Tag Archives: consulting

ECD’s Clint Brewer moves to consulting business

News release from Stones River Group
NASHVILLE, TN – Stones River Group president Mark Cate today announced the addition of veteran communications executive and former journalist Clint Brewer as the company’s newest principal. Clint will join Washington, D.C. transplant and former Podesta Group VP Alexandra Sollberger in helming the firm’s public relations shop.

“Stones River Group has experienced consistent growth over the last year and we’re bringing on new talent to offer enhanced services for our clients,” Cate said. “Clint is a terrific addition to our company, offering clients a deep understanding of media and business. His leadership skills and relationships are a tremendous asset.”

Brewer was the Assistant Commissioner for Communications and Marketing at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD), where he helped lead Governor Bill Haslam’s economic development program. Prior to joining TNECD, Brewer was a journalist and media executive for 16 years, serving as editor of the Nashville City Paper and the Lebanon Democrat as well as government and politics editor of the Tennessean.

“I am incredibly excited to join Stones River Group,” Brewer said. “This company is made up of exceptionally talented people. I’m looking forward to putting my experience and skills to work for our clients.”

Stones River Group has expanded its communications offerings in recent months to meet growing client demand. In March, the firm brought Sollberger on board from the Podesta Group, one of the nation’s top government relations and PR firms, where she provided strategic counsel to a diverse array of clients, including education nonprofits and postsecondary institutions, Fortune500 companies, trade associations and coalitions, and financial services institutions.

Previously, Sollberger worked for several years as a communications director and senior advisor in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Committee on Small Business and in the office of former Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY).

“Both Alex and Clint are smart, well-respected communicators with impressive backgrounds and considerable reach into the media,” Cate said. “We’re excited to add their strategic expertise to the team and look forward to ushering in the next chapter of success at our firm.”

Emails indicate Ingram doing some political work on Haslam payroll

WTVF-TV continues a review of Haslam administration emails with a report on indications that Tom Ingram was consulting on political campaign matters while paid personally by the governor. If so, that could mean disclosure of the payments is required under state law as the equivalent of campaign self-financing… but the governor has refused to disclose the amount of his personal payments to Ingram.
From Ben Hall’s report:
State e-mails, obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, raise new questions about whether Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam broke campaign finance laws by paying lobbyist Tom Ingram out of his own pocket.
The emails reveal Ingram participated in campaign-related planning events while he was on the governor’s private payroll.
…The governor insisted that there’s nothing wrong with having lobbyist and consultant Tom Ingram on his private payroll. He said he hired Ingram to help with statewide “organizational” issues.
“It’s not fair to have the state pay Tom — and he wasn’t doing political work where it should be campaign,” Haslam said last month.
But the new emails reveal Ingram continued to do campaign work, planning for the governor’s next election, while he was on the governor’s private payroll.
In October of 2012, the governor’s chief of staff, Mark Cate, e-mailed Ingram about a “2014 planning retreat.” Cate asked Ingram, as well as Haslam’s campaign finance director and key office staff, to set aside eight hours over two days for the retreat.
Later, Ingram suggested having the retreat at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel because he preferred “to get away from government space.”
Haslam’s office confirmed the retreat was campaign related about his reelection…. But even though Ingram was receiving regular monthly retainer payments, the governor’s office now says Ingram was not paid for the time he attended the campaign retreat.
Haslam’s office did not provide details of the campaign retreat, but said it only lasted a couple of hours.
…Other emails reveal that in a September 2012 discussion with the subject line “planning session,” Ingram told Mark Cate we “also needs [sic] to discuss super PAC.” Haslam’s office said Cate did not know what the “Super PAC” reference meant. (Note: Haslam has given money to Karl Rove’s ‘Super PAC,’ HERE)
…A spokesman for the governor said that Haslam started paying Ingram out of his campaign account on July 1. He said that was the plan all along as Haslam’s reelection grew closer and it had nothing to do with outside pressure.
However, the governor has no plans to amend past disclosures to reveal what he has paid Ingram.

Editorial: Haslam Should Disclose Personal Payments to Ingram

Excerpt from a News Sentinel editorial on Gov. Bill Haslam hiring Tom Ingram with personal funds to serve as a consultant:
Haslam has said he still consults Ingram on political matters but pays for that advice out of pocket. The campaign finance disclosure forms he has submitted since his election show no payments to Ingram.
But they should.
Drew Rawlins, who is the executive director of the Bureau of Ethics and Election Finance, said in an interview that an officeholder’s out-of-pocket payments for a consultant are not necessarily required to be included on disclosures. If an officeholder seeks advice on governance, he or she might not have to report the payment. If the candidate receives campaign advice, Rawlins said, disclosure would be required.
The solution is simple. Haslam should file amended campaign finance disclosure forms that reflect Ingram’s pay for political advice. And he should transfer funds to his campaign account to cover the costs. Though not necessarily required by the letter of the law, disclosure would enhance the governor’s standing as a proponent of openness.
As governor, Haslam should be transparent about the money he spends on political matters. There is nothing wrong with paying Ingram — or anyone else, for that matter — for political insight. He just needs to divulge such transactions to the citizens of Tennessee so they know who is speaking into the governor’s ear.