Three veterans of the Internet world — one a former campaign operative — have started a company geared to grassroots groups and political organizations that want to increase their membership, reach decision makers and influence policy.
"I got my tech guy and my best client to go in with me," said Roger Stone, one of three partners in @dvocacy Inc., a new Washington, D.C.-based firm.
Stone is a former director of the Juno Advocacy Network, an online pioneer in grassroots mobilizing. He is also a former election law attorney who has worked for several politicians, including Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Jim Moody (D-Wis.). (He is not the Roger Stone of Republican political fame.)
Stone’s partners are David Sasson, a former Juno vice president, and Rob Stuart, founder and former president of TechRocks.
The firm is already offering a variety of Internet advocacy services to a host of largely nonprofit clients, including the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Christopher Reeves’ Paralysis Foundation and the National Audubon Society. And it is also helps its clients strategically place ads on the Internet.
The next target of opportunity for the firm is the unchartered territory of online Congressional franking: Soon, Members of Congress will be sending dispatches to their constituents via e-mail, and the work is likely to be contracted out rather than done in-house.
"The people who are most focused on constituent communication will be the first to do this," Stone said.
And how does a new firm offering new services that clients may not even know they need go about attracting business?
"Fortunately," Stone said, "Washington is a small town."
New RGA Point Man. The Republican Governors Association has named Harvey Valentine its new communications director.
Valentine worked most recently as communications director for then-Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) from 1999 until January, and also served as communications director for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee during Thompson’s tenure as chairman.
He has also worked for former Sen. Al D’Amato (R-N.Y.), both on his Senate staff and during campaigns. He began his career as a reporter for the Gloversville (N.Y.) Leader-Herald.
Valentine replaces longtime RGA Communications Director Kirsten Fedewa, who left the organization late last year.
Bound for Des Moines, if Not Glory. Two Democratic presidential campaigns have hired seasoned Washington hands to head their communications shops in the all-important first caucus state of Iowa.
Kim Rubey, fresh off a stint at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s press shop, will be Iowa communications director for Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.).
Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), meanwhile, has tapped someone with experience in the Hawkeye State: Bill Burton, former deputy communications director to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
Mark Your Calendars (No. 1). The Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet and George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management are hosting their Politics Online conference Friday at George Washington’s Media and Public Affairs Building, 805 21st St. NW.
Starting at 9 a.m., speakers will be looking at an array of issues, including how campaigns and voters are using the Internet, what’s in store on the Internet during the 2004 campaigns, how campaigns can maximize online fundraising, and targeting voters through e-mail lists. They will also discuss a new survey that shows why some people are hesitant to use the Web for political information.
Conference organizers will also be handing out Golden Dot awards for excellence in online campaigning during 2001 and 2002.
The early registration period has closed, so it’ll cost $300 to get in. For more information, call (202) 994-3219 or go to www.ipdi.org.
Mark Your Calendars (No. 2). If you’re the type of person who regularly inveighs against the "liberal media," you will no doubt want to attend the Media Research Center’s 2003 Dishonors Awards — "roasting the most outrageously biased liberal reporting of the year," according to an event flier.
Conservative columnist Cal Thomas will serve as master of ceremonies, and conservative icons like William F. Buckley Jr., Ann Coulter, Lucianne Goldberg and Robert Novak are scheduled to serve as judges, presenters or awardees.
It all takes place March 27 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St. NW, beginning at 6 p.m. But the best reason to plunk down the $175 ($150 for subscribers to the center’s Notable Quotables publication) may be the scheduled appearance of the Charlie Daniels Band.