I have learned from a friend of mine who is an excellent journalist who is generally sympathetic to and hangs with the neocon wing in the country that John Bolton himself reads my blog. Just to be fair in case any one knows who I’m talking about, this journalist strongly disagrees with me on Bolton.
I’m honored actually and hope that John Bolton respects and appreciates my right to raise questions about his candidacy for this very important role in the United Nations.
Assuming he is reading this, I would appreciate any comments that he has for his many enthusiastic fans in the ‘Move America Forward’ organization.
These folks really, really hate the United Nations. I have never received more hate mail filled with vulgar profanity than I have from people who are advocating for Move America Forward. Some of the email has been very reasoned, sensible discourse — and we can do what is done in a democracy, agree to disagree and go on and chase the votes. But this stuff has been nasty.
I have dug into Move America Forward and have found the following on a Center for Media & Democracy site:
Russo Marsh and Rogers (RM+R) is a political public relations firm based in Sacramento, California.
In June 2004, RM+R formed a front organization called Move America Forward. Its stated aim was to “to stand up and support the brave men and women of our Armed Forces”  (http://www.moveamericaforward.org/). However its chief preoccupation seemed to be a campaign against the showing of Fahrenheit 9/11 (movie 2004) in movie theaters.
RM+R also appears to trade under the name King Media Group. The website of King Media Group shows a nearly identical list of principals to that of RM+R, and it operates from the same postal address.
On its website (http://www.rmrweb.com/), RM+R is unequivocal about its area of expertise: “When it comes to winning elections, few firms can match the success of Russo Marsh + Rogers, Inc… At RM+R we think outside the box and we don’t stop until you win.”
I was once involved with a think tank, organized as a non-profit, 501c3 organization, and the founder-president was trying to figure out a way to extract his “sweat equity” from the organization. Well, these entities aren’t owned by individuals. They are given preferential tax status so that they play an important public good. Such organizations are schools, charities, AIDS hospices, and yes. . .think tanks and membership organizations.
This individual (who will remain unnamed) secured an agent to try and sell control of the non-profit think tank to a major public relations firm. The deal went like this. Effective control of the think tank would move to the PR firm which would position its senior staff and some of its primary corporate stakeholders in decisionmaking roles in the non-profit. The founder-president of the think tank would get a large consulting fee from the PR firm but would no longer be anything more than symbolically involved.
By the time that this got to the second major PR firm for consideration, I got wind of it — and used what leverage I had to snuff out the effort.
All that said, it is interesting to see a PR firm give birth to and build a non-profit organization like ‘Move America Forward’ and use the non-profit for political aims and presumably commercial.
In the “comments section” of The Washington Note, Joe Wierzbicki identifies himself as working “with a firm hired by Move America Forward.” The fact is that Joe works for the firm that created ‘Move America Forward’. At least, that is my understanding of it.
Anyway, optics are important, but so are systems of governance — and it is in fact, the “Oil for Food” scandal and faulty governance at the United Nations that so many ‘Move America Forward’ members are railing against (much of it coming by way of email to me). I would just caution those who are engaged in this game to make sure that the ‘Move America Forward’ organization is run well as a professional, non-profit organization that is not engaged in partisan political activity and serves the broad public good.
PR firms are usually motivated, as they should be, by the private interests of their principals. ‘Move America Forward’, if indeed created by the PR firm to fight Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11, should not be hiring that firm to do its PR work.
Well, that’s my view. Just wondering about that ‘conflict of interest’ problem.
Anybody have access to Move America Forward’s 990 tax forms?
— Steve Clemons