By Aaron Klein
A little-known group called the Herndon Alliance has been the driving force in branding Obamacare to the public.
It was this group that advised President Obama to say Americans can maintain their choice of doctors and insurers under his health-care plan, KleinOnline has learned.
The Herndon Alliance is openly partnered with a number of radical groups, including MoveOn, the National Council of La Raza and a slew of George Soros-funded activist organizations.
It is also partnered with a “direct action” group dedicated to the teachings of radical Saul Alinsky.
The original research that informed Herndon’s blueprint for marketing Obamacare, KleinOnline has found, was concocted by the imaging guru for the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.
Herndon’s campaign was also based on survey data from progressive pollster Celinda Lake, whose information was central in President Obama’s 2012 campaign decision to turn contraception for women into a key election issue.
Lake and Herndon have been providing strategy to Enroll America, the main organization pushing for the uninsured to sign up for Obamacare. Enroll America’s executive director, Ron Pollack, was a founding member of Herndon.
Behind Obamacare since beginning
The Herndon Alliance has been behind the marketing campaign for Obamacare since the inception of the legislation.
Herndon is “the most influential group in the health arena that the public has never heard of,” reported Politico in 2009.
Politico reported that when Obama repeatedly announced Americans can maintain their “choice” of doctors and insurance plans, “he is using a Herndon strategy for wringing fear out of a system overhaul.”
The Herndon Alliance evolved following an early 2005 three-day meeting attended by about 50 people in Herndon, Va. The gathering was coordinated by Seattle family physician Bob Crittenden, now the Herndon Alliance executive director, and Philippe Villers, who serves on the current board of directors as secretary-treasurer.
Villers and his wife co-founded Families USA, or FUSA, in 1981. FUSA was run by Pollack, who is now running Enroll America.
Controversial pollster, contraceptives
The research component of the Herndon Alliance is provided by Celinda Lake, who teamed up with a marketing research firm, American Environics. AE uses social-values surveys to gauge public opinion.
Lake was commissioned recently by Enroll America to determine how best to market the Obamacare enrolment campaign to the public.
Lake’s survey found that even with tax credits and federal subsidies, those without insurance still considered the cost of Obamacare too heavy.
She recommended Enroll America not cite any specific dollar amounts when trying to convince the uninsured to sign up.
Lake’s firm, together with Herndon, was one of the driving forces behind the progressive strategy to use contraception as an election issue in 2012.
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.
Lake’s research on voters attitudes on contraception found Roman Catholic voters tend to mirror voters overall when it comes to reproductive health-care services that the Affordable Care Act will cover.
Lake’s website said: “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.”
Herndon’s decision-making for how to market Obamacare was based significantly on the theoretical work of American Environics, which was founded in 2004 by a team of American strategists and Canadian researchers.
AE describes itself as a consulting firm that uses social-values surveys, cognitive linguistics and political psychology to help foundations and nonprofits develop breakthrough social change initiatives.
AE writes that since 2005, its research findings and strategic initiatives on health care, the economy and the environment have been used by multiple members of Congress.
In April 2005, current AE managing partners Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger started AE’s American branch.
Shellenberger previously worked for the anti-corporate, anti-globalization Global Exchange in San Francisco before starting a spin-off public relations firm in 1996, Communication Works.
By 2001, Shellenberger’s firm had grown and he merged it with Fenton Communications.
Fenton is the main marketing strategist for groups funded by the Soros-financed Tides Center. Fenton also crafted the public relations strategy of MoveOn.org, as well as a who’s who of far-left causes, organizations and activists, from Soros himself to Health Care for America Now to a number of anti-war groups.
In 2004, Shellenberger registered with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent.
His prime client was Venezuelan dictator Chavez. Shellenberger’s private consulting firm, Lumina Strategies LLC, got a six-month, $60,000 subcontract to help build up Chavez’s image, including by providing polling data.
Shellenberger is also a founder of the Apollo Alliance.
KleinOnline has reported Apollo is led by a host of radicals, including Van Jones, Obama’s former “green” jobs czar, who resigned after it was exposed he founded a communist revolutionary group.
Jeff Jones, who heads Apollo’s New York branch, is a former top leader of the Weathermen terrorist organization, while Apollo associate Joel Rogers is a founder of the socialist-oriented New Party.
In May 2006, the AE team of Nordhaus and Shellenberger presented the Road Map for a Health Justice Majority to the Herndon Alliance.
Developed from a values perspective, the Road Map provides a “long-term guide for how to build that Base into a true majority based on activating shared values.”
The Road Map served as a basis for the Herndon Alliance’s plans to influence Americans into accepting the Obama government health care reform plans.
The Obamacare activist group Health Care for America Now’s Richard Kirsch told Carrie Budoff Brown about AE’s findings: “The research from 2006 to 2007 was fundamental to helping shape our view of how to talk about health care and, generally, how progressives and Democrats talk about health care.”
Alinsky Academy, spreading wealth
The Herndon Alliance website lists the group’s “partners,” including the Soros-funded Center for American Progress. Van Jones works at the heavily influential group.
Other Herndon partners are the AFL-CIO, MoveOn, National Council of La Raza and the socialist-oriented SEIU union.
Yet another Herndon partner is Citizens Action of Wisconsin, an arm of the Midwest Academy.
Midwest is dedicated to teaching the tactics of radical organizer Saul Alinsky.
Obama himself once funded Midwest Academy. He has been closely tied to Midwest’s founder, Heather Booth.
Booth has stated building a “progressive majority” would help for “a fair distribution of wealth and power and opportunity.”
She founded Midwest in the 1970s with her husband, Paul, a founder and the former national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society, the radical 1960s anti-war movement from which William Ayers’ domestic Weather Underground terrorist organization splintered.
The Woods Fund, a nonprofit on which Obama served as paid director from 1999 to December 2002, provided capital to the Midwest Academy. WND was first to report Obama sat on the Woods Fund board alongside Ayers.
In 1999, Booth’s Midwest Academy received $75,000 from the Woods Fund. In 2002, with Obama still serving on the Woods Fund, Midwest received another $23,500 for its Young Organizers Development Program.
Midwest describes itself as “one of the nation’s oldest and best-known schools for community organizations, citizen organizations and individuals committed to progressive social change.”
It later morphed into a national organizing institute for an emerging network of organizations known as Citizen Action.
Discover the Networks describes Midwest as “teach[ing] tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation.”
WND first reported the executive director of Midwest was part of the team that developed volunteers for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.
With reporting and research by Brenda J. Elliott.