Infamous Astroturf Lobbying Firm Behind New Anti-Health Reform Group
The new anti-health reform front group known as the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights, is being managed by the lobbying firm known as the DCI Group. After being contacted by ThinkProgress Tuesday afternoon about its sponsorship of CPPR’s press conference last week, DCI Group staffers acknowledged that they coordinate PR for the front group. Not be confused with Conservatives for Patients’ Rigths, another front group opposing health reform, CPPR has been organizing lobbying efforts against health reform and publishing op-eds across the country with misinformation about the public option.
Tom Synhorst, a former staffer to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Bob Dole, joined fellow right-wing operatives Doug Goodyear and Tim Hyde to form DCI Group in 1996. The firm quickly flourished working for the tobacco industry, coordinating a sophisticated astroturf campaign to build public opposition to tobacco regulations. Ironically, before helping to manage this “patients’ rights” campaign, DCI founded “Smokers’ Rights” groups across the country for the tobacco lobby. Indeed, DCI has specialized in manufacturing “grassroots” support — using telemarketers, PR events, and letter writing campaigns — to achieve policy results for narrow corporate interests:
– The DCI Group was retained by the pharmaceutical industry to whip up public opposition against House legislation that would permit the reimportation of FDA-approved drugs from Canada and elsewhere. [Washington Monthly, December/2003]
– The DCI Group worked with Republicans to form various “grassroots” front-groups to amplify President Bush’s call to privatize Social Security. [Center for Media and Democracy, 3/18/05]
– Chris LaCivita, a former DCI Group staffer, took a lead role in organizing the Swift Boat Veterans campaign to smear John Kerry and his war record. [CommonDreams, 8/31/04]