What is Jamestown Associates doing in Arizona?
View the folksy ad on YouTube . . .
As most of West Virginia knows by now, Jamestown Associates is the Republican consultantship responsible for that infamous ‘hicky’ ad boosting the GOP candidate for senate in West Virginia. Like most populist appeals from the GOP, the image of two shirt-sleeved guys boosting the party of corporate conglomeration and secrecy in WV turned out to be fake.
Statements by Jamestown Associates—which touts its efforts on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and Republican candidates around the nation—to distance itself from the ad by blaming the casting agency for the language were also false. The original email from Jamestown Associates calls explicitly for actors with a ‘Hicky’ blue collar look. The H-word is capitalized like the name of a sect.
Attorney Charles Graber says on behalf of Kathy Wickline’s casting agency only that “we are still considering our options, going forward”; Jamestown Associates and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which eagerly disavowed the ad, have apologized to Wickline. Jamestown Associates has not responded to questions.
One obvious question is whether Jamestown Associates employs that hicky attitude elsewhere in the United States, and if so, where. The company’s website lists four locations: “With offices in Washington, DC, Princeton, NJ, Baton Rouge, LA, and Dallas, TX, our clients benefit from the combination of a national firm’s experience and a regional firm’s knowledge of local issues and techniques.”
Jamestown illustrates its Baton Rouge website with a photograph of the Louisiana state capitol building; the office, however, is located on Jones Creek Road in Baton Rouge. Local and Internet directories do not turn up the name Jamestown Associates—which is registered as active and in good standing with the Louisiana Secretary of State—at that or any address. The Jones Creek Road office offers instead a few names of attorneys and an entity called ‘Capitol Consulting Inc,’ not in good standing in Louisiana.
Jamestown Associates also has company locations not referred to on its website, including at least one listed in public record in Arizona. Both the Dun corporation database in LexisNexis and the Arizona secretary of state’s office give the address as 6670 E. Edgemont Street, Tucson 85710. Listed personnel dovetail with the list of persons given on the main Jamestown Associates website, starting with Lawrence or Larry Weitzner as president, owner and CEO. No current phone number is accessible; the real estate website Zillow indicates that the property was foreclosed and sold. Calls placed to the house at the street address or to persons listed at that address have returned no information on the company. Dun and Bradstreet lists sales for the Arizona location of Jamestown Associates at $52,000. There is no mention of the AZ office on Jamestown Associates; the man listed as Vice President of Jamestown’s Arizona company, George M. Gobble, is not available for comment.
The Capitol Consulting entity is also found in Arizona, although the only address given is a post office box, with no telephone number and no personnel listed. “Business type”: “providing political solutions.” “Owner”: same name, Capitol Consulting, but as an LLC rather than a corporation.
Back in Louisiana, Laura B. Lancaster, listed at LinkedIn as Media Director for Jamestown Associates in Baton Rouge, is also President of Magnolia Media LLC (not connected with a company of the same name in Mobile, Ala.) listed as inactive by the Louisiana Secretary of State. Its Registered Agent (RA) is attorney Frank D. Blackburn, whose office is the Jones Bridge Road address.
The Democratic Party in New Hampshire has filed a complaint that Magnolia Media LLC, in Baton Rouge, is a shell company. Laura Lancaster of Magnolia Media LLC, of the Jones Bridge Road address in Baton Rouge, is also listed among personnel at the Arizona Jamestown Associates in Dun and Bradstreet.
So what if anything is Jamestown Associates or Capitol Consulting doing in Arizona? The Arizona state campaign finance database lists no monetary donations from Jamestown Associates, and only one from Capitol Consulting: Capitol Consulting gave $1K Sept 29 2010 to push Proposition 302, billed as “Kids First” by interest groups. As The Arizona Republic reports, “Proposition 302 seeks the repeal of First Things First, an early-childhood health-and-development program that voters approved in 2006.
If voters approve Proposition 302, the program’s $345 million fund balance would be funneled into the state general fund for lawmakers to use as they want. Legislators already have earmarked that money for deficit relief.” The “Kids First” campaign spins its campaign to destroy the early childhood program as a way to save kids’ programs. However, as AZCentral points out, some programs named by the Prop 302 boosters have already been cut, frozen or capped. “And it’s not certain the passage of Prop. 302 would protect the programs from cuts or reverse the freezes,” since Proposition 302 does not compel the state legislature to save specific programs.
As noted above, Gobble, of or formerly of Jamestown Associates, is also on the Board of Advisors of the Aidchild Foundation, along with Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.). Jamestown Associates has handled reelection campaigns for Kolbe, and Gobble was a congressional aide to Kolbe before joining Jamestown Associates in Arizona.
Capitol Consulting also gave $1K to the AZ Republican Party in 2008—a modest amount suggesting that it may not have been among Sen. John McCain’s strongest supporters. No in-kind contributions are listed for either election cycle, either from Capitol Consulting or from Jamestown Associates. The Tucson Weekly published some good articles a few years ago on action pertaining to Jamestown Associates in Arizona. This piece from 2003 and this from 2002 are particularly illuminating. Kolbe is entrenched, if his former aide is not, and the one-hand-washes-the-other culture in higher-up GOP circles in Arizona demonstrates the effectiveness of cooperation between candidates, consultants and ‘nonprofits’.
N.b. As of now the top GOP money recipient in AZ, for U.S. House races, is Ben Quayle, son of former Vice President Dan Quayle.
More on Jamestown Associates and other states to follow.