wrote in the December 28, 2005, Wall Street Journal Online.
Swiftboating Jimmy Carter
- "Since leaving office, President Jimmy Carter has repeatedly undermined U.S. foreign policy, criticized the missions of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, as well as embracing known terrorists and terrorist organizations," the website states. 
In July 2005, O'Dwyers PR Daily reported that "the Kurdistan Regional Government has hired Republican lobby firm Russo Marsh & Rogers to get 'free media' to promote the interests of the Kurds in the post-Saddam Hussein Iraq."
One goal of the Kurdish leaders is "the return of Kirkuk," an oil-rich northern Iraqi city populated by Kurdish and Turkmen people. O'Dwyer's notes that the head of RM+R, Sal Russo, is no stranger to international politics, having "worked on the campaign of Violetta Chamorro in Nicaragua." The Kurdish contract was announced as Move America Forward, a group RM+R helped found and whose "chief strategist" is Russo, is going to Iraq. Move America Forward's "Truth Tour" is bringing conservative talk radio hosts to Iraq, to "report the good news on Operation Iraqi Freedom you're not hearing from the old line news media." 
RM+R principal Joe Wierzbicki told journalist Bill Berkowitz that his firm's Kurdish campaign "will thank the American people for supporting the war in Iraq, and encourage Americans to visit and invest in the Kurdish region." Wierzbicki said RM+R is "not advocating an independent Kurdistan," but "the Kurds would like the rest of the country to look at the Kurdish region and see it as a model" for Iraq. The Kurdish campaign will likely be a short-term effort, including television and print ads, that will start in the late summer or early fall of 2005. "It's important to recognize that the Kurds are not hostile to the West," Wierzbicki added. 
Defend Reagan Committee
"The 'Defend Reagan Committee' was formed to defend the Reagan Legacy from a smear campaign waged by the creators, producers, writers and actors involved in the CBS miniseries 'The Reagans'," the committee's website (http://www.defendreagan.org/index.php/DefendReagan/AboutUs) states.
The Committee consisted of Move America Forward's Howard Kaloogian, chairman; and RM+R's Sal Russo, as chief political advisor, and Douglas Lorenz, as "Grassroots Coordinator".
The Defend Reagan Committee's address is a post office box in Sacramento, California.
- Sal Russo, founder and also a partner in Russo Watts & Rollins
- Ron Rogers
- Douglas Lorenz
- Teri Smith O'Rourke
- Joe Wierzbicki
No longer listed
As of August 17, 2006
Politicians with ties to Russo Marsh and Rogers
As outlined below, in the period between March 2000 and February 2003, Russo Marsh and Copsey, and later Russo Marsh Copsey and Scott, were part of the same company as RM+R. It is therefore legitimate to attribute the 2001-2002 electoral cycle contributions listed here to RM+R. It is unclear what if any association now exists between RM+R and Marsh Copsey and Scott, therefore the 2003-2004 contributions are not given on this page.
Name of politician, and amount paid to RM+R or variants thereof:
- Mark Foley (R-FL): $104,507 (as Russo Marsh and Associates) 
- Tom Latham (R-IA): $18,074 (as Russo Marsh and Copsey) 
- Thad McCotter (R-MI): $821,344 (as Russo Marsh Consulting Services) 
- Denny Rehberg (R-MT): $31,650 (as Russo Marsh and Copsey) 
- John M. Shimkus (R-IL): $1,499,648 (as Russo Marsh and Copsey) 
As is typical of public relations companies, the name and ownership of RM+R have changed over the years, as principals have joined and left. An understanding of the rather convoluted history of the company is necessary in order to be able to make statements with confidence about which politicians have retained the services of RM+R over the last few years. The following account is based on the archive of the current RM+R website http://www.rmrweb.com in the Internet Archive .
December 1998-January 1999: Russo Marsh and Raper
Between December 1, 1998  and January 28, 1999 , the domain rmrweb.com belonged to Russo Marsh and Raper, which had offices in both Washington, DC and Sacramento, CA. The DC office was run by Todd Burns, Lance Copsey, and Tony Marsh. The Sacramento office was run by Gregory Maw, Ron Petrich, Gene Raper, and Sal Russo .
March 2000-August 2002: RM+R/RM+C partnership
Between at least March 2, 2000  and May 17, 2001, , the homepage of www.rmrweb.com carries the logos of two sister companies: RM+R (based in Sacramento CA) and Russo Marsh and Copsey (RM+C) (based in DC). By July 21, 2001 , www.rmrweb.com redirects to www.russomarsh.com. However, an examination of the archived versions of the employees page  shows that on August 3, 2001 , the partnership between RM+R and RM+C is still in place, as the page carries both their logos with accompanying lists of their employees. Russo, Rogers, and Jeff Flint are now heading up RM+R, and Marsh, Copsey, and Leif Larson are heading up RM+C.
(As of circa November 2000 the RM&R document Campaign Strategy and Communications lists the following individuals at RM&R (besides Sal Russo, Tony Marsh and Gene Raper): Gregory Maw, a senior consultant; Lance Copsey, a Senior Account Executive; Todd Burns, a Senior Account Executive; Sandra Giarde, a senior consultant; Ronald Petrich, Controller and Systems Manager.)
August 2002-February 2003: RM+R/RMC+S partnership
By August 6, 2002 , RM+C has become Russo Marsh Copsey and Scott (RMC+S), and has relocated to Landover, MD. However, both companies are still listed as sister companies on the employees page of russomarsh.com. The last instance of this version of the page is February 15, 2003 .
From May 2003 on: RM+R
Then on May 28, 2003, http://www.marshcopsey.com/ appears in the Internet Archive. Tony Marsh and Lance Copsey appear to have parted company with Sal Russo and Ron Rogers, and are now describing their operation as Marsh Copsey and Scott (MCS). The RM+R and RMC+S partnership appears to have split up. This is consistent with the appearance in the archive of the current Russo Marsh and Rogers website on June 5, 2003 . Note that although the name still contains 'Marsh', Marsh is no longer listed as an employee or principal of RM+R. Tony Marsh and Lance Copsey's current firm is Marsh Copsey & Associates.
Russo Marsh + Rogers, Inc.
8795 Folsom Blvd, Suite 103
Sacramento, CA 95826
Phone: (916) 441-3734 Fax: (916) 441-6057 Website: http://www.rmrweb.com/
Articles and resources
- ↑ Muriel Kane, "GOP organization linked to dirty politics, attempted coups, 'building democracy' for US," Raw Story, June 9, 2006.
- ↑ CAMPAIGN STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATIONS (wkr86d00). Russo Marsh & Raper (circa November 2000). Retrieved on 2010-02-06.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Cindy Sheehan
- Kurdistan - The Other Iraq
- Melanie Morgan
- Move America Forward
- Pro-war lobby
- Public relations firms
- Public relations associations
- Public relations professionals
Bill Berkowitz, "Dumping Barbara Lee. The odd political imaginings of Audie Bock and California's GOP," WorkingForChange, October 24, 2001.
- Debra J. Saunders, "Simon hits the big time," Townhall.com, March 11, 2002.
- Patrick Mallon, "California Governor's Race: Paralyzed From Facing Reality," NewsMax, July 19, 2002.
- Bill Bradley, "The Fictional Candidate. Bumbling Bill Simon could provoke Democratic sweep," LA Weekly, August 14, 2002.
- Debra J. Saunders, "Rock Bottom," Townhall.com, October 15, 2002.
- Arnold Steinberg, "The Authoritative Guide to Why Bill Simon Lost," FrontPageMag.com, November 21, 2002.
- "Calling the Kettle Black: Ethically Challenged GOP Front Move America Forward Accuses the UN of Corruption," MaxBlumenthal Blogspot, February 23, 2003.
- Max Blumenthal, "California Confidential. Who are the mystery men behind the recall push?" The American Prospect, August 13, 2003.
- "Who Pays the Bills for 'MOVEAMERICAFORWARD.ORG'?" What Really Happened.com, June 12, 2004.
- Richard Leiby, "A Web Site's Push for Less Moore," Washington Post, June 16, 2004.
- Nicole Sperling, "Group puts heat on 'Fahrenheit'. Move America Forward pressuring theater owners not to show film," Hollywood Reporter (MSNBC), June 17, 2004. Comment June 19, 2004, from WhatReallyHappened.com: "Note that MSNBC fails to mention Russo Marsh & Rogers' strong ties to the GOP. - M. R."
- Denis Romero, "See No Evil. A Republican-affiliated group works to cool down Michael Moore’s 'Fahrenheit 9/11'," Los Angeles City Beat, June 24, 2004.
- Jackson Thoreau, "Move America Forward's Dishonesty Won't Stop Fahrenheit 9/11; Even Conservatives are Giving Positive Reviews and there are More Pro-democracy, Anti Bush Movies Coming," OpEdNews, July 3, 2004.
- Diane Farsetta, "Moving America One Step Forward And Two Steps Back," PR Watch, Third Quarter 2004, Volume 11, No. 3.
- Nancy, "Even the Ads are Lies," News Hounds, August 30, 2004.
- Steven C. Clemons, "TWN Scoop: 'Move America Forward' Allegedly Steals John Bolton Video," The Washington Note, March 24, 2005.
- Marie Therese, "Press Junket to 'Happy Iraq' - Journalism or Propaganda?" News Hounds, July 6, 2005.
- Bill Berkowitz, "The Selling of Brand Kurdistan. As chaos continues across much of Iraq, the governing authority is coming to yet another crossroads," Inter Press Service, August 1, 2005; WorkingForChange, August 11, 2005.
- "PR for the civil war. Republican PR Firm Helps Divide Iraq," Words Have Power Blogspot, August 2, 2005.
- Lakshmi Chaudhry, "Conservative moms for war," AlterNet, August 18, 2005: "Republicans are busy trying to manufacture their own version of Cindy Sheehan." re "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" campaign.
- Joe Garofoli, "She reopened debate about war, and, boy, is she hearing about it," San Francisco Chronicle, August 18, 2005.
- Lakshmi Chaudhry, "Who is Sal Russo?" AlterNet, August 18, 2005: "The man coordinating the conservative offensive against Cindy Sheehan has an extensive resume in dirty politics."
- Aine MacDermot, "Pro-Bush Caravan Funded by PR Firm with Strong Ties to GOP," Radio News America, August 24, 2005.
- MAF: Republican Shills," Crooks and Liars, August 24, 2005.
- The Punisher, "Republican Propaganda Machine Heats Up. This time they needed a PR firm to organize a 'grassroots' campaign. I wish I was kidding," The Obfuscation Report Blogspot, August 25, 2005.
- "Move America Forward Launched by Republican Shills," Crooks and Liars (After Downing Street), August 25, 2005.
- Hart Williams, "Swift Boat Moms in Winnebagos or, the Astroturfing of Cindy Sheehan," HartWilliams.com, August 30, 2005.
- "Move America Backwards," Words Have Power Blogspot, August 31, 2005.
- Jeffrey M. Barker, "Support the war! The war on terror has been good for Move America Forward. It’s brought the conservative activist group notoriety, cash and ratings," Sacramento News and Review, December 8, 2005.
- LeftofArizona, "New Ads Claim Saddam Did Have WMDs and Links to AQ," Daily Kos, December 27, 2005.
- Yochi J. Dreazen and John D. McKinnon, "Some Conservatives Return To Old Argument. Outside Advocacy Group Aims To Rally Support by Backing Bush's Initial Claims on Iraq," Wall Street Journal Online, December 28, 2005.
- James Joyner, "America Thanks You Ad (Video)," Outside the Beltway, June 19, 2006.
- Bill Berkowitz, "At Russo Marsh & Rogers the 'truth' is always on tour," Media Transparency, July 23, 2006: "Helping Move America Forward report the good news from its 'Truth Tour' in Iraq, and working on PR for the Kurdistan Regional Government, has given the California-based firm an opportunity to shape public opinion one story at a time."
- Eric Deggens, "Selling Iraq While Lebanon Burns," The Huffington Post, July 26, 2006.
- Aaron Glantz, "Critics Suspicious of Kurdish Representatives on US Tour," Free Speech Radio News, July 28, 2006.
- "Russo Marsh & Rogers Flacks for Iraq," PR Watch, July 31, 2006.
- Aaron Glantz, Kurdish "Thank You" a Republican Stunt?, Inter Press News Service, July 31, 2006; Asia Times, August 1, 2006.
- Charlie Smith, "Marketing the wars," Vancouver Free Press/Straight.com, August 10, 2006.
- Diane Farsetta, "Moving Foreign Investment Forward: A Strange PR Pick for Iraqi Kurdistan," PR Watch, September 27, 2006.
- Alicia A. Caldwell, "Iraq Kurdistan launches tourism campaign," Associated Press, October 20, 2006.