On Saturday morning, November 19, Chris Hayes, broke the story on his weekend show, Up With Chris Hayes, that the Washington D.C. lobbying firm of Clark, Lytle, Geduldig and Cranford (CLGC), sent an unsolicited memorandum to the American Banker's Association outlining a plan to neutralize any impact the Occupy Wall Street movement might have upon the upcoming 2012 elections. You can find that short video segment here: click here and can read the memorandum itself here: click here
The memo in question is quintessentially Republican; it seeks to instill fear in the Banker's Association that Democratic candidates will embrace "the growing and increasingly organized Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement to prevent Republican gains in Congress and the White House next year." The memo notes that such a tactic by Democrats is unsurprising because they historically adopt "extreme positions and movements to increase base voter turnout... ." Apparently, this tactic is not to be feared. Rather, it is the nexus of the Tea Party and the OWS movement, the overlapping interests of both movements in their "angered populism" which should terrify the banking industry since that nexus could result in Republicans failing in their role as sycophants for the banking elite. Republicans may no longer defend Wall Street, "and might start running against them too."
Worse yet, "This combination has the potential to be explosive later in the year when media reports cover the next round of bonuses and contrast it with stories of millions of Americans making do with less this holiday season." This oblivious sentence makes the situation sound like we are getting a few less presents from Santa this year than the bankers, rather than millions of Americans going without jobs, without food, without medical care, without homes, and without self-respect, as the bankers continue to collect their bonuses. Who are these lobbyists?
Of the four partners in CLGC, two have direct ties to House Speaker John Boehner. Jay Cranford joined the lobbying firm this year after leaving Boener's staff as the Speaker's assistant for policy. Sam Geduldig worked for Boener before Boener became Speaker. Their web page brags of these connections, among other things, such as their reputation for killing bills against their client's interests. These are not the good guys.
Chris Hayes makes the interesting point that this memo is just one we happened to find. There could be countless others quite similar floating around capitol hill. Let us examine, then, the strategy against OWS outlined in this memorandum. First, the cost is $850.000.00 for work performed within sixty days. CLGC's plan contemplates putting a cornerstone in place now so it can be affectively launched against OWS at exactly the right moment. The first pillar of their plan is a research survey done nationally, but mainly focusing upon the eight states considered mostly in play in 2012 and on specific groups in play: women, seniors, suburban voters, the GOP, and Tea Party voters. The states are: Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada, and New Mexico, with special emphasis on defeating Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio. This survey will be constantly updated to determine the political leanings of the selected groups and geographical regions, to refine messaging, determine how the Republican campaign is approached, and inform opponent campaign saliency (sic).
Second is opposition research. CLGC believes that OWS demonstrates signs of outside organization and funding. Their memorandum suggests they research who is funding the movement and why, and then cast doubt on the movement's motives, making it just another cynical player on the political scene. The memo specifically mentions George Soros as a likely financier. In addition to backers and funders, CLGC seeks to obtain background on "extremist leaders, policy positions, and rhetoric for the development of strategic polling and messaging." In other words, find somebody to say something that sounds anarchistic or communistic on camera, then run it on Fox as a leader's position on the OWS movement. Or, as the memo puts it, "...identify opportunities to construct fact-based negative narratives of the OWS for high impact media placement... ."
Finally, CLGC intends to use every resource at its disposal to obtain dirt on the OWS movement, from IRS records to intercepting or reviewing open source social media forms.
A spokesman for the American Banker's Association, Jeff Sigmund, acknowledged receipt of the memorandum, but stated it was unsolicited, and the ABA did not act upon it. For some odd reason, the memo was dated November 24, 2011.
This memo attempts to generate some business for a lobbying firm with strong ties to the Speaker of the House to create cover for Republicans to attack those who would attack the banking sector. It also threatens to cost those politicians who would back the 99% movement through guilt by association as the firm goes about its daily business of character assassination. My question is how dumb are our bankers that they would even consider paying for a service that is delivered with seeming glee by so many volunteers for free? If this is the opinion the low brows in the House Republican caucus have of the intelligence of the bankers, we really do need to get their hands off of our economy, or we are busted for sure.