Wal-Mart Astroturf Campaign Employs Former Bush 'Attack Dogs'

Wire coverage of the new advocacy group Working Families for Wal-Mart duly report that "Wal-Mart is the largest financial backer of the group," but the Arkansas Democrat Gazette goes a few steps further with its story. Publicly tapping such talents as "famously wholesome singer" Pat Boone, WFWM depends more on the professional PR "stealth bombers," The Herald Group, based in Washington DC.

The three-month-old firm, according to the Democrat Gazette, includes former White House spokesman Taylor Gross, 30, who coordinated Republican media coverage during the 2000 presidential ballot battle in Florida; and Matt Well, another veteran of the 2000 campaign as the Republican Leadership Council’s director of issues advocacy. More about Gross:

A 1996 graduate of The Citadel, Gross was profiled for his alumni magazine’s spring 2001 issue. The article described Gross as “steeped in the cutthroat lifestyle of politics in Washington.” Gross was President Bush’s press coordinator for the South in 2000. Gross told his alumni magazine that he was bragging that Bush won 11 of 11 Southern states when Florida was deemed too close to call. As street protests started, Gross shuttled between Tallahassee and Miami devising media strategies.

The Democrat Gazette, adding that Wakeup Wal-Mart has gathered 13 religious leaders from Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado and Oklahoma to persuade Wal-Mart to adopt labor reforms (such as allowing legally required lunch breaks), quotes group spokesman Chris Kofinis.

It should be easy for Wal-Mart to reach out to genuine Republicans, patriotic Democrats and independents who can sit down together to find ways Wal-Mart can treat its workers and communities better.... Instead, it hires right-wing attack dogs.