14 December 2015

Nice Work if You Can Get It

The lobbying operation Purple Strategies is lobbying for the NRA and for the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety:
The growing frequency of mass shootings has done little to change the political stalemate over guns in Washington, with gun rights and gun control groups each declaring that the latest massacre — for now, the one in San Bernardino — supports their diametrically opposed arguments.

In this environment, no one can predict the future of gun policy in America. But at least one thing is certain: The team of political consultants at Purple Strategies will get paid.

The partners at Purple Strategies — a bipartisan lobbying firm and consulting agency formed in 2008 through a merger of Issue & Image, a Democratic-led company, and National Media, a Republican campaign firm — have developed business relationships on both sides of the gun control debate, working with both the National Rifle Association and Everytown for Gun Safety, the umbrella organization for pro-gun control advocacy groups.

Everytown did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Officials from the NRA declined to provide a comment for this article — although they did ask us for more information about Everytown’s ties to Purple Strategies.

A spokesperson for Purple Strategies denied that the firm has relationships on both sides of the gun policy debate.


We had asked Morgante to describe what appeared to be a close relationship between Purple and National Media, Red Eagle Media Group, and the American Media & Advocacy Group, all of which had done work for the NRA.

“The founding partners of Issue & Image and National Media Public Affairs founded Purple, however, Purple Strategies operates independently and does not share clients or employees with any other company that you referenced,” Morgante wrote.

Notwithstanding Morgante’s claims, however, documents and business filings reviewed by The Intercept show considerable overlap between National Media and Purple Strategies when it comes to clients, staff, office space, and leadership.

Consider how this works for gun-related clients:

Everytown and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, two groups heavily funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg to enact gun restrictions, have relied on Purple Strategies’ Margie Omera and her firm, Momentum Analysis, for multiple polling services in 2014 and this year. Momentum Analysis was acquired by Purple Strategies in 2013. In a memo to Everytown, Omera identified herself as working for Purple Insights, “the in-house opinion research group at Purple Strategies.”

The NRA’s relationship with Purple and National Media is obscured through a network of affiliate companies. But documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission show that the NRA regularly buys political advertising through American Media & Advocacy Group and Red Eagle Media, two firms that share an address in Alexandria, Virginia, with Purple Strategies and National Media.

Records maintained by the Alexandria Circuit Court reveal that Red Eagle Media is an “assumed or fictitious” business created and owned by National Media. Robin Roberts, a co-founding partner of Purple Strategies and the president of National Media, registered the name.
They are laughing their way to the bank.


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