Karl Rove & Company

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Karl Rove & Company was established by Karl Rove in 1981, following the "unsuccessful primary campaign for president [of George Herbert Walker Bush ] against Ronald Reagan in 1980."[1]

According to the November 5, 1999, Austin Chronicle, "Ted Delisi [then the press spokesman for Texas Attorney General John Cornyn] and Todd Olsen, a registered lobbyist, are fairly new to the political consulting game. In March, the two bought the political consulting portion of Karl Rove & Company, the consulting firm formerly owned by Karl Rove, the chief political strategist in George W. Bush's presidential campaign. Both are former employees of Rove. According to filings at the Texas Ethics Commission, Olsen lobbies for two clients, the Clean Power Campaign and the Texas Association of Paging Services. The combined income from those two clients is less than $60,000.[2]

"However, Olsen and Delisi bought what appears to be a profitable business from Rove, who has worked as a political adviser to most of the statewide officials now in office. Mailing list services are used not only by politicians but by for-profit and nonprofit groups who are eager to have the names and addresses of people who are known for charitable giving. And Rove's lists were among the most sought-after in the direct mail business. As a direct mail guru, Rove raised tens of millions of dollars for Republican politicians in Texas and elsewhere. With such clients as U.S. Senators Phil Gramm, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Kit Bond of Missouri, Rove could easily have continued operating his consulting business, and he apparently planned to do so. But Bush wanted all of Rove's attention. In March, Rove told Michael Holmes of the Associated Press that he was selling his business to Olsen and Delisi because Bush wanted him to do so. Rove said Bush asked him to sell because the candidate didn't 'want my focus diluted.'"[2]

"While Delisi's work for the Bush campaign may not violate state ethics laws or Cornyn's policy, the amount of money involved in his consulting business is substantial enough to raise eyebrows. In July, the campaign reported that it paid the two companies in which Delisi is a partner -- Praxis List Company and Olsen & Delisi -- over $206,000 for direct mail and consulting work between April 1 and June 30. During the most recent reporting period, the Bush campaign reported 62 different expenditures to the companies totaling $766,458 -- $340,326 to Olsen & Delisi and $426,132 to Praxis. The most commonly listed reasons for the expenditures included 'consultant expense-fundraising,' 'list expense,' and 'direct mail expense'."[2]

When Rove sold the company to Delisi and Olsen, it owned "a number of very valuable mailing lists that can be rented to politicians and fundraisers of all types."[3]

Governor Bush

"According to the Governor's (i.e. George W. Bush) most recent campaign filings at the Texas Ethics Commission, one of Bush's biggest campaign costs (after some $11 million for TV buys) is Karl Rove. A Bush family insider since 1973, when he was president of the national College Republicans, Rove has become one of the GOP's most important Texas players.

"Bush obviously values Rove's expertise - and Rove makes him pay for it. From July through December, Bush's re-election committee paid Karl Rove & Co. nearly $2.5 million, and also paid the Rove-owned Praxis List Company $267,000 (for use of mail lists). Rove says his work for the Bush campaign included direct mail, voter contact, phone banks, computer services, and travel expenses. Of the $2.5 million, Rove said, 'About 30 percent of that is postage.' The Governor is quick to praise Rove, calling him 'a close friend' and a 'confidant' with 'good judgment.'"[4]


Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Karl Rove: political consultant, Whos2.com, undated, accessed February 22, 2004.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Robert Bryce, "Million-Dollar Man: Delisi Reaps Bush Money on the Side", The Austin Chronicle, November 5, 1999.
  3. Robert Bryce, "The Loyal Lieutenants. Bush Applies Litmus Test of Allegiance in Choosing Inner Circle," The Austin Chronicle, March 20, 2000.
  4. "Bush goes a-Rove-ing," The Texas Observer, February 5, 1999.

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