Yesterday I posted that the DeMoss Group, the powerful Christian right publicity firm hired to promote the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration, had also been hired to work on the 2008 presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. I wrote the post after finding numerous accountings of DeMoss’ work on behalf of Mittney. Today DeMoss Group founder Mark DeMoss writes to call me a liar.
Joe; there is only one problem with your blog post about my firm working on the Manhattan Declaration and also being hired by the Mitt Romney presidential campaign: it isn’t true. Neither my firm nor I was ever paid one dollar by the Romney campaign, Mitt Romney personally, or any organization affiliated with the Romney campaign, nor any business affiliated or associated with Mitt Romney or any of his previous business ventures. In other words, you are completely wrong on this one.
I will look for your correction today. Say what you wish about me or my firm or the Manhattan Declaration, or even Mitt Romney; but do not make false statements about his campaign hiring my firm. It is a lie.
The DeMoss Group
Well, that sounds like a big “whoops” for me, doesn’t it? So I did some more digging around for DeMoss/Romney stories and learned that DeMoss was in fact an “unpaid advisor” to the Romney campaign and has taken pains that people know that. On May 25th, 2007 the evangelical site Get Religion posted a retraction of their claim that DeMoss had been hired by Romney with this this message from DeMoss:
I am working as an unpaid advisor to the campaign, at my request, following a meeting I solicited with Gov. Romney last September in his office. I was then asked by the surrogate office if I would speak to pastors and religious leaders in several cities in SC and Ala. I agreed and gave them 4 days for this purpose. I’ve spent two of those (Greenville, SC; Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, AL). I am using whatever influence I have to promote his candidacy. I would not take issue with the word “dispatched,” though I certainly don’t have to go anywhere.
The Get Religion article closes this way: “So there you have it. The record has been set straight and it’s clear that DeMoss is doing what he can to promote the Romney presidential candidacy, though he is not getting paid for his work. And in evangelical political circles, the DeMoss name is huge. As. In. HUGE.”
Two weeks later DeMoss was named to Romney’s National Faith and Values Steering Committee. In October 2007 he lobbied attendees of the wingnut Values Voters Summit on Romney’s behalf, delivering a five-page memo urging their support. Dozens of other examples of DeMoss’ work on behalf of Romney can be found.
But he did it all for free. He went where Romney asked him to, spoke to the people Romney wanted him to speak to, and used all the power and influence that his position as the founder of the most powerful evangelical/right wing publicity firm afforded him. But he didn’t get paid for all that work and he wants to make very sure that we know that.