Thursday, January 21, 2010

Paying top dollar for Opposition research in Texas

Link HT: The Opposition Research Training Blog
Opposition research, or "oppo," will be an integral component in scores of Texas races this year from courthouses to the statehouse. But nowhere are the fruits of oppo more apparent than in the Republican gubernatorial primary race between Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Since the race began unfolding more than a year ago, the two campaigns have battered each other with a litany of charges and countercharges that reflect extensive digging into each candidate’s background and lengthy record of public service.

Hutchison’s camp cried foul when The Dallas Morning News reported in February that an opposition research firm working for Perry — John Doner & Associates — was filing open records requests to fish for information about Hutchison’s husband, Dallas bond attorney Ray Hutchison.

The Austin consulting firm is regarded as the state’s premier Republican oppo company and received at least $13,250 from the Perry campaign last year, according to disclosure statements filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. Doner, who declines to discuss his operations, has the reputation of a no-stone-unturned researcher after 18 years in the business.

The Hutchison campaign reports $66,400 in payments to a Little Rock public affairs firm headed by former U.S. prosecutor Tim Griffin, who once directed opposition research for the Republican National Committee and later worked in the White House under Karl Rove.