A lobbying firm with ties to Republican House Speaker John Boehner has offered to run an operation for the American Bankers Association aimed at undermining the Occupy Wall Street movement and any Democrats associated with it, according to a report aired on MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hays.”
“Speaker Boehner’s lobbying buddies are proposing a hit job on Occupy Wall Street,” Hays said on the program aired over the weekend.
In a memo to the association obtained by Hays, the Washington-based firm of Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford (CLGC) offered to conduct “opposition research” on protesters, including work and criminal history, and to uncover possible ties to big money-backers that could be used against the populist movement.
The memo asked for $850,000 to finance the effort and promised to keep the financial industry’s backing of it secret.
The memo, according to Hays, also raised concerns about the impact on the financial industry of possible Democratic victories in 2012 and suggested that “negative narratives” could be developed tying Occupy protesters to key Democratic candidates in Senate races next year — specifically in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New Mexico.
According to Hays, the memo said the biggest concern posed by the Occupy movement for the Bankers Association is that a lot of Republicans would no longer be around to “defend Wall Street companies” if Democrats win in key races next November.
“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 bull’s-eye,” Hays quoted the memo as saying.
The memo, Hays said, was written by two former aides to Speaker Boehner who now head the lobbying firm that bears their names — partners Sam Geduldig and Jay Cranford. A third partner Steve Clark, Hays noted, boasts on the firm’s website that he is close to the speaker as well.
“One goal of this campaign the former Boehner aides turned Wall Street lobbyists write,” said Hays, “is to ‘provide cover for political figures who defend the industry.”’
“They are proposing a campaign using Wall Street money to defend Wall Street’s political allies and specifically targeting Democratic politicians for re-election whom might stand up to Wall Street,” Hays added.
Bankers Association spokesman Jeff Sigmund confirmed in a statement to Hays that the memo had been received, but he was quick to point out that the proposal was “was unsolicited and we chose not to act on it in any way.” Hays said no one from CLGC had returned phone calls seeking comment
“Nevertheless, what’s contained in this short memo are all the most craven, corrupt and insidious forces of the status quo coming together to squash Occupy,” Hays said.
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