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Russo Marsh & Rogers

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Russo Marsh & Rogers (RM+R) is a Republican Party-affiliated political public relations firm based in Sacramento, California.

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. [1]

Campaigns

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" [2]. 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." [3] 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. [4]

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

The WWW.CENSURECARTER.COM website, the product of Move America Forward, was created for the swiftboating of President Jimmy Carter, John Amato of Crooks and Liars posted May 22, 2006.

"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. [5]
See:

"Truth Tour"

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." [6]

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. [7]

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.

Personnel

Principals

No longer listed

"Until 2003, Tony Marsh and Lance Copsey [of Marsh Copsey & Associates ] had been associated with ...Russo Marsh & Rogers."[1]

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.

2001/2002 cycle

Name of politician, and amount paid to RM+R or variants thereof:

The total take from Republican politicans for the 2001/2002 cycle is thus $2,475,223. RM+R does not appear to have been paid money by any Democrat politicans in the same cycle.

History

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 [13].

December 1998-January 1999: Russo Marsh and Raper

Between December 1, 1998 [14] and January 28, 1999 [15], 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 [16].

March 2000-August 2002: RM+R/RM+C partnership

Between at least March 2, 2000 [17] and May 17, 2001, [18], 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 [19], www.rmrweb.com redirects to www.russomarsh.com. However, an examination of the archived versions of the employees page [20] shows that on August 3, 2001 [21], 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):[2] 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 [22], 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 [23].

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 [24]. 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.

Contact information

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

References

  1. Muriel Kane, "GOP organization linked to dirty politics, attempted coups, 'building democracy' for US," Raw Story, June 9, 2006.
  2. CAMPAIGN STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATIONS (wkr86d00). Russo Marsh & Raper (circa November 2000). Retrieved on 2010-02-06.

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

Websites

External articles

2001

Bill Berkowitz, "Dumping Barbara Lee. The odd political imaginings of Audie Bock and California's GOP," WorkingForChange, October 24, 2001.

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006