Who is Ed Gillespie?

 

From the RNC website: 

 

Ed Gillespie was elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee in July 2003. Since taking over the reins of the Party, news accounts have touted Gillespie as a “media maestro and Republican strategist skilled in the art of political counterpunching” and, maybe more directly, “the President’s political pit bull.”

In less than a year in the job, Republicans have elected new governors in California, Kentucky and Mississippi, Gillespie has set a fundraising record at the RNC, successfully urged CBS to abandon its plans to air an historically inaccurate and unfairly negative television movie about President and Mrs. Reagan, traveled to nearly half the states in the country, and as a constant presence on talk radio and cable and network television he vigorously defends President Bush and Republicans in Congress against the bitter partisan attacks of the Democrats running for President.

Chairman Gillespie’s RNC tenure continues his dedicated political service to President Bush and the G.O.P. Past accomplishments include his management of the highly regarded convention program in Philadelphia in the summer of 2000; his service as senior communications advisor in Austin; his aggressive spokesman role during the historic recount in Florida; and his service as communications director for the President’s inauguration in January of 2001.

He was general strategist for Elizabeth Dole’s Senate campaign, in which she won the biggest margin of victory of any Senate candidate in North Carolina in over 25 years in the most expensive Senate race in 2002. The Dole campaign has been cited by numerous political analysts as one of the best of that election cycle.

In 1996, Gillespie was Director of Communications and Congressional Affairs at the R.N.C. under then Chairman Haley Barbour. Prior to that, he served for over a decade as a top aide to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX). He was a principal drafter of 1994’s “Contract with America,” which helped Republicans win control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.

Gillespie is founder of Quinn Gillespie & Associates, a bipartisan public affairs firm that provides strategic advice, public relations services, and government representation to corporations, trade associations and issue-based coalitions. He is on leave from his firm while serving full-time as RNC chairman.

The 42-year-old New Jersey native is a graduate of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. While at CUA, he began his career on Capitol Hill as a Senate parking lot attendant. Gillespie is married to the former Cathy Hay, whom he met on a Capitol Hill softball team. They have three children: John Patrick, Carrie and Mollie Brigid.

From Public Citizen, 6/16/03. 

Public Citizen Condemns Appointment of Corporate Lobbyist as Republican Party Chief

New Report Outlines Ed Gillespie’s Lucrative Work on
Behalf of Enron, Other Large Corporations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – By appointing Ed Gillespie, a leading corporate lobbyist, to head the Republican National Committee, President Bush has opened a conduit for Corporate America to strengthen its already formidable influence in the White House and Congress, Public Citizen said today.

The lobbying firm Gillespie co-founded in 2000, Quinn, Gillespie & Associates, has grown into one of the capital’s most lucrative, in part because of Gillespie’s strong ties to the Bush administration.

A party chairman works hand-in-hand with the White House and congressional leaders on policy matters and election strategy, and wields a great deal of influence on legislation that may benefit contributors to the national party. Gillespie access to inside information will be invaluable to the clients and partners at Quinn Gillespie – even if Gillespie does not lobby or engage in any policy discussions with clients of his firm, in which he will continue to hold an ownership stake.

"The party chief is in a unique position to help friends and punish enemies," Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook said. "This is just one more step in the merger of the Republican Party and Corporate America. Ed Gillespie is a richly rewarded lobbyist who greased the wheels in Congress and the White House for Enron, one of the most crooked companies in U.S. history. And now he’s at the head of the GOP. That should tell citizens where President Bush’s interests lie."

Public Citizen today released a new analysis of Quinn Gillespie’s efforts on behalf of a slew of corporate clients on legislation to undercut consumer rights and increase the power of big business. Drawn from federal disclosure forms, the analysis shows that:

Since its founding by Gillespie and former Clinton White House counsel Jack Quinn in 2000, the firm has reported $27.4 million in lobbying-related income through 2002.

Gillespie has worked to keep national energy policy in lockstep with the wishes of Enron and other energy giants. Quinn Gillespie earned $700,000 from Enron in 2001 alone to lobby the White House on the electricity crisis on the West Coast. The administration aggressively supported Enron’s position against re-regulating electricity markets. Gillespie also channeled money from DaimlerChrysler and Enron to his 21st Energy Project, which bought print and television ads in July 2001 to promote the administration’s energy plans, including blocking any increase in fuel-economy standards.

PricewaterhouseCoopers paid Quinn Gillespie $1.35 million from 2000 to 2002 to lobby against increased oversight of the accounting industry. PricewaterhouseCoopers – which paid a $5 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2002 for repeated accounting irregularities, including improperly auditing millions in fees paid to its own consultants – tried to limit restrictions on consulting and other services that an accounting firm could offer its clients. Effectively, Quinn Gillespie was trying to water down accounting reforms in the wake of an unprecedented wave of corporate fraud.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce paid Gillespie’s firm $860,000 from 2000 to 2002 to lobby for the so-called Class Action Fairness Act – legislation that would benefit corporations by moving lawsuits from state to federal courts, where it is more difficult to certify class actions and delays result from large case backlogs. All told, the firm has collected at least $1.12 million to lobby for this anti-consumer bill.

After helping set up the Commerce Department as part of the Bush transition team, Gillespie returned to his practice and immediately began lobbying on behalf of clients with business before the department. Gillespie helped secure tariffs against foreign competition for the "Stand Up for Steel" coalition and USEC Inc., the country’s largest supplier of enriched uranium fuel to nuclear power plants.

Tyson Foods paid Quinn Gillespie $440,000 in 2002, in part to downplay federal charges against Tyson for conspiring to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States to work at its poultry processing plants for lower wages than it paid legal workers. The firm also lobbied on "wage and hour" issues for Tyson, a result of a Labor Department lawsuit against Tyson seeking $300 million in back pay owed to workers.

Other clients of Quinn Gillespie include DirecTV, Microsoft, SBC Communications, Verizon and Viacom.

As chairman of the RNC, Gillespie will be the party’s lead fundraiser and spokesman, responsible for raising hundreds of millions of dollars each election cycle and determining which candidates get the money, thereby holding the purse strings for the legislators his firm works to persuade.

"Very few non-governmental positions in American politics offer so much potential for corruption," said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. "Why would corporations need to hire a lobbyist if they could go straight to lawmakers through Gillespie? President Bush was wrong to appoint such a crony of big business."