The influential American Conservative Union thought they had Fedex by the throat last month when they offered to sell the shipping company their lobbying support over a pending federal bill that is friendly to UPS. For $2 to 3 million, they offered a range of services, including “op-eds and articles written by ACU’s Chairman David Keene and/or other members of the ACU’s board of directors. (Note that Mr. Keene writes a weekly column that appears in The Hill.)” While this kind of backroom “pay to play” skulduggery is never written about, it’s certainly not unheard of, and the ACU must have figured that FedEx would know how the whole thing worked and, you know, be cool about it.
When FedEx, after receiving the offer in the form of a letter, ignored it, the ACU played their trump card and threw their weight behind UPS (which says it didn’t pay them a dime) and the legislation. Presumably, somewhere along the line, some stiff at the ACU wearing a J.Press tie rattled the ice in his Scotch glass and said something like, “That will show them to pay up next time” — but that’s just conjecture on our part (the J.Press part, at least). Unfortunately for the right-wing group, FedEx responded by simply doing what it does best: forwarding the mail. In this case, they sent the ACU’s letter right to Politico.com, which posted the scoop and outed the ACU for this sketchy practice. We’d like to imagine that, at this point, several J.Press (or similarly high-end) silk ties were yanked off and thrown to the floor in frustration.
Conservative group offers support for $2M [Politico]