MSNBC’s Chris Hayes broke some news this morning. He obtained a memo from a DC lobbying firm spelling out a strategy to undermine Occupy Wall Street.
The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association.
CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead.
According to the memo, if Democrats embrace OWS, “This would mean more than just short-term political discomfort for Wall Street. … It has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.”
The memo also suggests that Democratic victories in 2012 should not be the ABA’s biggest concern. “… (T)he bigger concern,” the memo says, “should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies.”
CLGC is apparently closely tied to House Speaker John Boehner. Two of the partners, Sam Geduldig and Jay Cranford, worked for Boehner, and another, Steve Clark, has close ties to him.
The ABA claims that the memo was unsolicited and that they didn’t act on it.
You can check out the whole memo here. I don’t think there’s anything in there that’s surprising; of course Wall Street and K Street would try to counteract the protest movement, through both trying to discredit it (in particular, the memo says it wants to find the funders of the movement, with a reference to George Soros), and rehabilitating their own tarnished image. But it’s a pretty good insight into how the corporate lobbying machine views the Occupy movement.
Between this and the clear incidents of police brutality, the movement could be poised for sympathy in the eyes of the public.
UPDATE: David Donnelly at the Public Campaign Action Fund digs deeper into the clients of Clark, Lytle, Geldudig & Cranford, and finds basically a host of corporate fat cats.
American Bankers Association, $710,000
American Institute of CPAs, $550,000
Bloomberg LP, $201,000
Electronic Payments Coalition, $540,000
Investment Co Inst, $540,000
US Chamber of Commerce, $598,500
Donnelly said in a statement, “These four lobbyists have made themselves into poster children for the one percent who think they own Washington. If there’s something that belongs to all of us it’s our democracy, and we won’t let them control it anymore. It’s time to Occupy Democracy by advancing policies and ideas that give voice to the 99 percent of us like the Fair Elections Now Act.”