This week, Allison Vivas of Pink Visual received a fax from Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF) group, informing her that she’s been chosen for a 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year award by his Business Defense and Advisory Council. From the letter obtained by ThinkProgress:
Newt would like to arrange a private dinner with you at the historic Capitol Hill Club on the evening of October 7, 2009 in Washington. You’ll dine privately with Newt at this exclusive venue and he’ll take the occasion to present you with your well deserved award and have your photo taken together.
This tremendous honor is a testament to your success in building your business and recognition of the risks you take to create jobs and stimulate the economy. As an award winner, you’ll be on the ground floor as Newt and his Council begin the work to turn this country around. … Newt is looking forward to hearing your ideas on getting the economy moving again and getting your feedback on his plans over dinner.
Pink Visual is a porn DVD superstore — not the type of company you’d expect Gingrich would want stimulating the economy. ThinkProgress contacted Gingrich aide Joe Gaylord, who sent the faxed letter to Vivas, but we didn’t receive a response. An ASWF representative reportedly called Pink Visual this morning saying it had “inadvertently” sent the fax to Vivas and was retracting the honor. Pink Visual’s marketing coordinator Q Boyer didn’t buy the excuse:
“Allison was disappointed to receive a call this morning from an ASWF representative stating that the fax had been sent to her ‘inadvertently,’” Boyer told AVN.com. “We’re not entirely clear on how one ‘inadvertently’ sends a fax to the right person at the correct fax number, so our sense is that this is damage control on the part of a group that is having second thoughts about either recognizing the excellent work of a porn company entrepreneur in light of their own conservative political and social orientation, or having second thoughts about their promotional methodology and communication protocols.”
Ironically, on May 17, 1995, Gingrich led a press conference on Capitol Hill announcing the Christian Coalition’s 10-point “Contract with the American Family,” a conservative legislative wish list. One of the items in the contract: restricting pornography. From Gingrich’s comments:
“We are committed to scheduling the hearings, to scheduling the mark-up and to scheduling the bills on the floor,” Gingrich said. “We’re committed to implementing the contract with the family.“
Gingrich’s Business Defense and Advisory Council appears to be an outreach to small businesses nationwide. We spoke with Larry Kudeviz, owner of Genesis Press in South Carolina and previous award-winner. Kudeviz said that when he attended the dinner with Gingrich recently, there were about 30 or 40 other entrepreneurs there. He, like Vivas, was surprised to get the award because he had never had any contact with the Speaker. Since the dinner, he has continued to receive e-mail updates from ASWF.
Jarvis Coffin, CEO and President of Burst Media, also received an invitation to attend the Oct. 7 dinner with Gingrich. In a post on the Huffington Post, he wondered how Gingrich’s group found his e-mail address and whether it was breaking FCC rules by sending unsolicited faxes. The outreach by ASWF left a “bad taste in my mouth,” wrote Coffin.
Listed on the agenda for the dinner is time for video testimonies. In the fax Gaylord sent to Vivas, this portion is circled with the note, “Please come prepared to share your thoughts on how we can help your business.” Vivas also received a fax showing a mock award and a replica of the “gavel that changed America” that she would be receiving.