Rich Beeson has been the political director of the Republican National Committee since January 2007. Immediately prior to this, Rich was a partner at FLS Connect, a political telemarketing firm. Beeson first joined the RNC in 1997 as a regional finance director, and from 1998 until 2005, he was a regional political director. During his tenure in those two positions, his various regions encompassed 21 states.
Ricky Feller is the associate director of the political action department at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees international union. He is responsible for the oversight of all aspects of the union's political programs, including member mobilization and general public voter contact. Feller worked for presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial, state legislative, county executive, mayoral and coordinated campaigns prior to his tenure at AFSCME. He also held positions in the federal and state governments.
Karen Finney is director of communications of the Democratic National Committee. She joined the DNC staff in 2005, helping shape the messages that contributed to Democratic victories in the 2006 midterm elections and in the 2008 campaigns. Previously, she was director of communications for Elizabeth Edwards during the 2004 Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign, and in 2000 she was press secretary for Hillary Clinton's successful campaign for the U.S. Senate in New York. Finney entered politics working on the Clinton/Gore campaign advance team in 1992, and later served for several years in the White House.
Brooks Jackson is director of FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The Web site is a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that monitors the accuracy of what is said by U.S. political players in ads, debates and speeches. Jackson is a journalist who covered Washington and national politics for 34 years, reporting for the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal and CNN. At CNN, he pioneered the “adwatch” and “factcheck” form of stories debunking false and misleading political statements, starting with the 1992 election. He is the author of three books, including “unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation” with Kathleen Hall Jamieson (Random House, 2007).
Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Kathleen Jamieson, Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, is the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. She has written extensively on the press, politics and presidential campaigns. Her research into deceptive political TV ads produced techniques that are now in common use in TV “adwatch” stories. Among the many books she has authored are: “Dirty Politics: Deception, Distraction, and Democracy” (Oxford University Press, 1992) and “Everything You Think You Know About Politics...and Why You're Wrong” (Basic Books, 2000).
Ed Patru is the vice president for communications of Freedom’s Watch, a 501(c)4 conservative issues advocacy organization founded in mid-2007. Previously, Patru was communications director of the House Republican Conference, where he helped devise communication strategy for the House Republican minority. He also has worked for the National Republican Congressional Committee as deputy communications director and as press secretary. Patru’s political career began in Michigan on the reelection campaign of former Gov. John Engler. He then spent three years doing campaign-related communications for the Michigan Republican Party. In 2000, he worked on the Michigan presidential primary campaign of Sen. John McCain.
Cecile Richards is president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, where she oversees engagement in educational and electoral activity, including legislative advocacy, voter education and grassroots organizing. Richards also oversees the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Political Action Committee, which is committed to supporting pro-choice, pro-family planning candidates for federal office. Previously, Richards served as deputy chief of staff for Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The daughter of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, she worked with her mother on her very first campaign, the election to the state Legislature of Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who successfully argued the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.
Lawrence R. Scanlon Jr.
Lawrence Scanlon is the director of the political action department at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He started his career in the union in 1974 as a field representative for the 250,000-member New York Civil Service Employees Association, AFSCME Local 1000. He held a series of positions with the union and was appointed executive director in 1992. In 1995, President Gerald W. McEntee tapped Scanlon to direct AFSCME's political department. His responsibilities for the 1.6 million-member union include the development and implementation of the union's political strategy to support candidates and campaigns (federal, state and local) that will positively impact public policy and union-member issues.
Rodger Schlickeisen has held the position of CEO of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund since its founding in February 2001. He also has been president of Defenders of Wildlife since September 1991. Prior to joining the organization, Schlickeisen’s experience included serving as CEO of Craver, Mathews, Smith & Company, a leading consultancy for progressive advocacy organizations. He served in the Carter White House as associate director of the U.S. Office of Management & Budget, and he was chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus. Schlickeisen is on the board of the national League of Conservation Voters and the LCV Education Fund. He is also a member of LCV's political committee.
Scott Wheeler is executive director of the National Republican Trust PAC, which came into being Sept. 26, 2008, raising millions to run ads against Barack Obama. Wheeler writes for the conservative site Newsmax and previously worked for Insight magazine. He is a former television producer and investigative journalist. He has focused on domestic and international security issues and has produced 17 television documentaries and consulted on more than a dozen others. Among Wheeler’s work is "Trading with the Enemy: How the Clinton Administration Armed Communist China," released in 2000. He also has focused on the war zones in Yugoslavia and international arms smuggling in Canada, Europe and the Middle East.