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NRCC Reins In InfoCision’s Role

Hoping to cut costs and inject some competition into its fundraising operation, the National Republican Congressional Committee has restructured its contract with the telemarketing firm InfoCision and brought in three other companies to do phone-bank work.

Relying heavily on InfoCision, the NRCC raised a record $186 million in the 2004 cycle. But the House GOP’s campaign arm also drew scrutiny from some Republican lawmakers for paying the Akron, Ohio-based firm more than $55 million for its services.

While the NRCC has publicly expressed satisfaction with InfoCision’s work, particularly its ability to vastly expand the committee’s donor base, the campaign group nevertheless has decided to change its financial arrangement with the company this cycle.

“We’ve cut the management fees by 50 percent and costs per call by almost 30 percent,” said NRCC spokesman Carl Forti.

The changes were laid out to the NRCC’s executive committee at a meeting Thursday morning.

One lawmaker who sits on the committee said the reason for the InfoCision change was simple: “cost.” The Member explained that the NRCC realized it could get other firms to do work similar to InfoCision’s and would thus have more leverage in negotiating a new contract.

In addition to InfoCision, the NRCC will now also give substantial telemarketing business to St. Paul, Minn.-based Strategic Telecommunications Inc., Tempe, Ariz.-based MDS Communications and Phoenix-based Feather, Larson and Synhorst.

“Since campaign finance reform went into effect, we’ve been trying to reach out to new donors, and increasing the number of firms allows us to do that,” Forti said.

Strategic Telecommunications and Feather Larson already did some work for the NRCC in the previous cycle. While MDS did not receive any NRCC business in the previous cycle, it did do a significant amount of telemarketing for the Republican National Committee.

While its role — and its rates — have been reduced, InfoCision will remain in the mix. Through the first three months of this year, the NRCC paid $7.9 million to InfoCision and roughly $1 million to Strategic Telecommunications.

It is difficult to divine from the NRCC’s public reports exactly how much return the committee got from its $55 million-plus investment in InfoCision services in the previous cycle.

While the committee raised $146 million in individual contributions, some of that money came via the NRCC’s other fundraising efforts.

According to Political Money Line, InfoCision’s other major Capitol Hill client, Freshmen PAC, raised $4.94 million in individual contributions in the 2004 cycle and paid InfoCision $4.38 million, meaning the firm took in at least 88 cents for every dollar it raised for the PAC.

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