President Obama’s former political director worked at an international advertising agency that received government funds to direct a multi-million dollar campaign to sell Obamacare to the public, WND has learned.
Last week, Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates government corruption, reportedly obtained documents showing the White House helped coordinate the taxpayer-funded publicity campaign.
The campaign used Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo to drive Web traffic to government websites promoting the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The campaign was led by Ogilvy & Mather, an international advertising, marketing and public relations agency based in Manhattan.
The documents, obtained using a Freedom of Information request, showed that from October 2010 through February 2011, the Obama administration spent $1,435,009 on an online advertising campaign alone, including campaigns with Google and Yahoo, at almost $300,000 per month.
Adding a new dimension to the controversy, WND has learned that a former top Obama official works at Ogilvy.
Matthew Nugen, former national political director for Obama’s presidential campaign, joined Ogilvy’s government relations department in 2009 and is now senior vice president of its government relations department.
An Ogilvy bio states Nugen was “part of the senior team that developed and implemented the multi-state primary campaign plan that successfully launched Obama to the White House.”
Following the primary, Nugen was put in charge of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, where he oversaw all aspects of the convention operation for the campaign.
For the final two months of the campaign, Nugen traveled with then–Sen. Joe Biden and served as an Obama senior political adviser.
Before joining the Obama campaign, Nugen was the deputy executive director at the Democratic National Committee.
A Politico.com profile of Nugen says he “was there when they debated internally about which parts of their economic plan to emphasize and which to abandon. Ditto for any health care reform plan.”
“In addition, he has at hand a Rolodex brimming with contact information for hundreds of state and national Democratic leaders,” continued the profile.
Politico noted that when he was first hired at Ogilvy, Nugen took on the position of a strategist rather than a registered lobbyist – a title difference that could later allow him to circumvent Obama’s general ban on hiring lobbyists at the White House.
Meanwhile, Judicial Watch revealed the White House and Ogilvy campaign to sell Obamacare specifically targeted Hispanics, blacks, women and people under the age of 26.
One email to the White House, posted by Judicial Watch, summarized a conference call stating, “You want to utilize the bulk of their paid media efforts (which would include expenditures for Radio One and Univision) on media that reaches African Americans and Hispanics. The money will go farther and these audiences continue to be a top priority.”
The email noted the White House was “most interested” in focusing its overall efforts on mothers, families and young people under 26.
Another email, from January, discussed new banners regarding the health care law. For the Spanish-language banner, an Ogilvy representative wrote of the accompanying image: “I realize we really can’t use the blond mom and child for this audience.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement that Americans should be “disturbed” by the campaign.
“The Obama administration is using taxpayer dollars to manipulate public opinion,” he said.