Author Archive

The Telecom Astroturf Lobby

Posted on: September 11th, 2013 by Eli Clifton 2 Comments
Verizon building

Verizon building (Flickr/gt8073a).

When the telecommunications industry sought federal rules that would allow it to charge customers more for high bandwidth products such as Hulu or Netflix than for other web services, there was no mystery in its motive: big money. Federal regulators stopped the move on grounds that it would hurt consumers and the industry lashed back with an expected army of lobbyists. It also quietly pursued another strategy that has not previously been reported: the creation of an elaborate illusion of grassroots support for protecting the telecommunications industry’s profits. (more…)

Hawkish Think Tank Nets Millions From Home Depot Founder, Wealthy Republicans

Posted on: August 8th, 2013 by Eli Clifton 7 Comments
Home Depot Co-Founder Bernard Marcus

Home Depot Co-Founder Bernard Marcus. (Flickr/Robert Huffstutter)

This story was first published by Salon.

If George W. Bush’s early — and adventurous — foreign policy was staffed by the American Enterprise Institute, the next generation of hawkish Republican undersecretaries of this or that might come from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The group has risen since its 2001 founding to become Washington’s premier hawkish think tank. But what has been less known is exactly who has been funding the outfit, and how much they’ve donated. (more…)

Meet the American Enterprise Institute’s Secret Foreign Donor

Posted on: June 27th, 2013 by Eli Clifton 10 Comments
Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou speaking to survivors of a disaster in Pingtung County, Taiwan, on Aug. 16, 2009. (Shutterstock/Shi Yali)

Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou speaking to survivors of a disaster in Pingtung County, Taiwan, on Aug. 16, 2009. (Shutterstock/Shi Yali)

This story was first published by The Nation.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has emerged as one of the Beltway’s most consistent advocates for the sale of advanced fighter jets to Taiwan. Previously undisclosed tax filings reveal that while issuing research reports and publishing articles on U.S.-Taiwan relations, AEI received a $550,000 contribution from the government of Taiwan, a source of funding the think tank has never publicly acknowledged. (more…)

The viral campaign to set a ‘red line’ for Iran

Posted on: January 24th, 2013 by Eli Clifton 3 Comments

A viral video calling on world leaders to a “set the red line” to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon has garnered over 1.3 million YouTube views thanks to a savvy social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter. (more…)

Middle East Forum bankrolls free speech defenses for critics of ‘Islamist threat’

Posted on: December 20th, 2012 by Eli Clifton 2 Comments

When the people sounding alarms over the ‘Islamist threat’ run into trouble with the law, the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project is increasingly the go-to funder tapped to mount defenses here and abroad.


The (Alleged) Kleptocrat’s Webmaster

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by Eli Clifton 2 Comments

Screen capture of the Qorvis-managed website of Equatorial Guinea's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, featuring an image of Teodorin.

Washington-based Qorvis Communications has continued to work on behalf of the president of Equatorial Guinea’s family and has managed the website of a government ministry currently in the crosshairs of international corruption investigations. (more…)

The DC PR firm behind Fiji’s Twitter accounts

Posted on: September 12th, 2012 by Eli Clifton No Comments

Qorvis Communications – a Washington-based public relations and lobbying firm – is deeply involved in managing the online and social media activities of the military coup government of Fiji, the firm’s government filings reveal. (more…)