Monday, March 05, 2007

Dear Mr. Ashcroft

March 5, 2007

Dear Mr. Ashcroft,

I am writing to inquire about your services to the NAB with regards to the proposed satellite radio merger between Sirius and XM.

It is my clear understanding from multiple sources that you had first offered your services to XM Satellite Radio prior to being hired by the NAB.

I can understand that you are a professional lobbyist, and that job carries with it certain slants with regards to your approach to the issues. Your stance, slant and arguments will be designed to serve the best interest of the group that has procured your services.

If you are not aware, you have now suffered a credibility gap due to your offering services to both sides of the issue. Indeed, you would have never approached XM if you did not have what would have been very compelling arguments in favor of the merger. As a consumer, your opinion now carries no weight whatsoever until such a time that you share what your stance would have been if Sirius and XM were paying you rather than the NAB.

I fully understand that every organization and company has many reasons for the stances that are taken. I also understand that lobbyists and attorneys are compensated handsomely for their work on behalf of organizations and companies. What I find troubling, and you should as well, is that it is quite transparent that you had first developed an opinion of support for the merger, and it was only after your services were not retained that you decided to take the other side.

Your conduct as a company has left things such that it is very likely no one will receive any benefit from your services. Surly the NAB can not be happy to learn that your first move was to support the merger. Having that information become public can not help the matter. If I were the NAB I would be quite embarrassed and frustrated that you have take your particular path.

Additionally, consumers and those that support the merger are now slighted because your initial opinion and arguments in support of the merger will likely never see the light of day.

Mr. Ashcroft, you have served this country in a position of power. Your service to the nation is greatly appreciated whether people agreed or disagreed with your stance on issue. No one can ever take your dedicated service away from you. Your legacy however is not decided by your service, but rather your actions, and the public opinion regarding those actions. It takes but a few small mistakes to see a potential legacy damaged beyond repair. In my opinion, you have made such a mistake, and are currently on a path of irreparable harm to your reputation.

It is not too late to fix the mistake you made. You can show some dignity by resigning your post as a lobbyist for the NAB, and publish your opinions both pro and con regarding the merger. This would effectively place you on the sidelines and without a client and billable hours, but can go a long way in preserving your reputation. I can assure you that going forward, any potential client will ask whether or not you have approached the other side, and will likely have a seed of doubt surrounding whether or not to accept your services.

I write this as a supporter of the merger, but also as a concerned consumer. Lobbyists have a place in our government, but what has transpired here is a shining example of the potential problems with lobby groups. Is the merger yet another issue where big dollars spent on lobbyists will be the determining factor?

In closing, I would respectfully suggest that you decide upon a horse prior to approaching them, and refrain from approaching the other horse.


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3/05/2007 06:01:00 PM

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