Magazine article Campaigns & Elections

PowerBase Associates

Magazine article Campaigns & Elections

PowerBase Associates

Article excerpt

Strategist Gary Feld says you don't need a mega-firm to get your message out on Capitol Hill

Celebrities could use some help on Capitol Hill, too. That's the message from strategist Gary Feld, whose new firm is boasting a unique offering - he calls it celebvocacy. The idea came to him when Feld was vice president at the public affairs firm DCI. Actress Hilary Swank found controversy after attending the birthday of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

"She was criticized because there were a lot of human rights violations that were going on at the time," Feld recalls. "For someone who had been a big advocate for human rights issues it was embarrassing."

Feld's solution: When celebrities or prominent advocates come to D.C. to lobby Congress, speak at a rally or appear on television, leave no stone unturned to ensure they don't end up in a situation that undermines the message. "What I can offer is unique among opposition companies because I've got experience in journalism, academics, government and politics," says Feld. "So it's a combination of not just finding the information, but presenting it in a way that best suits the goals of the client." Celebvocacy is far from the firm's only offering. Feld wants to offer smaller companies and lobby shops what his former employer couldn't- the quality work product a larger firm delivers, but at a lower price. Since opening his own shop earlier this year, Feld has been targeting industry associations and smaller public affairs firms.

C&E: You have a pretty extensive background in GOP politics. Have you found it tough to launch your own bipartisan firm?

Feld: The bipartisan thing isn't a big deal. My wife's a strong Democrat, so it's always worked for us. And it's mainly the case now that a lot of issues will break both ways. Some of it is regional, for example, working in the auto industry. Republicans and Democrats represent auto states, so there's a lot of overlap on issues. …

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