Monday, November 23, 2009

Greg Craig's Ties to Republican PR Firm

Also see: Karl Rove's buddy resigns post as WH Counsel

Obama's White House Counsel Has Ties to Republican PR Firm | August 5, 2009

The Obama administration's White House counsel has financial ties to a Republican-oriented government-relations firm in Washington, D.C., according to a whistleblower in the Don Siegelman case.

Greg Craig's most recent financial-disclosure form shows that he was paid by Ogilvy Government Relations, says Alabama attorney Jill Simpson. The firm had been known as the Federalist Group before changing its name in 2007 after Democrats took over the U.S. House of Representatives.

Simpson's revelations come on the heels of a report yesterday in the Wall Street Journal that Craig might soon step down from his role in the Obama White House.

Simpson has firsthand knowledge of Ogilvy/Federalist Group. She served as a Republican opposition researcher and participated in a conference call about GOP plans to coordinate a political prosecution of Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Simpson testified under oath that Alabama Republican operatives, led by Business Council of Alabama CEO Bill Canary, had worked out the plan with Bush White House strategist Karl Rove.

Simpson also has firsthand experience with Greg Craig. Then a lawyer with the D.C. firm of Williams & Connolly, Craig talked with Simpson about representing her prior to her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in fall 2007. Simpson shared her story about Rove's role in the Siegelman case before Craig backed out, saying he had a conflict.

After learning that Craig had represented Rove professionally and been a longtime personal friend, Simpson wrote a letter to Craig, demanding that he step down from any matters in the Obama White House related to the Bush administration. Simpson also voiced her suspicions that Craig violated legal ethics by sharing her privileged information with Rove.

Craig's ties to Ogilvy/Federalist Group should be a concern to anyone who hopes to see the Obama administration govern in a progressive manner, Simpson says. In fact, she is quite familiar with the firm's two principals--Stewart Hall, an Alabama native, and Wayne Berman:

The Federalist Group had close ties to the Bush White House. In fact, the gentlemen who ran it are Stewart Hall and Wayne Berman, who are very close to Karl Rove and George W. Bush. In fact, (Berman's wife) worked as the social secretary to both Mrs Cheney and Mrs Bush.

Simpson has stated under oath that Hall is friends with Rob Riley, an Alabama attorney and son of Governor Bob Riley. In fact, Federalist Group played a major role in Bob Riley's 2002 campaign, the one that ended with Don Siegelman mysteriously losing votes overnight in south Alabama, giving Riley the victory. Says Simpson:

Many may remember my testimony about Mr. Hall being close friends with young Mr. Riley. Well basically it is that office that helped run Bob Riley for Governor in 2002, and it is where many got together to plan for Bob Riley to get elected.

At the time, Mr. Craig . . . was the lawyer for all of Richard Shelby’s business endeavors and apparently the lawyer for Stewart Hall and Mr. Berman. So when we aren't getting any help (from the Obama White House on justice issues), one only has to look at Mr. Craig’s financial statements to see that he was paid a large portion of his last year's (income) before going into the White House by the Alabama gang who work at Ogilvy and also who had an interest in Digital Fusion.

And what is Digital Fusion? Simpson explains:

Digital Fusion is a company in Huntsville that got a $117 million contract guarding missiles and is invested in by certain individuals out of the Federalist Group/Ogilvy PR firm. I suspect that is why we have not received to date any relief from the White House in the Siegelman matter. A sad reality in Washington is that often money speaks louder than words about truth and justice.

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