Fun_People Archive
11 Apr
Anti-Christ hires Haman to lobby Spawn of Satan

Content-Type: text/plain
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 100 13:18:26 -0700
To: Fun_People
Precedence: bulk
Subject: Anti-Christ hires Haman to lobby Spawn of Satan

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-

[Whew!  The worlds of business and politics make for some mighty strange
 bedfellows... -psl]

Forwarded-by: Jef Jaisun <>

 Microsoft tries to win Bush over

 Candidate's consultant Reed is hired for lobbying effort

 Tuesday, April 11, 2000


 Microsoft Corp. has quietly hired Ralph Reed, a senior consultant to Gov.
 George W. Bush's presidential campaign, to lobby Bush in opposition to
 the government's antitrust case against the company.

 Microsoft's aim, the company says, is to curry favor with the apparent
 Republican presidential nominee, hoping he will speak out against the
 government's case -- and, perhaps, take a softer approach toward the
 company if he is elected president.

 Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, is well-situated to take on
 the assignment since his firm, Century Strategies, is one of Bush's top
 consultants.  During the primary campaign, Reed frequently appeared on
 television to talk on behalf of the campaign.

 Yesterday, Reed declined to talk about his company's contract with
 Microsoft, saying, "We have a policy of not discussing our clients."
 Another executive of his company, speaking on condition of anonymity, said
 that Microsoft had hired Century Strategies to lobby other political
 candidates as well.

 Mark Murray, a spokesman for Microsoft, said the company hired Century
 Strategies to counter "a comprehensive lobbying campaign by our
 competitors" to promote the government's suit. The company also said it
 had been "working very hard to get our point of view across to all the
 presidential candidates," including Vice President Al Gore.  Microsoft
 has not said how it has lobbied Gore and his staff.

 Last week, a federal judge found Microsoft in wide violation of antitrust
 laws.  And in large part because of the government antitrust suit,
 Microsoft has been trying to make friends among the candidates, Republicans
 and Democrats alike.

 An accounting by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that, during
 the current election season, Microsoft and its employees have donated more
 than $727,000 to political parties -- 53 percent of it to the Republicans
 and 47 percent to Democrats.

 One obvious goal, while the antitrust case drags through a year or more
 of appeals, is to convince the next president, Congress and the public
 that the case should be abandoned. But the current campaign by Reed's
 company is much more closely targeted to the Bush campaign.

 A series of e-mail messages from John Pudner, senior project manager for
 Century Strategies, laid out a detailed plan by Reed's staff and his
 contractors to recruit senior Bush supporters from around the country in
 an effort to undermine the government's suit.

 The Bush supporters -- and the e-mail showed that Pudner is screening them
 carefully to make sure they are influential within the campaign -- are
 being asked to write letters to Bush saying they believe the government's
 case is misguided, and that the American people oppose it.

 Pudner's e-mail messages instruct "state operatives" of the firm to send
 him biographical information about Bush supporters who could help influence
 the Bush campaign.

 Only after he has verified that the supporters are sufficiently influential
 are the regional lobbyists, working on contract for Century Strategies,
 authorized to solicit more letters.

 Pudner said that the company intended to gather the letters through the
 end of this month. "We will reject letters that are not from someone" the
 company counts as influential, he wrote.

 The e-mails were made available to The New York Times by a recipient who
 did not agree with the goals of the campaign. One lobbyist said that
 Century Strategies was offering the regional contractors $300 a letter --
 a high price for this sort of work.

 As part of his e-mail solicitations, Pudner distributed the results of a
 Microsoft-sponsored national opinion poll taken late last month. It offers
 the conclusion that Americans do not support the case against Microsoft,
 and Pudner wrote that it was a "powerful" tool "to demonstrate how strongly
 Americans support Microsoft's position in the lawsuit."

 The poll was conducted by Zogby International. In an interview, John Zogby,
 president of the company, said Microsoft wrote the poll questions, though
 Zogby vetted them before running the survey.

 In the poll, questioners were asked how they ranked their state attorney
 general's pursuit of the Microsoft case against other issues.

 These other issues include "charges that airlines are not properly
 maintaining and repairing their jets," that "the pharmaceutical industry
 overcharges for prescription drugs," that "oil and gas companies are trying
 to control the cost of gasoline" and "banks charge excessive fees to
 customers who use ATMs."

 Not surprisingly, the Microsoft antitrust case ranked dead last.

 Tom Miller, the attorney general of Iowa who leads the 19 state attorneys
 general who joined with the Justice Department in suing Microsoft, said
 he believed the poll was "slanted -- we all know how it's going to turn

 According to evidence introduced at the antitrust trial, Microsoft has a
 history of trying to write public opinion polls that guarantee an outcome.

 Just over two years ago, shortly before Bill Gates was to appear before
 a Senate committee in Washington, he wrote an e-mail to his subordinates
 in which he said: "It would HELP ME IMMENSELY to have a survey showing
 that 90 percent of developers believe that putting the browser into the
 operating system makes sense."

 Microsoft's decision to build a Web browser into Windows set off the
 government's current antitrust case. And in a subsequent string of e-mails,
 Microsoft employees laid out how they would pose the questions to get the
 answers Gates wanted.

 Murray, the Microsoft spokesman, said the company had received documents
 demonstrating that rivals were engaged in similar lobbying efforts against
 Microsoft. Some he offered were two years old; they showed auto dealers
 and others congratulating state attorneys general for filing suit against

 But one lobbyist for a Microsoft competitor confirmed that similar lobbying
 against Microsoft continues today.

 (c) 2000 The New York Times.
     All rights reserved.

prev [=] prev © 2000 Peter Langston []