The U.S. Department of Education spent $18,000 on media training provided by a Democratic strategy group that partakes in some of the most contentious political and cultural battles in America, including abortion rights, LGBT rights, and gun control.
In April, the Department of Education spent $9,000 on a month-long contract with SKDKnickerbocker for “executive media training,” federal spending records show. On June 9, the Education Department entered into a separate $9,000 contract with the company for “media training and hearing preparation.” The second contract is set to expire on August 31.
SKDKnickerbocker worked directly with the Biden campaign during the previous election. Its website boasts a banner that thanks President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for fighting for the “soul of the nation.”
During the election, SKDKnickerbocker provided “misinformation briefings” to California officials who used them as part of an effort to ask big tech companies to censor election-related speech.
In the leadup to the 2020 election, SKDKnickerbocker also received a $35 million no-bid contract with the state of California to conduct a “nonpartisan” voter outreach campaign called Vote Safe California.
The contract led to a lawsuit that alleged that former California Secretary of State and current U.S. Senator Alex Padilla carried out “unlawful” spending of taxpayer funds by using the “services of a partisan political consulting firm.”
The lawsuit alleged that Padilla sent invitations to seven political consulting firms to “bid” on the $35 million contract, though the invitations were “directed only at partisan political consulting firms — not traditional non-partisan advertising agencies.” According to the lawsuit, when other agencies contacted Padilla, they were allegedly told that it was a “closed, invitation-only” bid.
SKDKnickerbocker has been embroiled in political scandals for years. The consulting firm hired former Obama White House communications director Anita Dunn and Time’s Up Legal Defense founder Hilary Rosen.
The consulting firm has worked with some of the most well-known names in Democratic politics, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. SKDKnickerbocker also represented Christine Blasey Ford during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings.
In 2012, Republic Report, a left-wing media outlet, accused SKDKnickerbocker of operating as an “unregistered lobbying firm” that used its ties to President Obama and leaders in Congress to push an agenda.
That year, Politico called it “an open secret in the Dem consultant community that SKD has been signing up clients based on ‘perceived White House access’ tied to prior relationships and employment.”
SKDKnickerbocker has also run public affairs campaigns for notably “woke” corporations as well, including Kelloggs, Amazon, and The Walt Disney Company. It also represented the TransCanada Corporation, which developed the KeystoneXL pipeline, the Obama Presidential Library, and Pfizer.
The Department of Education did not respond to The Daily Wire’s request for comment on whether it was appropriate to spend taxpayer dollars on a partisan consulting firm.
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