Thank you for considering the Podesta Group (“PG”) to help the Refugee Council

USA (“RCUSA”) as refugee admissions and resettlement programs in the United
States face an existential crisis, especially in light of President Donald Trump’s
executive order (EO) on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry.” For
almost 30 years, we have been at the forefront of some of the most challenging
public relations and policy debates; we have a top-ranked team of government
relations and communications professionals who are eager to put their expertise to
work for this cause. PG’s bipartisan team is ideally situated to help RCUSA evolve
and shape the current narrative and we have the depth and breadth to sustain
outreach to critical Republican members of Congress and officials in the
administration who will be integral to preserving these critical programs.
A new White House with enormous power over both public and policymaker
opinion has released EOs hostile toward refugees and asylum seekers, and an issue
that once enjoyed bipartisan support is turning radioactive. To minimize harm done
and ensure that refugee and asylum policies are not unduly affected as the current
EO goes into effect, RCUSA must deploy an integrated government and
communications campaign that finds areas of compromise with a new audience
without compromising the organization’s values. A moderately messaged education
campaign that brokers these points of compromise can help tone down the
currently pugilistic conversation; an “us” versus “them” mentality will only further
entrench Republicans with an antagonistic view and potentially instigate further
harmful action.
Beyond this campaign, RCUSA faces several pressing challenges and competing
priorities: it needs to preserve its funding in future appropriations bills; it needs to
confront ethno-nationalist and isolationist conversations happening at the state and
local level; and it needs to inoculate against an environment that seems predisposed
to viewing ideological testing and other ill-advised vetting procedures as a next step
in the asylum application process. Achieving these goals will require a large-scale
comprehensive national approach. Below, we have outlined steps necessary to take
in the short-term to prepare RCUSA for a reintroduction to Republican policymakers
and to produce a more constructive atmosphere to achieve these and other long-
term goals.
Audit RCUSA’s Assets
The first step in our engagement will be to conduct a comprehensive audit of
RCUSA’s existing assets. This will include an audit of communications materials used
to-date with policymakers, as well as the materials used by its members which most
actively advocate. To persuasively change the narrative, we need to know RCUSA’s
perspective as it has been told in the past. As RCUSA noted, the organization has
vast resources from which to draw; the PG team can help determine which of these
resources will be the most valuable and effective for this campaign. For example, we
will help identify and draft compelling stories of asylum-seekers who have
successfully assimilated into their communities after resettlement and who are
making positive contributions to those communities. Once the audit is complete, we
will be able to determine the message points that will resonate best with specific
policymaker targets.
Conduct Digital Analytics
PG’s in-house digital team will concurrently conduct an analytics assessment of the
online conversations about the executive order and refugee policy. Leveraging the
power of all publicly available information from blogs, forums, news outlets, social
media accounts as well as congressional floor statements, Dear Colleague letters,
bills and emails to constituents, we will use the results of our analysis to identify the
conversation themes, key influencers, groups and media outlets driving discussions.
This analysis will play an important role in informing our messaging strategies and
policymaker outreach.

Fully understanding the existing conversations – and identifying those storylines and
storytellers that are missing – will allow RCUSA and PG to precisely and strategically
craft messages and campaign strategies best-suited to influence them. There may
be an unexpected Republican champion in Congress who sits outside a committee
of jurisdiction but who still has influence, and our analytics will reveal decision-
makers and other key audiences who will be the most receptive to our messaging.
For example, Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) has, on several occasions, spoken out in
favor of reauthorizing the Lautenberg Amendment, which RCUSA has supported for
decades. Conducting a digital analysis is a tactic in a comprehensive approach that
will allow us to move forward strategically, effectively and with insights otherwise
unattained through traditional methods.

Develop Compelling Messaging and Collateral Materials
As organizations review their messaging strategies in the current political climate,
many face a dilemma: being branded as part of the resistance or being branded as a
collaborator; to advocate effectively and maintain member and funder support,
RCUSA needs to be in the middle. PG can help RCUSA develop messaging that
concedes the political dynamic that gave rise to the EO, that acknowledges the felt
security risk, and that reframes its core asks in a way that does not alienate
Republicans but gives them an incentive to collaborate. We will create messaging
and message materials that convey the important work RCUSA is doing as well as
the necessity of the admissions and resettlement programs it administers and

supports. We will tailor specific messages for particular audiences and craft vehicles
for that messaging, including facts sheets and talking points for policymakers.

Key to this messaging framework will be conveying to the administration and
congressional stakeholders the reality that RCUSA and its members are equally – if
not more – invested in the success of the current exhaustive vetting process, and
that a terrorist attack from a resettled refugee would cause more damage to
RCUSA’s programs than any other event. RCUSA’s messaging must include talking
points that provide members of Congress and the administration “cover” when
discussing this issue. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of how thorough and
rigorous the existing vetting process is; what RCUSA believes is enough to keep the
United States safe may be exactly what many Republicans also believe is enough to
keep the United States safe, and audiences need to be made fully aware of the
current process.

Where the information is available, PG can also assist RCUSA in framing stories of
refugees and asylum seekers who have successfully assimilated into their
communities and take those stories to the members of Congress who represent
those communities. We can make sure that those vital statistics reach the right
audiences – and advocates – on Capitol Hill and in the administration.

Conduct Outreach on Capitol Hill
RCUSA must use meetings on Capitol Hill to not only educate with its revised
messaging, but also to position itself as a resource on content and tone when
discussing the asylum issue. We will aim to persuade our audiences that RCUSA
shares Republicans’ security goals and wants to work with them to reorient the
debate to a healthier place – where facts drive the conversation, rather than
emotions. We believe that many influential GOP members would prefer the debate
return to the relative bipartisan consensus that existed prior to the unaccompanied
minors crisis in 2013, rather than the overheated, divisive place it is today.

Our primary targets will be Republicans – and some key Democrats who work well
across the aisle – who sit on committees of jurisdiction and whose responsibilities
include refugee and asylum policies. In addition to our outreach, we will also gather
and communicate in real-time political and legislative intelligence from key
stakeholders. We will monitor and provide summaries of activities the congressional
committees of jurisdiction undertake, as they relate to RCUSA priorities. Targets

Senate Appropriations Committee
 Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who also sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee
 John Boozman (R-AR)
 Marco Rubio (R-FL), who also sits on the Senate Foreign Relations
 Thad Cochran (R-MS)
 Roy Blunt (R-MO)
 Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
 Jerry Moran (R-KS)
 Susan Collins (R-ME)

 Chris Coons (D-DE), who also sits on the Senate Foreign Relations

Senate Foreign Relations Committee
 Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who also sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee

House Appropriations Committee
 Hal Rogers (R-KY)
 Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
 Kay Granger (R-TX)
 Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
 Charlie Dent (R-PA)
 Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
 John Culberson (R-TX)
 Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
 John Moolenaar (R-MI)

House Foreign Affairs Committee
 Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA)

Senate Judiciary Committee
 Thom Tillis (R-NC)
 Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
 John Cornyn (R-TX)
 Mike Lee (R-UT)
 Ben Sasse (R-NE)
 Dick Durbin (D-IL)

House Judiciary Committee
 Darrell Issa (R-CA)
 Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
 Raul Labrador (R-ID)
 Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
 Ken Buck (R-CO)
 John Ratcliffe (R-TX)
 Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
 Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

Conduct Outreach to the Administration
In the near-term, PG’s outreach to the administration will primarily focus on the
forthcoming presidential budget proposal set to be released in May. We will also
seek to educate key government stakeholders influential in this debate, whether
because they oversee refugee policy in the executive branch or because their
jurisdiction – such as the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives – covers subjects directly
relevant to the asylum crisis. We will aim to persuade these stakeholders that the
current EO should not be extended into a long-term policy, for example, through
riders on appropriations bills. While the vetting process will certainly undergo a
review, we will argue that, given how rigorous the current process is, any

extraordinary changes would be impractical and would not serve the ultimate goal
of admitting only those asylum seekers and refugees who do not pose a security
threat. Targets include:
 Department of State
 Department of Health and Human Services
 Department of Justice
 Department of Homeland Security
 Executive Office of the President
- Office of Management and Budget
- Domestic Policy Council
- Office of Public Engagement
- Office of Faith-Based Initiatives

Deploy Precision-Targeted Paid Messaging
To complement our government relations activities, we recommend a smart,
strategic online advertising program to reach crucial audiences. Our in-house digital
team will create paid and display content, using our messaging, and inject it into
premium online outlets and key Washington publications. Through interest- and
demographic-based targeting, we have the ability to “target and follow” our key
audiences across the Internet on the websites they visit every day. In addition to
display campaigns, we will use our propriety audience lists and tools to reach
important stakeholders, such as key members of Congress and their staffs, through
their social media feeds. We will ensure these audiences are exposed to our
messaging at key points during our outreach, i.e. before Hill meetings, after a press
release is sent, during an important conference, etc.

This proprietary method for targeting specific audiences will also ensure that
different audiences see the messages they need and want to see. We know that we
cannot speak the same way about these topics to all audiences, and using our online
targeting methods, this will allow us to ensure our distinct audiences, and only
those audiences, will see the messages that matter most to them and nothing else
from RCUSA’s branded social media handles.

PG works on a retainer basis. For the scope of work outlined above, we would
suggest a $17,500 monthly retainer.

We would also recommend a media budget in the range of $8,000 to $15,000 for
our precision-targeted paid messaging campaign.

In addition, a three (3) percent administrative fee is assessed to cover general
expenses such as local travel, long-distance telephone fees, conference calls,
photocopying, and usage of PG’s technical resources and subscriptions.

Other out-of-pocket expenses such as long-distance travel, accommodations, wire
fees, shipping, creative fees for artwork or design-related expenses, tech
infrastructure fees, and the like will be billed at cost as incurred.

We look forward to the opportunity to work with you on this project. If you have
any questions, please contact Dana Thompson at 202.448.5235 or

We will ensure that our partnership is both effective and efficient and that RCUSA
receives the consistent, high-level, hands-on expertise and attention that it deserves.
Our unique teaming approach to addressing client needs ensures that we are
providing services that none of our competitors can. We have attached bios of the
PG team who will provide strategic counsel and work product for RCUSA and we will
bring on additional team members, as needed. Full firm bios can be found on our
website at

Dana Thompson will serve as STEER’s client manager. Dana brings Podesta Group
clients expertise in issues that range from state and local matters to international
trade. Most recently, Dana served as former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s
director of federal relations. Under Governor O’Malley, Dana developed the federal
funding priorities of the state of Maryland and advocated to the federal executive
and legislative branches for Maryland’s interests. Dana also acted as the governor’s
key liaison to the National Governors Association (NGA); Democratic Governors
Association (DGA), chaired by Governor O’Malley; and Council of Governors. He
further advanced policy proposals and advocacy plans with the Council of State
Governments (CSG); National Association of Counties (NACo); US Conference of
Mayors (USCM); and National League of Cities (NLC), among other organizations.
Dana previously counseled Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) as her legislative director
and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) as her chief of staff, providing advice on financial
services, immigration, crime, terrorism and homeland security, and the Internet and
intellectual property.

Matt Johnson was, for nearly a decade, chief counsel to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX),
who is today the Senate Republican Whip. Matt served as one of Sen. Cornyn’s most
trusted advisers during his tenure as head of the National Republican Senatorial
Committee. As Sen. Cornyn’s former top adviser on the Senate Judiciary Committee,
Matt was also Sen. Cornyn’s liaison to the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee
(FJEC), working closely with the Bush and Obama administrations on executive and
judicial nominations. He also maintains strong relationships with Sen. Jeff Sessions
(R-AL) and many of his current and former senior staffers. Matt is currently working
with third party conservative interest groups, the Trump administration, Senate
GOP leadership and Senate Judiciary Committee leadership on building an effective
and efficient process for nominating and confirming presidential appointments.

David Marin served as the Republican staff director of the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee, the largest committee in Congress. David oversaw
some of the highest profile congressional investigations in recent years, including
steroid use in professional sports, the performance of the departments of Defense
and Homeland Security contractors, and the treatment of wounded veterans at
Walter Reed. David retains strong relationships with GOP House Leadership and
senior officials at the Republican National Committee, National Republican
Congressional Committee and President-elect Trump’s transition team. As a former
reporter and the head of PG|PR, David also provides communications strategies for
the firm’s PR clients.

Rachelle Johnson has 17 years of policy and budget experience. She began her career in
the office of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), where she worked for more than a decade,
serving as the senator’s senior legislative adviser. Later, Rachelle worked as a professional
staff member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations

and Related Programs for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Most recently, Rachelle served as
the director of public policy and global affairs at the Friends of the Global Fight Against
AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, where she liaised between the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, and the US Congress, the
administration, and other global partners and nonprofits.

Hastie brings extensive experience in digital strategy and management consulting
for a wide range of global brands to her role as the director of the digital team at
the Podesta Group. Day in and day out, Hastie provides invaluable digital marketing
and communications counsel and crafts integrated creative strategies on behalf of
Podesta Group clients. She excels in effectively transforming brands, managing
large, national campaigns and navigating crises. Hastie joined the firm from the
global strategy team of one of the largest digital and marketing communications
agencies in the world. She helped lead the development of the agency's leading-
edge social media products and services, giving her clients access to the most
innovative digital marketing thinking and capabilities. Prior, Hastie worked for
renowned management consulting firms, leading large-scale change management
projects. Her management consulting days allowed her to solidify her expertise in
building teams and managing large scale products, including $50 million Department
of Defense research programs.