Thursday, February 14, 2013

RoboCon : RMG and the US Right to Life Committee

--- updated below ---

In August 2004, three telemarketing companies - RMG (Responsive Marketing Group), Xentel DM, and Univision Marketing Group - jointly petitioned the Governor General to have not-for-profit organizations and their fundraisers exempted from certain CRTC regulations they felt were unfair to the success of their trade. Citing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, "freedom of expression", and the "moral rights of authors" over their copyrighted telephone scripts, they objected to :
"the requirement that tele-canvassing service providers identify themselves, their organization, and their organization’s client right at the beginning of the call"
because, among othe reasons :
"if a recipient other than the intended recipient hears the name of a not- for-profit or a cause that he or she is not supportive of, there is a high likelihood that that not-for-profit is vetted before reaching the intended recipient. The not-for-profits most affected by this are those which represent views that society deems controversial or not mainstream, for example: gun control, women's rights, abortion, environmental issues, politics or religious issues."
Women's rights are controversial?

So given that RMG described itself in the brief as "providing direct marketing services to non-profit and political organizations across Canada and a relatively small number of North American corporations" and on its website as working "exclusively with right-of-centre campaigns", I googled up RMG and abortion.
NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE COMMITTEE, INC. of WASHINGTON, DC will be conducting a telephone solicitation campaign beginning November 23, 2009 and ending July 26, 2010. NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE COMMITTEE, INC. has hired RMG USA, INC. of TORONTO, ON, to conduct the campaign.  According to the fundraising contract filed with the State, NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE COMMITTEE, INC. will receive a minimum of 1 per cent of the gross funds raised from this solicitationRMG USA, INC. will be required to file a financial report on the results of this solicitation campaign within 90 days after the end of the campaign.
Financial reports were duly filed in Washington, Colorado, Connecticut, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Washington, New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California ... ok, all the states apparently.
Here's Colorado's in 2011 : 
That 1% to Charity is a bit of a misnomer as the contract signed by NRL Exec Director David N O'Steen and RMG's Andrew Langhorne states : "The main Agreement between RMG and Charity is not a percentage-based agreement ... and the language is provided only for the purposes of complying with the contract disclosure requirements of the states ..."  
Instead RMG USA was paid a fixed hourly fee to contact NRLC's house file of donors to recruit them as volunteers in a phone/mail/online pledge drive to enlarge the NRLC donor membership.

And that "USA" after RMG's name? RMG founder Michael M Davis incorporated RMG USA, Inc. in Ontario in March 2008 under RMG's then 1235 Bay Street address. 

Coincidentally, there is another unrelated telemarketing/data-mining company based in Richmond Virginia called Response Marketing Group ( who once had an office in Toronto many years ago called Interactive Marketing Group .

Update : It's a small small small telemarketing world.
Steven Hubley, founder of Univision Marketing mentioned at the top of the post, later became RMG's VP of Business Development. From his bio at left bank international where he is a partner :
"Founded in 1988, RMG has been a leader in high quality, high response telefundraising. RMG merged with Xentel in 2010 and their fundraising division, [is] now known as Engage Interactive 
RMG's parent organization iMarketing Solutions Group lists Engage Interactive as a subsidiary.
Engage Interactive President Marianne Mulders is RMG's President of Non-Profit and Relationship Management, and was formerly listed as President of RMG USA.
Len Wolstenholme, spokesperson  for Xentel for over 20 years and now Chief Compliance Officer of iMmarketing Solutions Group, is listed on Engage Interactive's Meet the Management page.

In August 2012, Xentel advised the West Virginia Sec. of State's office that its new head office address was at 700 W. Virginia Street, Suite 700, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is the same address as the US office for both Engage Interactive and another iMarketing Solutions Group subsidiary - Target Outreach
"For the past 15 years the principals of Target Outreach have helped Republicans win."  
Xentel's Sept. 2012 Renewal of Charity Registration at the US Sec. of State lists David Winograd of Mequon Wisconsin as President of Xentel. Winograd is also President of iMarketing Solutions.


Beijing York said...

Interesting connections, Alison. Although RMG (Canada) seems to have a full roster of charities as clients, this relationship between right wing politics and social conservative lobbying puts RMG-USA into similar territory as Front Porch Strategies.

Anonymous said...

Funny how the Conservatives are playing fast and loose with the rules - thought they were the law and order party - oh yeah - only for EVERYONE else.

Wonder where our everloving RCMP is on the fraud going on in the Senate. We need a constable or two with the backbone of those who took down the British House of Entitlement (er Lords that is).

Just Saying...

Anonymous said...

Now that's curious. It would have been a big big contract for RMG covering 50 states - something to promote their brand with. Why choose instead to use a subsidiary company that would be likely to be confused with a similarly named US company?
Unless ...

double nickel said...

So out of $100,000 raised only $1000 went to the charity they were raising it for? Sweet gig.

Anonymous said...

They're not fundraising. ...they're building a database of pro cons supporters. RMG built the PC party's CIMS ...and were reported to have made those misleading calls in the last federal election.

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