GOP Front Group Steals Photo From Portland Tribune To Use In Ad

By Erik Sorenson of Portland, Oregon. Erik is a political researcher and activist.

It appears the GOP front group, USA Next stole a photo from the Portland Tribune to use in one of their political attack ads. For all of you that don't know, USA Next is the group heavily involved in smearing the American Association Of Retired Citizens (AAPR) over the Social Security debate.

What is most notable about USA Next is their relationship to the Republican Party and other conservative groups. The group was founded in 1991 by conservative activist and godfather of direct mail, Richard Viguerie. Aside from the group being advised by Republican consultants, the current president and CEO, Charles Jarvis, has heavy ties to the Republican Party and has worked for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Likewise, much of the staff is composed of conservative activists and lobbyists that have ties to the GOP and other right-wing groups including James Dobson's organization, Focus on the Family.

USA Next landed in newspapers after they hired ad consultants from another GOP front group, The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The Swift Boat Vets are best known for conducting a well-planned smear campaign based on lies against Senator Kerry. Now USA Next has launched a campaign against AARP smearing them in the same Rovian style, accusing the group of backing gay marriage and not supporting U.S. Troops, among other things.

There is no telling where this story will go, but one thing is for sure, it is a dandy one.


  • allehseya (unverified)

    Dandy is an understatement. This is the kind of thing that we should be pushing to the forefront in exposing the unethical tactics of the conservative right's formulaic protocol:

    Viguerie's formula has changed little over the years: stir conservatives to open their checkbooks using sharp attacks, dire warnings and strong rhetoric. "The only time we win is when there is a sharp ideological difference," he told an interviewer more than a decade ago.

    How much more of a confession can we get on the use of gay marriage to divide and detract a nation?

    The problem is that we too often take on the lackadaisical approach demonstrated by the AARP on this very issue:

    AARP says it has taken no position on gay marriage and dismisses USA Next's attacks. "We've deliberately not responded to erroneous accusations of USA Next because USA Next does not propose legislation, vote on legislation, nor does it sign legislation into law," spokesman Steve Hahn said.

    It’s true that there is no telling where this story will go -- but one thing is for sure – if organizations don’t use every bit of ammunition they can muster against such tactics (that have proven successful and remain underestimated in the effectiveness by those harmed most from them) – then this story, it’s issues and its potential impact on citizen awareness -- will sadly and tragically go nowhere.

  • Becky (unverified)

    No surprise out of any of these characters.

  • (Show?)

    A non-story. Let's get to real issues.

    The group has admitted it made a mistake. If you read the story in Friday's Trib, it's quite easy to realize how the mistake was made.

    The American Spectator has owned up to the error as well and apologized as well.

    This is a nothing story, folks.

    And calling this a "GOP Front Group" is silly. Of course there are links between this group and the GOP, just like there are links between and the Democratic Party. But that does not mean that everything that does is a sinister action for the Democrats.

  • Ronald Krause (unverified)

    It is an issue, if the group is selling the GOP sham plan of privatizing Social Security. You need to go back and read a bit. USA Next IS a front group for the GOP and THEY ARE smearing AARP as a way to shut them up. With their Karl Rove tactics, USA Next and GOP operatives are doing what they do best, pulling the wool over the eyes of American citizens. It is the same old crap the Swift Boat Vermin for Bush pulled. Get real.

    Look, regardless if the stolen photo was a mistake or not, it shows that these bozos will do anything to smear a group that honestly cares about seniors and the future of this nation's retirees. The GOP, well as usual they are using just another name to do their dirty work.

    The bottom line is, USA Next and Art Linkletter with his magical bed only have desire to shill for the GOP and help set the plan in motion to destroy Social Security. This mission they have been on since the programs inception.

    That said, I see a whole lot of story going on Mr. Gronke. You just need to put on your eyeglasses.

  • Erik Sorenson (unverified)


    Gay Couple Sue Over Illegal Wedding Picture
    by Paul Johnson Washington Bureau Chief

    Posted: March 9, 2005 3:30 pm ET

    (Washington) A gay couple from Portland, Oregon whose wedding picture was illegally used in an ad by a conservative group filed suit Wednesday in federal court in Washington, DC.

    M. Raymen and Steven P. Hansen are seeking $25 million in damages.

    The ad, by USA Next, is attacking the AARP for opposing the Bush administration's proposed changes to Social Security and attempts to "discredit" the organization by suggesting it supports gay marriage and opposes the war in Iraq.>>

  • Erik Sorenson (unverified)


    Federal Judge Bans Use Of Gay Wedding Photo

    (Washington) A federal judge Thursday issued a restraining order prohibiting a conservative group from using a picture of a gay Portland, Oregon in an ad condemning the American Association for Retired People.

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