Transmission Line Infrastructure Project

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A $500 million investment to build a direct-current transmission line running from Kansas wind farms to an Indiana grid location. County commissioners were receiving pushback from their constituents citing concerns over health and property values. Clout was hired to set the record straight.

  • We recruited realtors, Farm Bureau members, manufacturers, legislators and various rural community leaders to support the project. This group sent letters to all potential vendors along the route, completed in-person interviews at radio stations along the route, and recorded a radio advertisement promoting additional tax revenue and job growth that would result from the project.
  • We went to the state capitol with a county commissioner who was supportive of the project as well as a potential vendor, meeting with members of select committees as well as the Speaker of the House.
  • When regulators asked the project to find buyers for the energy, we introduced our client to municipalities that were interested in the project.

  • We successfully stopped legislation that would have halted the project.
  • Our client signed a purchase agreement with a pool of municipalities, fulfilling regulatory requests and saving consumers $10 million.

When Government Contracts Go Wrong

Clout was asked by a government contractor to advise on a market competition between two industry leaders that were competing in the same space with very different results. Our job was to ensure the marketplace became more clear.

  • Clout assisted the company in identifying its core brand as well as that of its competitor and helped research ways to compare and contrast the two.
  • Our research search team led data request efforts to have a better understanding of the way public institutions were choosing one provider over the other. This included exposing a consultant cartel that was steering institutions towards the competitor for unethical reasons.

  • The documents found in FOIA requests revealed executives at public entities driving expensive purchase agreements towards a specific vendor even though that vendor was not the lowest bidder.
  • We were able to expose that the executives lied to local media claiming that the contract was awarded to the less expensive option. Those findings were published by two industry watchdogs and made a difference in the decisions that public entities made involving the two vendors thereafter. Research at other institutions led to various findings that were helpful for future competitions as well. This has helped distinguish the two competitors with journalists covering the marketplace.

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Tobacco Tax Increase

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When Big Tobacco partnered with an organization named “Raise Your Hand for Kids” to target Big Tobacco’s competition with a big tax increase, Clout’s team was activated to defeat the proposal.

  • Clout worked with a team of legal experts to identify flaws in the proposal and then built an earned media calendar to attack each portion of the proposed law. This included involving pro-life advocates and those seeking to expand stem cell research in the state. By the end of the campaign, there was something in the proposal for everyone not to like.
  • We also recruited rural educators, the NEA, American Federation for Teachers (AFT) and retired teacher organizations to oppose the early childhood initiative.
  • Clout lobbyists recruited more than 110 state legislators to oppose the ballot initiatives, including Tea Party advocates and those supporting Bernie Sanders in 2016.

  • Most of the state’s publications wrote in opposition of the tobacco tax increase by the end of the campaign.
  • Despite being outspent by a ratio of 2:1, the ballot measure failed by a margin of almost 20 percentage points.

Talking Trash

When a City Council in the Midwest was considering a plan to bounce incumbent waste haulers, Clout was hired to manage grassroots efforts to oppose the plan.

  • Clout engaged local opinion leaders to know the position of every city council member on the issue. In addition, we knew which influencers in the community could lean on council members to oppose the plan.
  • We used our research to identify the waste in the waste department within the city and built a grassroots campaign to build momentum on social media, letters to the editor, etc. to oppose the city council’s efforts.
  • A direct mail campaign also encouraged citizens to contact their council members to oppose the plan.

  • Polling showed our side was winning, which created more positive earned media.
  • After the council voted to scrap the trash proposal, one council member remarked that it wasn’t the effort of trash haulers that opposed, but the organic, grassroots opposition to the proposal (that Clout created).

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