And he’s a fan of astroturfing!

There’s been a lot of talk that the recent “Tea Party” movement, for all its talk of being a “grassroots movement,” is nothing more than an astroturf movement, in that the movement itself was conceived, created and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms.

As I’ve been reading about prospective U.S. Senate candidate Terrence Wall, I’ve come across an interesting factoid: back in 2005, Wall was a key player in the formation of an astroturf movement in Madison, namely the “Common Sense Coalition.”

Wall, who had been clashing with Madison Ald. Brenda Konkol in 2005 over her attempts to enforce Madison’s lobbying law to Wall’s chagrin, is said to have kicked off a recruitment drive for the “Common Sense Coalition” in April 2005 when he sent letters and membership cards for the “Common Sense Coalition” to his tenants and their employees. The letters indicated the coalition was a “grass-roots effort” to make Madison more business-friendly, and asked for contributions, and in a statement on April 29, 2005, Terrence Wall denied he was leading the effort. Wall went on to write that no coalition existed and that he was not forming one.

Putnam Roby Communications, a PR firm based in Madison, was also said to be involved with the group, but when questioned in May 2005, Roger Putnam of Putnam Roby denied knowledge of any such organization. However, just over a month later, on June 7, 2005, Terrence Wall and Roger Putnam were among those who stood for a photo op to announce the formal formation of the Common Sense Coalition. What’s more, the group’s website (which is no longer operational) was registered by Timothy Roby, who just happens to be Roger Putnam’s partner in Putnam Roby Communications. At the time of its formation, the Common Sense Coalition was registered as a 501c(4), which allows it to conduct extensive lobbying.

So here’s what I’m wondering: why wasn’t Terrence Wall completely honest about the extent of his involvement with the Common Sense Coalition back in 2005? Exactly what did Wall have to hide, and what exactly was his involvement with the Common Sense Coalition, an astroturf group if ever I saw one?


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