Dewey Square Group

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Dewey Square Group (DSG), founded in Boston in 1993, is a public affairs firm with specialties in "grassroots" and "grasstops" campaigns, strategic communications, coalition building, state and local affairs, international practice, and political campaigns.[1] In August 2006, it was bought by the WPP Group,[2] and in 2012, WPP merged DWG into Hill+Knowlton.[3] In 2005, DSG had unaudited revenues of $12.5 million and gross assets of $2.9 million.[2] Because it is a private company, more recent figures are not readily available. The firm's key personnel are:[4]

  • Charles M. Campion, Co-founder, Chairman of the Board, and Principal
  • Michael J. Whouley, Co-Founder and Founding Partner
  • Charles A. Baker III, Co-founder and Founding Partner
  • John Giesser, Chief Operating Officer (former executive director of Sen. John Kerry's Keeping America's Promise PAC and CEO of the "grassroots" technology company Spoken Hub)[5]
  • Lynda Tocci, Principal
  • Jill Alper, Principal and Head of Campaign Practice[6]
  • Jason Cohen, Head of "Grassroots" Practice[3]


2012: "Massive Campaign" for Pete Peterson's "Fix the Debt"

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem."

Proof Integrated Communications' ad campaign for Peter Peterson's "Fix the Debt" organization (Source: PR Week, 11/16/12)

With a staff of 80 and a budget targeted to $60 million, $40 million of which was raised by February 2013, Fix the Debt is best described as an "Astroturf supergroup." According to PR Week, Fix the Debt has numerous Washington, D.C. PR firms/lobby shops helping it, many of whom also lobby for Fix the Debt firms. These include DCI Group,[7] Glover Park Group,[8] and Dewey Square Group,[9] which have lobbied for multiple Fix the Debt corporations in multiple years. For example, DCI Group lobbied for Morgan Stanley on tax issues in 2006[10] and 2007.[11] Fix the Debt is also using Proof Integrated Communications (PIC), a unit of the PR firm Burson-Marsteller, for its aggressive advertising push.[2] As Fix the Debt creates more Astroturf state chapters, they also engage PR firms at the state level to carry their message.

In the run-up to the “fiscal cliff,” these firms launched a flashy $3 million media ad campaign, blanketing Capitol Hill with TV, Internet, Metro and newspaper ads.[12] PIC's portion of the campaign included "parody recreations of well-known advertising slogans," such as: the slogan "i'm fixin' it" on a carton of fries to imitate the McDonald's "i'm lovin' it" campaign; the slogan "Got debt?" to imitate the famous "Got milk?" dairy ad campaign; and the slogan "Just fix it" to imitate the Nike "Just do it" campaign.[2]

Fix the Debt CEOs are treated with fawning respect by the mainstream media. Fix the Debt’s David Cote "brings serious financial muscle to the table" when he pushes "market credible solutions," says the Wall Street Journal.[13] Cote is free to lecture the country on the hazards of Social Security, given his $78 million dollars in personal pension assets. The fact that he underfunds his employees’ pensions by $2.7 billion[14] is never noted; and the fact that he heads a company paying a negative tax rate (-0.7 percent)[15] is apparently not considered relevant.

December 2012 TV ad produced for Fix the Debt

The campaign had the most presence in the Washington, D.C. area, but Bassik said that "future iterations of the effort will use images of regular people to show lawmakers that constituents also want a bi-partisan deal to take place." Fix the Debt's other PR agency partners, DCI Group, Glover Park Group, and Dewey Square Group, were to do additional research and "find average citizens."[2] Dewey Square and DCI are also handling "grass-roots outreach" -- i.e. Astroturf -- for the campaign, according to Politico, and "firms are still pitching the coalition, hoping to get business for potential television ads" as of December 5, 2012.[16]

On December 16, 2012, Fix the Debt released its first television ad (see video), with a six-figure buy, featuring "interviews with several Americans who talk about their concerns over America’s debt" and accompanying text, "We need to do more than avoid the fiscal cliff."[12]

Burson-Marsteller's Johanna Schneider told PR Week that the ad campaign was the biggest public policy campaign she had seen in some time. It also included full-page ads in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Roll Call, Politico, and National Journal.[2] Politico reported of Fix the Debt's campaign, "Message men, lobbyists, grassroots firms[,] and lawyers are raking in cash . . . It's a classic Washington phenomenon: Ahead of a major deal, corporate clients and other groups pay a premium to the Washington influence machinery to make sure their interests are protected."

This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of Pete Peterson's Campaign to "Fix the Debt." Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt.

About Fix the Debt
The Campaign to Fix the Debt is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem." Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at and in the Nation magazine.

2010: Sending Forged Letters to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission

In December 2010, DSG and a subcontractor publicly admitted to sending forged letters about a proposed derivatives trading rule to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the name of business leaders and Arkansas residents, including correspondence claiming to be from J.H. Heinz and Burger King Co. executives, according to O'Dwyer's PR.[17] Bloomberg reported in November that DSG had been "hired to influence how regulators will implement rules for derivatives trading," but the firm would not disclose its client(s).[18] "Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. was among the financial companies that lobbied Congress on the issue raised in the letters, ownership of derivatives clearinghouses, during the debate over the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory overhaul last year. Nasdaq’s chief spokesman said yesterday that the company would have no comment on whether it had hired Dewey Square," Bloomberg later reported. CFTC chairman Gary Gensler said that he had referred forged the comment letters, which violate the federal False Statements Act making it a felony to send false statements to regulators, to the Justice Department.[19]

2009: Faking Letters to the Editor on Medicare Advantage

According to In These Times, DSG represented America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a health insurance lobby association, in a fight against a provision of President Obama's then-proposed health care reform that would cut back on Medicare Advantage, a privately managed alternative to traditional Medicare. But DSG carried out the work by fabricating letters to the editor as senior citizens without those citizen's permission.[20]

The editor of the Halifax-Plympton Reporter, in Marshfield, Massachusetts, reported receiving a letter to the editor in early 2009 urging "that people contact their congressman about the Medicare Advantage program," a "sort of privatized health plan paid for via the recipient's Medicare. Reportedly, there's some interest in doing away with the program." The actual, physical letter was in the name of a local resident, but it didn't mention any of the local Congressional delegation, which the newspaper's editor, Matthew Nadler, found strange. So, he called the local resident who had supposedly written and mailed the letter. "He had no idea what I was talking about," Nadler reported. Then, "I got a phone call Monday from a young man who said he was calling on behalf of the letter's non-writer. I told him what happened, and I think I had some pointed words about what was a pretty sleazy use of an elderly person. I asked the caller who he was and who he worked for. Which, not surprisingly, I suppose, he declined to tell me." However, Nadler could see his phone number, and traced it back to the Dewey Square Group. Nadler noted that DSG's "Web site doesn't list their clients, but it doesn't take a genius, or a newspaper editor, to figure out they've been hired by someone with an interest in keeping Medicare Advantage in business." The firm's site "promises 'grassroots' communication," he added, but "it looks more like Astroturf from here."[21]

Another Massachusetts paper, The Eagle-Tribune reported receiving similar fake letters to the editor. The tip-off for them was when Noah, really "an intern at the Boston office of the Dewey Square Group," called about one of the letters, claiming he was the letter writer's grandson. But the woman whose name was on the letter doesn't have a grandson named Noah, and didn't send the letter. Dewey Square carried out the fake letter campaign "under the banner of 'The Coalition for Medicare Choices,'" also "bringing seniors to 'Medicare Advantage Community Meetings,' featuring 'free food' and 'door prizes,' with congressmen and senators, and offering them sample letters to Congress or local newspapers." Dewey Square's Mary Anne Marsh claimed, "No one's trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes." Instead, she suggested that "the time that elapsed between the meetings when the seniors saw the letters and the letters' arrival at the newspaper may have clouded some memories." The campaign came after Democratic proposals, backed by President Obama, to cut funding to Medicare Advantage and use "the savings to expand health care coverage for all." [22]

2002: Aiding Enron Auditor Arthur Andersen

In early 2002, following the collapse of Enron and the accounting firm Arthur Andersen's (now called Accenture) federal indictment for obstruction of justice, in connection with its audit of Enron, Arthur Andersen "hired Dewey Square Group of Boston, a public relations company, to help it organize its efforts to lobby support from Congress and other high-ranking leaders," reported the Washington Post.[23]

Of the Andersen campaign, the Post wrote, "The Justice Department is so bombarded with calls from Arthur Andersen LLP employees and their families that it has set up a hot line to take messages. ... The accounting firm's employees aren't just organizing rallies and printing T-shirts expressing their indignation at the indictment. They are also ginning up a grass-roots protest campaign that includes e-mails, letters and phone calls to anyone in government they think might listen. ... Andersen officials estimate that the firm's partners, employees and families have sent more than 20,000 letters and e-mails to Congress alone and are working to set up meetings or have scheduled meetings with 23 members of Congress."[23]

The Washington Post article describes one letter "written by a 10-year-old to his father," an Andersen partner, which read in part, "Dear Dad, I hope that you will be able to find a new job if your business is shut down. . . . Please let me know when you know what is going on with Andersen v. the Justice Department." The letter was forwarded to President Bush and the head of the Justice Department's criminal division, Michael Chertoff.[23]

2001: Lobbying for Dead People

On August 23, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported, "Letters purportedly written by at least two dead people landed on the desk of Utah Atty. Gen. Mark Shurtleff earlier this year, imploring him to go easy on Microsoft Corp. for its conduct as a monopoly. The pleas, along with about 400 others from Utah citizens, are part of a carefully orchestrated nationwide campaign to create the impression of a surging grass-roots movement." ("Another letter came from 'Tuscon, Utah,' a city that doesn't exist," noted the Times.)[12]

The letter drive was carried out by two Microsoft-funded front groups, called Americans for Technology Leadership (ATL) and Citizens Against Government Waste. According to the Los Angeles Times article, "To assist it in the grass-roots campaign, Microsoft turned to two of the nation's top political advocacy groups: Boston-based Dewey Square Group, co-founded by Al Gore campaigner Michael Whouley, and Phoenix-based DCI/New Media, led by Republican strategist Tom Synhorst."[12]

Even some actual residents asked to send letters as part of the pro-Microsoft campaign said they were misled: "Some residents who fielded ATL's calls believed the states themselves were soliciting their views, according to the attorneys general of Minnesota, Illinois and Utah. When a caller started asking Minnesotan Nancy Brown questions about Microsoft, she thought she was going to get help figuring out what was wrong with her computer," reported the Los Angeles Times. When told about the Microsoft-funded campaign, one Minnesota resident who sent a form letter to the state's attorney general told him, "I sure was misled."[12]

Astroturf and "Grasstops" Lobbying

DSG formerly described itself as a "preeminent grassroots management firm" with "a national network of state operatives experienced in implementing effective strategies to generate local support for public policy issues."[24] As of 2013, the "grassroots" practice page of the firm's website featured a picture of the Wisconsin uprising of 2011 -- an actual grassroots uprising not managed by any PR firm nor ordered for any corporate client -- and says, "We work on behalf of many of the nation’s leading companies to build support in the communities and with the constituencies that drive the debates affecting Congress, the Administration, and all other levels of government."[25] According to the Washington Post, DSG "has been paid by General Motors Corp., the American Insurance Association, AT&T Corp., Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and Microsoft, among others, to drum up support from voters for legislation the companies advocate."[26] Other clients have included Northwest Airlines, UnitedHealth Group, the Alaska Oceans Program, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.[27]

DSG's campaign services include:, campaign internet support; Dewey Square Fusion (later called Whole Fusion Messaging),[28] a "cost-effective way for political campaigns to mine" consumer information gathered by companies and marketers for "more nuanced" messaging and communications targeting;[29] the Dewey Hub, robo-calling services;[30] and the Share Group, a full-service direct marketing firm.[31]

DSG's approach to lobbying "attempts to get prominent local citizens and organizations to lobby on behalf of interest groups. Unlike conventional lobbying, the technique does not require the firms' principals to meet with or even talk to lawmakers. . . . The method is considered effective because lawmakers usually do not even know that they've been lobbied."[24]

In 1996, the New York Times described the then-new phenomenon of grasstops lobbying this way: "Because mass mobilizations have become so prevalent, a number of firms have become experts in a technique known as 'grass-tops' lobbying, aimed at mobilizing an elite as opposed to the masses. The goal is to figure out to whom a member of Congress cannot say no: his chief donor, his campaign manager, a political mentor. The lobbyist then tries to persuade that person to take his client's side. If the method works, the member of Congress may never know that a person contacting him had been revved up by a lobbyist. To pull off this feat, Washington lobbying and public relations firms keep databases of organizers across the country, most of them with backgrounds in politics."[32]

In December 1997, CNN noted DSG's new lobbying style:

"Richard Pinsky, a former campaign operative for Pat Robertson and Bob Dole, works as a political detective. His job: to locate and bring into the lobbying fold what are known in the trade as 'once close tos.' On assignment from lobbying firms based in Washington, Pinsky is paid to find key individuals who were once close to lawmakers who are undecided on the legislation of the moment. He then ferrets out which of these confidants are willing to make the case to Sen. X or Rep. Y. In the argot of the multi-billion-dollar influence industry, Pinsky is doing grass 'tops' -- as opposed to grass 'roots' -- lobbying, since he avoids hoi polloi and zeroes in on those few people whom lawmakers know and whose opinions they trust.[33]
"When Pinsky was hired recently by the Dewey Square Group, a public relations and political consulting firm, to rally support for 'fast track' legislation, he called an old ally, former Republican Gov. Bob Martinez. Martinez, in turn, discussed the issue with fellow Tampa resident and Democratic Congressman Jim Davis. Davis, an impressionable freshman, is now a firm yes on the free-trade measure. Although Davis' spokesman insists the Martinez talk didn't affect the Congressman's vote, the little chat certainly didn't hurt. Nor did any of the casual-but-premeditated contacts made on fast track by another Pinsky recruit, former Florida Secretary of Commerce Charles Dusseau; he wrote to Congresspersons and fellow Democrats Corrine Brown, Peter Deutsch, and Robert Wexler.[33]
"Dewey Square is just one of several firms, such as Direct Impact and Lunde & Burger, that now maintain nationwide networks of politically wired operatives who are willing to reach for their Rolodexes in between their election-year gigs to help make ends meet. Campaign professionals like Susan Swecker of Virginia, Ken Benson of Texas, and Tylynn Gordon of Montana are becoming the new breed of influence peddlers. Yet they don't need to register as lobbyists in Washington. They don't even set foot in the city they affect so deeply."[33]

According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, DSG partners with local firms in order to maximize its "grasstops" connections. One example is the Democratic, Indianapolis-based Gibson & Leppert, who DSG works with "when national organizations represented by Dewey target federal lawmakers from Indiana."[34]

Ties to 527 Groups

DSG "consults for two of the big Democratic 527s, while top officials -- walled off from that work, the firm says -- play key roles for Kerry and the Democrats," according to Newsday[35] According to the Saint Paul Pioneer Press, the closest DSG-Kerry-527 connections are through the 527 group America Coming Together. DSG has served as a paid consultant for both the Kerry campaign and ACT; DSG partner Minyon Moore "has advised the Kerry campaign and is on the executive committee of [ACT]."[36] According to the Washington Post (Jul. 30, 2004), ACT "hired a phone-bank operation owned by the Dewey Square Group."[37]

These ties have prompted criticism that the 527 groups, which cannot by law coordinate with candidates' campaigns, are in effect doing so through shared personnel. But Roll Call (Aug. 30, 2004) notes, "When Republicans were drawing up an FEC (Federal Election Commission) complaint against ACT... they decided to keep Dewey Square out of it because when GOP officials looked into it, they found that the firm did 'have the proper firewalls set up.'"[38]

The other 527 with DSG ties is Stronger America Now; DSG's Melanie Hudson is the group's director. Stronger America Now's purpose is "to accept donations in order to make disbursements to indirectly influence the selection, nomination, election or appointment of an individual to a federal, state, or local public office or office in a political organization, without expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate for such an office," according to[39] The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the group raised and spent more than $2.5 million, mostly on ads, in the 2004 election cycle.[40] The Los Angeles Times wrote that "Stronger America Now has run ads in Wisconsin that attack ties between Bush and the Saudi royal family. ... The group, which a Democratic source said was funded by trial lawyers, also has run ads in Dayton, Ohio, that criticize Bush as a tool of big corporations and defend Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, a North Carolina senator."[41]

According to the Center for Public Integrity, DSG received payments from four different 527 groups from 2000 to 2004: The Partnership for America's Families (now associated with Americans Coming Together), Communications Workers of America Non-Federal Separate Segregated Fund, the Gore/Lieberman Recount Committee, and the National Conference of Democratic Mayors. The same database shows DSG contributing $2,500 in 2003 to another 527 group, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.[42]

Ties to the Democratic Party

DSG, which has historically worked extensively with Democrats, has routinely partnered with Feather Larson & Synhorst DCI, a Republican-leaning lobbying firm.[26] In 2003, DSG merged its international operations with London-based Morgan Allen Moore.[43] The Washington DC-based newspaper Roll Call has called DSG "the powerhouse public affairs firm with close ties to just about every important Democratic politician in the country."[44]

In 2007, the firm launched "DSG LATINovations," led by former Democratic National Committee Communications Director Maria Cardona and former Congressional Hispanic Caucus Executive Director Maria Robles Meier, along with Cynthia Jasso Rotunno and Carissa Fana. In a press release, the firm said that DSG LATINovations would "help the public and private sectors build relationships with, navigate and successfully tap into the distinct and growing communities throughout" the U.S. Hispanic population.[45] In 2012, the firm's website explained, "Latinovations has deep and lasting relationships among the nation's Hispanic communities that come from almost two decades of work and cooperative efforts on many issues important to the community's leaders. . . . Latinovations also produces one of the fastest growing blogs about Latino political news, La Plaza."[46]

Kerry Campaign 2004

Several DSG staff joined Senator John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign as advisers or staff, including Jill Alper, Minyon Moore, Jeremy Van Ess, Anne Sheridan, Charles M. Campion, Charles A. Baker III, and Michael J. Whouley. [1] [2][26] [3] [4]

DSG provided "broad-gauge political advice to John F. Kerry" for some time; "Whouley received $14,000 in expenses for swooping into Iowa this year and helping to pull off a come-from-behind victory for Kerry in the caucuses there," reported the Washington Post. (Kerry, following his Iowa win, referred to his adviser as "the magical Michael Whouley."[5]) The Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Jul. 24, 2004) wrote that Whouley and fellow DSG staff Joseph A. Ricca "did as much as any operative on the ground in Iowa to swing the upset for Mr. Kerry," including gaining the support of John Mauro, a politically powerful Polk County supervisor, and the endorsement of Christie Vilsack, the wife of Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. The Boston Herald (Sept. 12, 2004) noted, "Top Dewey Square officials such as Chuck Campion and Charles Baker are also longtime Kerry advisers." The Boston Globe (Jul. 28, 2004) reported that DSG partner Charles Baker had raised $64,000 for the Kerry campaign, with Chuck Campion's and Michael Whouley's help.

During the Democratic National Convention in Boston, DSG hosted a cocktail party that received media attention when Maria Shriver, a Kennedy family member whose Republican husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, had recently won California's gubernatorial recall election, wrote Associated Press (Jul. 26, 2004). The convention party, co-sponsored by DSG, Pepsi and Harpoon Brewery, "honor[ed] the Massachusetts and North Carolina delegations - the home states for Kerry and his vice presidential running mate, Sen. John Edwards," and cost an estimated $80,000, according to Associated Press (Jul. 25, 2004).

Other Democratic Campaigns

Other Democratic presidential nominees worked with DSG staff during the 2004 primaries: Nick Baldick managed John Edwards' presidential campaign (and was New Hampshire state director for the Gore campaign in 2000), DSG's Kiki McLean was a volunteer spokeswoman for Joseph I. Lieberman, and DSG's John Lapp ran Dick Gephardt's Iowa campaign.[6][7] Former Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi, in response to an offer of help from DSG's Baker, asked, "You're with Edwards, you're running Kerry, Alper and Whouley are floating around. My question is, how does that work? Do you guys talk to each other?" [8]

According to the Boston Globe, DSG's Jill Alper "was instrumental in Jennifer Granholm's narrow victory in 2002 as Michigan's first elected female governor."[27]

In 2000, DSG's Catherine "Kiki" Moore ran Al Gore's campaign press office in Washington DC. "Her firm, which has received at least $10,000 in consulting fees from the Gore campaign, has lobbied for Visa, MasterCard and Northwest Airlines," reported The Nation (Nov. 15, 1999).[47]

It's common practice for corporate lobbyists to work with political campaigns, writes the Washington Post, since "heavyweight lobbyists are often made or broken by their performance as consultants to major-party candidates. Winning the White House is not essential; merely playing at the top level is credential enough."[48]

In the 2004 election cycle, the Democratic National Committee paid DSG nearly $200,000, mostly for "political consulting."[49] In the 2008 presidential election, the Center for Responsive Politics named DSG as one of Hillary Clinton's "creditor-contributors" because "Clinton owed $216,000 to advertising firm Dewey Square Group at the end of April [2008], yet the firm's employees have overwhelmingly and consistently supported her with their own money, giving $41,000 to her campaign -- 10 times what they gave to Obama's."[50]

In September 2007, DSG's David Barnhart was named Iowa caucus director for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.[51]

Political Donations

In the 2012 election cycle, DSG employees donated $141,893 to federal candidates, primarily Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.[52]

"In 1999 and 2000, people working for Dewey Square donated $58,000 to Democratic political candidates, from Gore to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and five of the 10 U.S. House members in Massachusetts," reported the Boston Globe. In 2003 to May 2004, "donations from Dewey Square employees ballooned to $124,000. They were spread across seven of the 10 Massachusetts House members and four of the 10 contenders for the Democratic nomination, as well as party candidates throughout the country."[27]

Other Clients

According to the Center for Responsive Politics' "OpenSecrets" website, in 2011, DSG reported lobbying income from Joule Biotechnologies, the Medical Transcription Industry Association, and Reach Out & Read National Center.[53]

In 2010, DSG reported lobbying income from the Coalition for Responsible Nutritional Information, Joule Biotechnologies, the Medical Transcription Industry Association, Mentor Network, Reach Out & Read National Center, Shields MRI, and TelCo AG.[54]

In 2009 and 2010, DSG organized the "Earth Hour" campaign for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a coordinated lights-out campaign as a symbolic call to action on climate change.[55] In 2009, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda hired DSG's "LATINovations" to "help develop and execute the 2009 Latino Inaugural Gala. . ."[56] In the first quarter of 2009, DSG reported lobbying income from the Coalition for Responsible Nutritional Information, Joule Biotechnologies, the Medical Transcription Industry Association, Mentor Network, Reach Out & Read National Center, and Shields MRI.[57]

In the first quarter of 2008, DSG reported lobbying income from AT&T, Barnes & Noble, Bloom Energy Corp, Coca-Cola Co, Countrywide Financial, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Mentor Network, Reach Out & Read National Center, and Shields MRI.[58]

DSG lobbied for Citigroup in 2007, according to the Boston Globe.[59]

The database listed the following as DSG clients in 2004: AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), Allegiance Healthcare Corporation, American Insurance Association, Americans for Technology Leadership (ATL), Blue Cross Blue Shield, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Collegiate Funding Services, Countrywide Mortgage Corporation, Diageo, DuPont, General Motors Corporation, Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), Internet Tax Moratorium Coalition, Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, National Education Association of the U.S., Purdue Pharma, Starbucks Coffee Corporation, United Health Group, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.[60]

The Center for Responsive Politics' lobbyist database lists the following DSG clients by year (lobbying contract amount listed in parenthesis, when available):

The U.S. Senate Office of Public Records also lists the International Fund for Animal Welfare as a DSG client in 2001-2002, for "grassroots and public affairs consulting."[65] The Senate records also indidate that DSG lobbied for the Digital Equipment Corp. on "regulatory issues,"[66] for MasterCard and Visa on "bankruptcy reforms,"[67][68] for AT&T on "telecom and telecom related issues,"[69] for Stone & Webster on "amendments prohibiting commercial lightwater [nuclear] reactors from producing tritium and related matters,"[70] for the Uniform Standards Coalition on the "establishment of uniform standards for securities litigation,"[71] and for Northwest Airlines on the "U.S./Japan Air Passage Agreement."[72] The Boston Globe (Dec. 8, 1999) wrote that AT&T had retained DSG for lobbying on the issue of internet service providers seeking "'open access' to the Internet through broadband cable television systems."[73]

The Boston Herald (Jan. 17, 2000) reported that DSG's Michael Whouley "set up two special meetings with administration officials for Northwest, which was engaged in a high-stakes battle with other airlines over lucrative Japanese trade routes." The article mentioned several other DSG campaigns: [74]

"Dewey Square earned $ 513,000 for a seven-week lobbying blitz focused on building grass-roots support for USA-NAFTA, group pushing for congressional approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In 1995, Dewey Square was paid $ 892,017 lobbying for The Accounting Coalition, an industry group of accounting professionals seeking help in the huge legislative battle over securities litigation reform, another Clinton priority. Other Whouley clients included an accountants trade group and a business industry association seeking to make permanent the most-favored nation status enjoyed by China."[74]

"Under previous Mayor Emanuel Cleaver, [Kansas City, Missouri] paid the Dewey Square Group about $75,000 in 1998-99 for Washington lobbying," reported the Kansas City Star (Jul. 15, 2000).[75]

The Boston Herald (Nov. 20, 1997) explained in more detail DSG's work for the following clients:

  • Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration
    • Fee: $ 120,000 for 1996. $ 20,000 for first half of 1997.
    • Issue: Congress last year voted to phase out a tax credit that gave billions of dollars in subsidies to large drug, electronics and soft-drink companies investing in Puerto Rico.
  • Emergency Committee For American Trade
    • Fee: $ 202,000 in 1996.
    • Issue: The Emergency Committee is comprised of U.S. business groups seeking to give China permanent most-favored-nation trade status.
  • USA*NAFTA, The Wexler Group and G.E. Corp.
    • Fee: $ 513,000 for a seven-week lobbying blitz focused mainly on building grassroots support on the state level.
    • Issue: The North American Free Trade Agreement[76]

In 1997, DSG's Florida office worked for Tampa General Hospital, "to reach 'grass-roots' constituencies" concerned with plans to turn the public hospital "into a private medical facility," reported the Tampa Tribune (Apr. 17, 1997). DSG's staffer on the hospital account, Karl Koch, said the community "would suffer if Tampa General failed but benefit if it survives, even if private." The Tribune story noted that DSG also assisted Wal-Mart "in overcoming local opposition to a construction of a store in Plainville, Connecticut."[77]

The Hartford Courant (Jan. 12, 1995) further described the DSG-organized "Citizens For Wal-Mart" campaign: "A group of Wal-Mart supporters emerged from a shy silence Wednesday and vowed to fight for what they say will be a 'golden opportunity' to give Plainville tax dollars and jobs. While Wal-Mart opponents wielded Stop-The-Wal signs in the snow, 26 residents met at the local Howard Johnson Lodge to plot strategy, urging each other to write letters to newspapers and speak up at meetings in favor of the huge discount store. ... 'Open support is contagious,' said Joe Ricca, whose development consulting firm, Dewey Square Group, was hired by Wal-Mart's developer to organize support for the store, proposed for Northwest Drive, off Route 177."[78]

"The Wampanoag Tribal Council has confirmed the selection of Charles Campion and his firm, the Dewey Square Group, as lead consultant on the continuing effort to build a casino in New Bedford," Massachusetts, reported the Boston Herald (Sept. 20, 1996).[79]

The Legal Times (Apr. 6, 1988) listed DSG's Jon Patrick Baskette, Charles Campion and Michael Whouley as lobbying for the "Visa coalition to reform bankruptcy system" on "Bankruptcy reform."



  • Charles Baker III
  • Charles Campion
  • Charles Stefanini
  • Denis Kennedy
  • Erik Balsbaugh
  • Janice Tatarka
  • Jennifer Manley
  • Joe Ricca
  • John Giesser
  • Kevin Mulvey
  • Lisa Yarid
  • Lynda Tocci
  • Mary Anne Marsh
  • Michael Whouley
  • Parisa Golkar
  • Paul Moran
  • Paul Pezzella
  • Tom McShane[80]


  • Brittany Jibby
  • Julia B. Wright
  • Karen Breslau
  • Margaret Lyons
  • Matt Rodriguez
  • Rob Sebastian
  • Robert Rodriguez
  • Tamara Torlakson[81]


  • Brandon Hynes
  • Dan Lijana
  • Jill Alper
  • Paul Leahy
  • Summer Radtke[82]

St. Louis


  • Craig Sutherland[84]

Washington, D.C.

  • Alix Dejean
  • Anu Rangappa
  • Charles Campion
  • Elise Shutzer
  • Ellen Moran (chief of staff at the U.S. Commerce Department and President Obama’s first communications director;[85] also formerly of EMILY's List and the AFL-CIO[5])
  • Ginny Terzano
  • Joe Eyer, head of Hill+Knowlton's public affairs practice (former deputy campaign manager and director of political affairs for Senator Joe Lieberman’s presidential campaign and a political aide to Vice President Al Gore)[3]
  • John Giesser
  • Jua Johnson
  • Karin Johanson (former Executive Director, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC))
  • Lisa Mushaw
  • Maria Cardona
  • Matthew Fitting
  • Michael Whouley
  • Minyon Moore
  • Pat Ewing
  • Scott Shalett
  • Tim Chambers
  • Tony Welch
  • Vida Benavides[86]

Former Senior Staff

From their website (as of 2004) and other sources, as noted:

In January 2006, The Hill reported that Maria Robles Meier, "executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for the past three years, is departing to join the Los Angeles office of strategy giant Dewey Square Group," to "help the firm strengthen its national emerging-markets division."[88]

Contact Details

100 Cambridge St., Suite 1301
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: (617) 367-9929
Fax: (617) 742-6880

With seven offices in Washington, DC; Boston, MA; Tampa, FL; St. Louis, MO; Grosse Pointe, MI; Sacramento, CA; and Los Angeles, CA.

Articles and Resources

Featured SourceWatch Articles on Fix the Debt

Other Related SourceWatch Articles

External Articles

See Dewey Square Group: External Links


  1. Dewey Square Group, What We Do, PR firm website, accessed February 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Ted McKenna, WPP Group Acquires Dewey Square Group, PR Week, August 17, 2006. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "PRW" defined multiple times with different content
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Greg Hazley, WPP PUTS DEWEY SQUARE UNDER H+K (sub. req'd.), O'Dwyer's PR, September 24, 2012.
  4. Dewey Square Group, LLC: Snapshot, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, accessed February 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Andrew Joseph, Two Democrats Joining Dewey Square Group, National Journal, December 1, 2011.
  6. Dewey Square Group, LLC: People, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, accessed February 2013.
  7. DCI Group lobbied for Morgan Stanley on tax issues in 2006 and 2007, and in 2012 has lobbied for Verizon and ExxonMobil. Senate lobbying records.
  8. Glover Park Group has lobbied in 2012 for Visa, Inc., on tax issues. It has also lobbied for DuPont, Exelon, General Electric, JP Morgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, News Corporation, Pfizer, Sodexho, UnitedHealth Group and other corporations that would get tax breaks under Fix the Debt’s initiatives, and for the American Bankers Association and PhRMA. Senate lobbying records.
  9. Dewey Square Group has lobbied for AT&T, Citigroup and Visa. Senate lobbying records.
  10. DCI Group, Lobbying Report, filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client Morgan Stanley, July 1 - December 31, 2006.
  11. DCI Group, Lobbying Report, filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client Morgan Stanley, January 1 - June 30, 2007.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Melanie Mason, Fix the Debt hits the airwaves to influence 'fiscal cliff', LA Times, December 14, 2012. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "LAT" defined multiple times with different content
  13. Top CEO Is Go-Between in 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks, Wall Street Journal video, December 14, 2012.
  14. Sarah Anderson and Scott Klinger, Institute for Policy Studies, A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts, organizational report, November 27, 2012.
  15. Citizens for Tax Justice, Corporate Taxpayers & Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010, organizational report, November 3, 2011.
  16. Anna Palmer and Kate Brannen, The big business of the fiscal cliff, Politico, December 5, 2012.
  17. Greg Hazley, Firms Cop to Phony Letter Scheme, O'Dwyer's PR, December 1, 2010.
  18. Silla Brush and Clea Benson, Consulting Firm Says Arkansas Subcontractor Forged CFTC Comment Letters, Bloomberg, November 30, 2010.
  19. Silla Brush and Clea Benson, CFTC Refers Forged Comment Letters to Justice Department, Bloomberg, December 1, 2010.
  20. Mike Elk and Lee Fang, Unions Contract Out to PR Firms That Work for Anti-Worker Groups, In These Times, July 27, 2012.
  21. Matthew Nadler, "'Grassroots' letter campaign smells of fertilizer," Halifax-Plympton Reporter (Marshfield, Massachusetts), March 27, 2009.
  22. Ken Johnson, "Elderly used as front in letter-writing campaign: 'Grass-roots' effort looks more like Astroturf," The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Massachusetts), April 13, 2009.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Dana Hedgpeth, Andersen Supporters Widen Scope, Tactics (sub. req'd.), Washington Post, March 29, 2002.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Diane Farsetta, Dewey Square Gets Around, PRWatch, Fourth Quarter 2004, Volume 11, No. 4.
  25. Dewey Square Group, "Grassroots," PR firm website, accessed February 2013.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Lobbyists Take Leave to Advise Kerry Campaign, Washington Post, September 8, 2004.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Glen Johnson, Dewey Square quietly flexes its political muscle, Boston Globe, July 28, 2004.
  28. Dewey Square Group, Whole Fusion Messaging, PR firm website, accessed February 2013.
  29. Dewey Square Group, Dewey Square Fusion, PR firm website, archived by WayBack Machine April 7, 2005.
  30. Dewey Square Group, Dewey Hub, PR firm website, archived by the WayBack Machine June 5, 2012.
  31. Dewey Square Group, Dewey Square Group, Investment Team Acquire Leading Direct Marketing Firm, PR firm press release, June 9, 2003, archived by WayBack Machine May 9, 2005.
  32. Alison Mitchell, A New Form of Lobbying Puts Public Face on Private Interest, New York Times, September 30, 1996.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Washington's Power 25, CNN Fortune, November 18, 1997.
  34. Scott Olson, Lobbyists merge to balance political ties; KWK, Gibson & Leppert will combine services under The Corydon Group July 1 (sub. req'd), Indianapolis Business Journal, June 7, 2004.
  35. John Riley, 527s on the Campaign Trail; Millions for Ads Spark Doubts (sub. req'd), Newsday, October 7, 2004.
  37. Paul Farhi, Second-Guessing Birds of a Feather Flocking Together (sub. req'd), Washington Post, July 30, 2004.
  38. Amy Keller, Ginsberg Flap Puts Focus on Murky Rules (sub. req'd), Roll Call, August 30, 2004.
  39. Stronger America Now,, accessed February 2013.
  40. Center for Responsive Politics, Stronger America Now, campaign finance database, accessed February 2013.
  41. Nick Anderson, THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE; New Players in Ad Wars Join Established Voices (abstract only w/o sub.), Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2004.
  42. Center for Public Integrity, "Silent Partners, public interest investigative journalism project database, 2004. Link inactive as of February 2013.
  43. Dewey Square Group, Dewey Square Group Expands Services Into Europe; Merges International Operations with UK-based Morgan Allen Moore, PR firm press release, September 22, 2003.
  44. Josh Kurtz, Go West, Young Firm, Roll Call, February 13, 2003.
  45. Dewey Square Group, Dewey Square Group Launches DSG LATINovations, PR firm press release, October 2, 2007.
  46. Dewey Square Group, LATINovations, firm website, archived by WayBack Machine June 5, 2012.
  47. David Corn and Alex Bolton, The Gore Gang: Moving his Headquarters to Nashville Won't Distance Him from the DC Fixers (sub. req'd), The Nation, November 15, 1999.
  48. Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Lobbyists Try to Parlay a Presidential Campaign; Success After Election Can Depend on Outcome at Polls (sub. req'd), Washington Post, April 12, 2004.
  49. Center for Responsive Politics, 2004: Democratic National Committee, campaign finance and lobbying database, archived by WayBack Machine January 26, 2004, figures as of August 09, 2003.
  50. Luke Rosiak, Center for Responsive Politics, Clinton's Creditor-Contributors, OpenSecrets Blog, June 9, 2008.
  51. Lynda Waddington, Clinton Campaign Names New Caucus Director, The Iowa Independent, September 28, 2007.
  52. Center for Responsive Politics, Dewey Square Group: Summary, campaign finance database, accessed February 2013.
  53. Center for Responsive Politics, Lobbying: Dewey Square Group: 2011, lobbying database, accessed February 2013.
  54. Center for Responsive Politics, Lobbying: Dewey Square Group: 2010, lobbying database, accessed February 2013.
  55. Dewey Square Group, Earth Hour: A Recap, firm website, accessed February 2013.
  56. Dewey Square Group, LATINovations, firm website, archived by WayBack Machine June 5, 2012.
  57. Center for Responsive Politics, Lobbying: Dewey Square Group: 2009, lobbying database, accessed February 2013.
  58. Center for Responsive Politics, Lobbying: Dewey Square Group (2008), lobbying database, accessed June 2008.
  59. Frank Phillips, Governor made call on behalf of lender, Boston Globe, March 6, 2007.
  60. Dewey Square Group (sub. req'd), lobbying database, accessed 2004.
  61. Center for Responsive Politics, Lobbying: Dewey Square Group: 2000, lobbying database, accessed February 2013.
  62. Center for Responsive Politics, Lobbying: Dewey Square Group: 1999, lobbying database, accessed February 2013.
  63. Center for Responsive Politics, Lobbying: Dewey Square Group: 1998, lobbying database, accessed February 2013.
  64. Center for Responsive Politics, Lobbying: Dewey Square Group: 1997, lobbying database, accessed 2000?, site inaccessible as of February 2013.
  65. Dewey Square Group, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client International Fund for Animal Welfare, January 1 - June 30, 2002.
  66. Dewey Square Group, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client Digital Equipment Corp., January 1 - June 30, 1999.
  67. Dewey Square Group, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client MasterCard, January 1 - June 30, 1999.
  68. Dewey Square Group, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client Visa, January 1 - June 30, 1999.
  69. Dewey Square Group, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client AT&T, July 1 - December 31, 1999.
  70. Dewey Square Group, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client Stone & Webster, January 1 - June 30, 1999.
  71. Dewey Square Group, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client Uniform Standards Coalition, January 1 - June 30, 1999.
  72. Dewey Square Group, Lobbying Report, form filed with U.S. Congress on behalf of client Northwest Airlines, July 1 - December 31, 1999.
  73. Brian C. Mooney, HIRED GUNS TAKE AIM WITH BALLOT QUESTIONS (abstract only w/o sub.), Boston Globe, December 8, 1999.
  74. 74.0 74.1 Joe Battenfeld and Andrew Miga, Mass. Gore campaign uses lobbyist's office (sub. req'd.), Boston Herald, January 17, 2000.
  75. Lynn Horsley, Lobbying firm's contract goes to full City Council (sub. req'd.), Kansas City Star, July 13, 2000.
  76. Andrew Miga, His top clients, Boston Herald", November 20, 1997.
  77. Daniel Berger, PR firm aims for grass roots (sub. req'd.), Tampa Tribune, April 17, 1997.
  78. Isabelle de Pommereau, WAL-MART FANS UNITE IN PLAINVILLE, Hartford Courant, January 12, 1995.
  79. Business Briefcase, Boston Herald, September 20, 1996.
  80. Dewey Square Group, Who We Are: Boston, firm website, accessed February 2013.
  81. Dewey Square Group, Who We Are: California, firm website, accessed February 2013.
  82. Dewey Square Group, Who We Are: Michigan, firm website, accessed February 2013.
  83. Dewey Square Group, Who We Are: St. Louis, firm website, accessed February 2013.
  84. Dewey Square Group, Who We Are: Tampa, firm website, accessed February 2013.
  85. Greg Hazley, DSG Adds Obama Aide, New COO, O'Dwyer PR, December 2, 2011.
  86. Dewey Square Group, Who We Are: Washington DC, firm website, accessed February 2013.
  87. Lynda Waddington, Clinton Campaign Names New Caucus Director, The Iowa Independent, September 28, 2007.
  88. Lobby World, The Hill, January 25, 2006, archived by WayBack Machine May 13, 2006.