Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 21, 2014

Former Todd Akin Consultant Has Controversial Past | Shop Talk

Earlier this week, Abby Livingston broke the news about a major shake-up at a prominent GOP consulting firm, The Strategy Group for Media. One of the firm’s most prolific ad-makers, SGM President Nick Everhart, said he was terminated via email late on a Saturday night earlier this month.

The CEO of the firm, Rex Elsass, boasts a long client list that included seven freshmen and more than 20 incumbents from the 2012 cycle, according to SGM’s website. But he also played a big role in former Rep. Todd Akin’s bid for Senate in Missouri — a race widely viewed as one of the worst-run campaigns of the cycle. Former Todd Akin Consultant Has Controversial Past | Shop Talk

But Elsass proved himself a controversial figure in the industry long before that. Roll Call detailed Elsass’ aggressive tactics in a 2012 profile of the GOP media consultant:

In the tiny world of political consulting, reputations and history have long life spans, especially when a firm does so much business.

“When you get into the race, he’s the first guy that contacts you,” one former client said.

Brian J. Berry, a high-ranking officer at the firm, told CQ Roll Call this week that Everhart “was fired with cause.”

Everhart was reluctant last week to speak on the matter, citing legal concerns, but he did weigh in with the Columbus Dispatch on Tuesday:

“I have and will continue to respect my confidentiality agreement, but what I will not stand for are any attacks or comments that disparage my character and integrity,” he told the the newspaper. “I gave 12 years of my life to that company and I’m not ashamed of a single day I was there.”

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