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For Reilly, things go better with Coke

IT’S THE real thing: Attorney General Tom Reilly is running for governor in the shadow of Killer Coke.

This week, the New York-based Campaign to Stop Killer Coke announced plans to dog Deval Patrick on the campaign trail about his tenure as Coca Cola’s general counsel.

The week before, top Reilly campaign operatives discussed, via e-mail, how to ‘‘map out shadow plans for our friend at Killer Coke.’’ The ‘‘friend’’ is a reference to Ray Rogers, the labor leader who runs a campaign aimed at exposing Coke’s alleged misdeeds around the world.

On Aug. 3, David Guarino, communications director for Reilly for Massachusetts, e-mailed two top Reilly advisers -- Will Keyser at Hill Holiday and John Stefanini, a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig:

‘‘Subject: Re: ‘‘Killer coke’’

‘‘Per Will’s suggestion, I called (consultant) Geri Denterlein to begin to map out shadow plans for our friend at Killer Coke. She says she can’t do it because her clients are on the management side of union/management strife and Killer Coke is obviously on the union side. She is going to continue to try to think of suggestions but came up with the following: Scott Ferson, Steve Crawford or Ernie Corrigan. They are all good guys but not sure their involvement in campaign ... Other ideas?’’

The e-mail continues: ‘‘I think in addition to the labor we’ve secured, they just need a semi-savvy person to execute a schedule.’’

Guarino then proposes a detailed media calendar for the week ahead. For Sunday: ‘‘interview with Globe, talk about week ahead, stops to make, issues to raise, give them flier, pose for pic.’’ For Tuesday/Wednesday, among other things: ‘‘columnist pitches’’ to ‘‘Bailey, Vennochi, Lehigh, Buckingham, Brett Arends, McGrory.’’ The proposal for Thursday refers to ‘‘Evening Deval fundraiser in Boston — hit it hard with standout/rally/labor handing out fliers. Push TV to go back.’’ (On Thursday night, Rogers and a few protesters picketed a Patrick fund-raiser in the South End, according to Doug Rubin of the Patrick campaign.)

Subsequent e-mail correspondence from Guarino embraces a wider circle of Reilly advisers: Sean Sinclair at the Reilly campaign, Robert A. Sherman, at Greenberg Traurig; and Reilly chief of staff Stephen Kerrigan. They consider various PR consultants and end with Guarino’s proposal to ask consultant Kimberly Hinden for help: ‘‘She is a close friend, huge Tom supporter (although worked as Registrar of Motor Vehicles under Swift and Romney), runs PR consulting company, was deputy communications director in AG’s office and prior to that at Channels 4 and 5. No question about her loyalty, saavy, skills and discretion.’’

On Aug. 4, Guarino e-mails Sherman at Greenberg Traurig and asks: ‘‘Bob Any update?’’ Sherman’s reponse: ‘‘Yes. Spoke to her. She is on board assuming he checks out okay after she meets him.’’

When first asked whether the Reilly campaign had any involvement with Killer Coke, Guarino said, ‘‘Our campaign got a call from Ray Rogers to let us know he is coming to town. My understanding is that he called other campaigns.’’ Said Guarino: ‘‘Our campaign has had no involvement with him, that’s the truth.’’ (A spokesman for candidate Christopher Gabrieli said Rogers ‘‘never called here and nobody here has spoken to him.’’)

Pressed with specifics about the e-mail exchange, Guarino later responded with this, via e-mail: ‘‘Given the seriousness of the charges raised by Mr. Rogers, of course we had discussions — which are reflected in the e-mails you’ve been given. In the end, allies of ours spoke with Mr. Rogers to discuss his charges but the campaign decided to keep him at arm’s length. Our campaign decided not to get directly involved in Mr. Rogers’ efforts because we didn’t want him to be seen as a tool of a rival campaign ... We believe Mr. Rogers offers a legitimate point of view and raises important questions that Mr. Patrick, as a candidate for Governor, should answer.’’

The Reilly campaign certainly has an interesting definition of what it means to keep someone ‘‘at arm’s length.’’ In this campaign, it apparently means setting up a rival’s enemy with PR help and media contacts, and then hiding behind him.

To get the picture: envision Reilly standing in the shadow of his friend from Killer Coke.

Joan Vennochi’s e-mail address is

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