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Media Firms Fatten Up on Election Profits

11 Nov, 2004 Response This Week

WASHINGTON- There is an E-mail circulating the Web with a superimposed picture of John Kerry wearing a T-shirt that reads: “I just spent $250 million to be president and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”
Wondering where all the money went? In a presidential race that spent more money than any other election in history, exceeding $1.5 billion according to some experts, people were curious about who went home with bulging pockets after the last of the confetti was swept from election headquarters.
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, media firms were among the big winners this election, in addition to lawyers and pollsters.
Direct marketing firm Olsen & Shuvalov, which is based in Austin, Texas, made $34 million from the Bush campaign. The firm was founded by Karl Rove, one of President Bush’s political strategists.
Integral Resources Inc., a telemarketing firm in Boston, that was started by one of Kerry’s former aides, made $1.8 million from the Senator’s campaign. Another media firm that plumped up on Kerry dollars is The Thunder Road Group. It was founded by one of Kerry’s previous campaign managers, Jim Jordan. The largest independent liberal group opposing Bush paid the firm $4.1 million to attempt to oust Bush from office.
More than 60 firms received more than $1 million, according to a Times analysis that tracked campaign spending by the presidential candidates. The majority of it was spent on TV advertising.
The largest lump sums paid out to any private firm went to Austin-based Maverick Media and Washington-based Riverfront Media. Both media firms received more than $110 million to produce and distribute TV ads.
The report also states that although the majority of the cash went to the media companies, the commissions for the firms’ partners ranged in the millions. Commissions could run anywhere from 2 to 3 percent up to 9 percent.

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