* I started hearing about this story last week. I’m not sure there’s an Obama connection here, but there might be a Dick Durbin connection…
A Democratic consultancy run by former top Obama campaign aides is working to place stories designed to stir up controversy over the personal finances of a House Republican leader.
The firm is working with other Democratic operatives who are trying to seize on a media frenzy that began with a humorous if slightly embarrassing Washington Post story about the Downton Abbey-themed office of Rep. Aaron Schock (R., Ill.). […]
Behind the scenes, a prominent Democratic consultancy run by former top Obama campaign aides has contacted reporters covering Schock’s tastes in interior design and offensive comments by his staff. The firm is pushing those reporters to cover the sale of Schock’s home as well. […]
The allegations originated at Blue Nation Review, a blog run by Jimmy Williams, a former senior advisor to then-Sen. Joe Biden (D., Del.) and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), whose leadership PAC has donated $10,500 to Schock’s Democratic opponents. […]
Democratic consultancy Smoot Tewes pitched the story to reporters. The firm is run by former Obama 2012 deputy campaign manager Julianna Smoot and Paul Tewes, a senior official on the president’s 2008 campaign.
Smoot Tewes consultant Gary Ritterstein, who has worked on numerous Democratic congressional campaigns, emailed reporters last week linking to coverage of Schock’s home sale controversy and encouraging them to follow up.
“If you’re interested, I’d be happy to get you on the phone with the folks who have been helping research the story,” he wrote.
In addition to the other connection, Julianna Smoot once worked for Durbin. But why would he care? I’m not sure who’s actually behind this, but consultants don’t usually get involved if there’s no paycheck or reciprocity involved.
* After i heard about this, I started checking around last week. An operative with the firm, I’m told, reached out to the Democratic Party of Illinois to ask what DPI was going to do to help push the Schock stories. The operative was told the party wasn’t much interested, but was given some names of reporters who might be.
The only contact I’ve ever had with the consulting firm was them sending me press releases over the past year promoting ethanol use.