By Aaron Klein
Prior to her testimony to Congress, did Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke have any prior connection to Obama administration officials?
Did the Congresswomen who pushed Fluke’s testimony coordinate with a marketing outfit that recently conducted polling to determine whether contraception mandates can become a possible presidential election issue?
According to reports, it was Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, who pushed for Fluke’s testimony. Maloney also initiated the call for Fluke to sue Rush Limbaugh for his on-air derogatory remark about Fluke, according to The Daily Beast.
Maloney is tied to a progressive pollster, Celinda Lake, who recently ran extensive polling in an effort to gauge voters’ reactions to including birth control or contraception in insurance coverage.
Lake heads Lake Research, which lists both Maloney and Nancy Pelosi as recent clients.
During the hearing, Maloney thanked Nancy 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 entitled “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.
KleinOnline has found that her Lake Research is one of the driving forces behind the progressive strategy to use contraception as an election.
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.
KleinOnline 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 US 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.”
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 the 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, which is a project of the Public Interest Projects.
Prior to Georgetown, Fluke previously worked with Sanctuary for Families in New York City, where she launched the agency’s pilot Program Evaluation Initiative.
Another Sanctuary employee was Berta Colón, who now serves as president the Public Interest Projects that funded the CCMC.
Fluke’s Georgetown bio, meanwhile, says that through Georgetown’s clinic programs, she “conducted proposed legislation based on fact-finding in Kenya regarding child trafficking for domestic work, and has represented victims of domestic violence in protection order cases.”
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?
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