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Celinda Lake

Progressive pollster Celinda Lake has blasted a WND investigative report that raised questions about her ties to Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke as “paranoia,” “conspiracy theory” and an attempt to deflect “because they won’t condemn Rush Limbaugh.”

WND’s report had demonstrated a link between Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who pushed for Fluke to testify on birth control before a pair of House committees, and Lake’s polling outfit.

The report asked the question, “Did the congresswomen who pushed Fluke’s testimony coordinate with a marketing and polling outfit that recently conducted a survey to determine whether contraception mandates can become a possible presidential election issue?”

“I appreciate the paranoia and conspiracy theory – coming from the land of black ‘helicopters,’” the Huffington Post quoted Lake as saying. “I am also really flattered by the perception of our influence and strategic involvement. That said, we had nothing to do with organizing the Sandra Fluke incident and reaction.”

“Actually, Rush Limbaugh and Congressman Issa created this,” she said.

Lake claimed to the Huffington Post that Republicans are in a bad place because language like “slut” and “whore” would turn off women voters in general, even those who disagree with mandating birth control.

“I’m flabbergasted. I think it’s bizarre,” she said. “All I can say is they’re trying to deflect because they won’t condemn Rush Limbaugh. They can’t cut their losses and so they’re trying to deflect, but they sound like raving maniacs. … I don’t think it’s going to even remotely work.”

Is this why Fluke was picked to testify?

According to reports, Maloney has originally pushed for Fluke to testify before the House Oversight Committee and later thanked Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for bringing Fluke before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

Maloney also initiated the call for Fluke to sue Rush Limbaugh for his on-air derogatory remark about Fluke, according to the Daily Beast.

WND reported last week that Maloney is tied to Lake, who recently ran extensive polling in an effort to gauge voters’ reactions to including birth control or contraception in insurance coverage.

Lake, in turns, heads Lake Research, which not only recently ran extensive polling in an effort to gauge voters’ reactions to including birth control or contraception in insurance coverage, but also lists both Maloney and Pelosi as recent clients.

During the hearing, Maloney thanked Pelosi “for bringing Sandra (Fluke) to this hearing and for your commitment to these issues that are so important to tens of millions of women and men across our country.”

In a Politico article two weeks ago titled “2012: The year of ‘birth control moms’?” Lake was quoted as saying Obama’s stance on contraception is enough to “really irritate” independent suburban moms and “re-engage” young, single women who haven’t tuned into the campaign so far.

Lake said that she and other Democrats see the strong Republican opposition to contraception as a way to win women back after they swung right in 2010, even though they backed Obama in big numbers in 2008.

Politico also quoted Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University, as warning of a major female backlash if the Republicans overreach on contraception.

Lake, quoted by Politico, is no bystander on the contraception debate.

WND has found that her Lake Research is one of the driving forces behind the progressive strategy to use contraception as an election issue.

According to Lake’s website, her company conducted polling on the contraception issue in conjunction with an organization called the Communications Consortium Media Center, or CCMC, and the Herndon Alliance marketing firm.

WND previously reported how the Herndon Alliance helped to market Obamacare, even providing suggestions on which words supporters should use to promote the bill.

Lake’s research on voters attitudes on contraception found Catholic voters tend to mirror voters overall when it comes to reproductive healthcare services that the Affordable Care Act will cover.

Related Lake’s website: “Not only are Catholics favorable to including birth control or contraception in insurance coverage, these inclusions also make them more favorable toward the Affordable Care Act.

“Moreover, a majority of Catholics say that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ criticism of the requirement to cover contraception and birth control with no co-pay or deductible makes no difference in how they view the Affordable Care Act,” it concludes.

Lake also found affirmative reaction on the following issues, according to the Women Donors Network:

  • Can communicating these new preventive health services to women boost public support for the Obama administration’s premiere domestic policy initiative?
  • What are communication strategies to shift the discussion on health care to a winning one for progressives?

The Women Donor Network noted the polling was funded by Lake and conducted by CCMC and the Herndon Alliance.

CCMC says its work focuses on a cluster of issues, including “children and families, early education and child welfare reform, health care, women’s equality, reproductive rights, global population, the environment, voting, civil rights and immigration.”

CCMC is funded in part by the Fulfilling the Dream Fund, a project of the Public Interest Projects.

Prior to Georgetown, Fluke worked with Sanctuary for Families in New York City, where she launched the agency’s pilot Program Evaluation Initiative.

Another Sanctuary employee was Berta Colon, who now serves as president the Public Interest Projects that funded the CCMC.

Fluke is also co-president of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, where she has been helping lead the push to have the Georgetown student health-insurance plan cover contraception.

More possible Obama ties?

WND also asked whether Fluke had any prior connection to Obama administration officials before a report came out confirming former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn’s PR firm is now representing Fluke.

This week, faculty members, staff and students of Georgetown University Law Center and other law schools signed a statement that “strongly condemn[s] the recent personal attacks on our student.”

One signatory was Georgetown Law Professor Rosa Brooks, who served from 2009 until June 2011 as the Obama administration’s adviser to Michelle Fluornoy, the undersecretary of defense for policy, a position described as one of the most influential in the Pentagon.

Brooks serves as faculty director of Georgetown Law School’s Human Rights Institute. Brooks may have worked with Fluke, who co-founded a campus committee addressing human trafficking, according to her Georgetown bio.

Brooks previously served as special counsel to the president at billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute. She has consulted for Human Rights Watch and served as a board member of Amnesty International USA.

Another close Obama associate, John Podesta, is currently the visiting professor of law Georgetown.

Podesta is chairman of the Center for American Progress, which is influential in helping to craft Obama administration policy. Podesta co-directed Obama’s transition into the White House in 2008.

A Time magazine article profiled the influence of Podesta’s Center for American Progress in the formation of the Obama administration, stating that “not since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan’s transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway.”

With research by Brenda J. Elliott

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