DCI Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
DCI Group
IndustryPublic relations
FounderTom Synhorst, Doug Goodyear and Tim Hyde
Key people
Chairman Tom Synhorst
CEO Doug Goodyear
ServicesCommunications services, lobbying, public affairs consulting

DCI Group is an American public relations, lobbying and business consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. The company was founded in 1996 as a consulting firm, and has since expanded its practice to become a public affairs company offering a range of services. DCI Group provides communications and advocacy services to clients including large US corporations, trade associations, non-profit organizations, and government organizations including educational institutions. Services include communication campaigns to solicit public action on legislative issues, the creation of grass-roots fronts for corporate campaigns,[1] and campaigns for clients on social media websites.

DCI has been described as a "Republican public relations firm".[2] Oil company ExxonMobil is a confirmed client (by an Exxon spokesman), and DCI Group has engaged in climate change denial campaigns, paying skeptical scientists to write editorial pieces.[3] Other notable clients of the firm have included Boeing,[4] General Motors Corporation,[5] Microsoft,[6] the U.S. Telecom Association[7] and the military dictatorship of Myanmar.[8]


DCI Group was founded in 1996[9] by Tom Synhorst, Doug Goodyear and Tim Hyde[10][11] as a grassroots consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix, Arizona.[12] Early work included organizing leadership seminars for corporate and political leaders,[13] plus direct mail, telephone and grassroots communications.[9]

In the early 2000s, DCI launched its government affairs practice[9] to provide advocacy services for clients, among them are companies such as AT&T and institutions such as the University of Arizona.[11][8][14]

By 2005 the company had more than a hundred employees, and counted blue-chip and Fortune 50 companies among its clients.[15] Notable clients have included Microsoft, VeriChip Corporation,[6] Boeing,[4] General Motors Corporation, and the U.S. Telecom Association.[7]


DCI Group provides public relations, communications, government affairs and lobbying, and business consulting services. In addition, the firm develops and manages grassroots communications campaigns.[16][17] The firm is structured into five areas of work: public relations, message development, DCI Digital, Field Force (the grassroots division), and Strategic Alliances (constituency relationships).[18]

DCI Group's main areas of expertise are in public relations and communications.[19] In 2000, DCI Group began publishing an online magazine, Tech Central Station, "hosted" by James K. Glassman. In its original incarnation, TCS was primarily funded by sponsors, including some DCI clients, a fact reported in the Washington Monthly.[20] The magazine reached a readership of around 100,000 per week by September 2006, when it was sold by DCI to its editor, Nick Shulz.[21]

Notable work[edit]

Among its public relations campaigns was the 2006 launch of Aqua Sciences' water harvesting technology,[22] which was named by Time magazine as one of its best inventions of 2006.[23] DCI Group offers a number of different communications services, including corporate communication, crisis management, new media development and message development.[24] The company was also retained by the LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign to build support for repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy related to gay and lesbian personnel.[25]

In 2015-16 in the negotiations regarding the Puerto Rican government-debt crisis, DCI reportedly worked with BlueMountain Capital in its opposition to Congressional approval of the bankruptcy option for the commonwealth.[26]

In addition to its client campaigns, DCI's digital team carries out research into the use of social media. In early 2011 it released a report which compared the use of social media services such as Twitter and Facebook on a state-by-state basis.[27]

In 2006 the author of a YouTube video parodying Al Gore's global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth was traced back to DCI Group through routing information in e-mails from the author to the Wall Street Journal.[11][28] The alleged production of the video by DCI Group led to critical coverage of the company in the media,[11][29] due in part to its work for ExxonMobil. DCI Group did not admit or deny producing the video.[28][30]

"Grassroots" communications[edit]

In addition to its traditional public relations and communications work, DCI Group specializes in "astroturfing",[31] i.e. the creation of front groups that serve corporate interests while posing as grassroots activists.[1] This type of campaigning was an early focus for the firm,[32] which has continued to develop and manage such campaigns using such strategies as direct mail[33] and social media. In 2008 it was reported that the company had done extensive work for Freddie Mac, running a multi-state effort against Republican Senator Chuck Hagel's bill to tightly regulate the company. Freddie Mac acknowledged the hire, and DCI stated it had complied with "all applicable federal and state laws and regulations".[34]

DCI's recent work has included a campaign mobilizing employees of the Education Management Corporation against a proposed regulation focused on for-profit colleges.[33] It was one part of an overall industry effort that resulted in more than 90,000 comments being received by the Department of Education, more than for any previous rule.[35] In 2011, the company produced a campaign for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, arranging for small business owners to meet with their senators and holding press events, as part of the organization's campaign supporting the Durbin Amendment regulating bank debit card transaction fees.[36]

According to Corporate Europe Observatory, DCI Group also has close ties to the European Privacy Association, an EU lobby group. [37] EDRi asserts that EPA has used the services of both DCI and an Italian lobbying firm, Competere, the staff of which "overlaps" with DCI Group.[38]

Its first overseas project and only foreign client to date, according to Doug Goodyear,[5] came in 2002, when DCI Group was hired by Myanmar's military junta, following the release of political prisoners in the state, including Aung San Suu Kyi. DCI's work for the government included public relations efforts to improve the leadership's image in the U.S., raising the profile of more moderate officials and emphasizing its negotiations with Suu Kyi.[5][39] According to media reports, the firm was paid $348,000 to represent the Myanmar government.[11] DCI Group ended its contract with the Myanmar government in 2003.[5][39]

In May 2008, DCI Group's Doug Goodyear and Doug Davenport resigned from the John McCain presidential campaign following media coverage that was critical of the company's work for the Myanmar government.[11][40] According to Goodyear, they resigned in order to prevent further distraction from McCain's campaign.[39]


  1. ^ a b "Odd Alliance: Business Lobby and Tea Party". The New York Times. 30 March 2011.. Specifically, see the infographic.
  2. ^ Jake Tapper and Max Culhane (4 August 2006). "Al Gore YouTube Spoof Not So Amateurish". Goodmorning America. ABC News.
  3. ^ Antonio Regalado and Dionne Searcey (3 August 2006). "Where Did That Video Spoofing Gore's Film Come From?". The Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ a b Vaida, Bara (26 April 2008). "Big-Ticket Tanker Brawl". The National Journal.
  5. ^ a b c d Iskioff, Michael (10 May 2008). "A Convention Quandary". NewsWeek. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Applied Digital's VeriChip Corporation Strengthens its Washington Team with Two Leading Firms--Oldaker, Biden & Belair and DCI Group". Business Wire. 24 January 2005.
  7. ^ a b "The Rachel Maddow Show for November 10, 2009". The Rachel Maddow Show. MSNBC. 10 November 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Ties to McCain". The Arizona Republic. 23 May 2008.
  9. ^ a b c "History". DCI Group.com. DCI Group. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  10. ^ Stone, Peter H. (31 March 2007). "Under the Radar". The National Journal.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Dann, Carrie (12 May 2008). "A lobbying firm and its McCain ties". MSNBC. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  12. ^ Stone, Peter H. (18 April 1998). "Big Tobacco Rallies the Troops". The National Journal.
  13. ^ Warren, James (19 October 1997). "Sunday Watch". The Chicago Tribune. p. 2C.
  14. ^ Edsall, Thomas B. (13 January 2004). "Another Lobbyist Emerges From the GOP Trenches". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ Hand, Mark (14 November 2005). "DCI Group Lashes Back at Vermont 'Partisan Attack'". PR Week US. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  16. ^ "DeLay Aide Leaves For The DCI Group". National Journal's CongressDaily. 8 December 2004.
  17. ^ "Rising Stars; We present to you: The class of 2009". Campaigns & Elections. June 2009. p. 40.
  18. ^ "How we do it". DCI Group.com. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  19. ^ "U.S. Foreign Policy Experts, European Members of Parliament to Join For Panel Discussion on the Middle East". Business Wire. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  20. ^ Confessore, Nicholas (1 December 2003). "Meet the press: how James Glassman reinvented journalism--as lobbying". Washington Monthly.
  21. ^ Shulz, Nick (19 September 2006). "Something Old, Something New". Ideas In Action TV. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  22. ^ Hudson, Audrey (6 October 2006). "Making Water From Thin Air". Wired.com. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  23. ^ "Best Inventions of 2006: The Rainmaker". Time. 13 November 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  24. ^ "DCI Group, LLC: Snapshot". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg. 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  25. ^ Smith, Ben (1 June 2010). "Don't ask GOP pollster about Brown poll". Politico. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  26. ^ Mahler, Jonathan; Confessore, Nicholas (19 December 2015). "Inside the Billion-Dollar Battle for Puerto Rico's Future" (DealBook). United States: New York Times. The New York Times Company. p. A1. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  27. ^ Horiuchi, Vince (16 March 2011). "Tweet this: Is Utah king of the 140-character world?". The Salt Lake Tribune.
  28. ^ a b Regalado and, Antonio; Searcey, Dionne (3 August 2006). "Where did that video spoofing Gore's film come from?". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.com. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  29. ^ Ayres, Chris (5 August 2006). "Slick lobbying is behind penguin spoof of Al Gore". The Times. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  30. ^ Tapper, Jake (4 August 2006). "ABC News: Al Gore YouTube Spoof Not So Amateurish". ABC News. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  31. ^ "DeLay Aide Leaves for the DCI Group". National Journal's Congress Daily. 8 December 2004.
  32. ^ Kaplan, Jonathan E. (15 December 2004). "The big leap: DeLay aide Stuart Roy moves to K St". The Hill. p. 3.
  33. ^ a b Lewin, Tamar (7 September 2010). "For-Profit Colleges Step Up Lobbying Against New Rules". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  34. ^ "Barrage of comments bogs down federal rules". MSNBC.com. 19 October 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  35. ^ Korte, Gregory (26 May 2011). "Barrage of comments bogs down federal rules". USA Today. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  36. ^ Mattingly, Phil; Schmidt, Robert (28 June 2011). "How Wal-Mart Swiped JPMorgan in $16 Billion Debit-Card Lobbying Battle". Bloomberg. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  37. ^ "Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo are secret backers behind European Privacy Association". PCWorld. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  38. ^ "ENDitorial: European Privacy Association - Good, Bad Or Simply Misunderstood?". EDRi-Gram Newsletter. European Digital Rights. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  39. ^ a b c Ambinder, Marc (19 May 2008). "The DCI Group Responds On Burma". The Atlantic. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  40. ^ Stein, Jonathan (12 May 2008). "The Weird McCain-Dictator Money Connection". Mother Jones blog: Political Mojo. Mother Jones. Retrieved 3 May 2011.

External links[edit]