A Lobby Shop’s Bottom Line

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According to this memo, in one month, September 1997, The Wexler group lists $640,850.33 in billings for its 25-member staff. Another monthly project memo lists what services were rendered for such largesse: for the American Dental Association ($4,000), The Wexler Group was trying to set up a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala; for General Motors ($25,000), the lobby shop was “monitoring regulatory reform”; for Owens Corning ($15,000), a former manufacturer of asbestos, The Wexler Group was offering help with product liability issues.

Burger King, another big client, paid The Wexler Group $15,000. The lobby shop’s chief duties include public relations and “general Washington representation.” A note in the margin of the project memo reports that a government study had cited Burger King for violating child labor laws. The margin note says that bad PR for Burger King is a good reason for Wexler to extract more money out of the fast-food giant, noting that the lobby shop should “revisit our contract; look for increased retainer.”

Back to “Doing Business With Despots

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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