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March of Dimes

During the last six months of the 112th Congress, the District Policy Group was hired by the March of Dimes to help secure enough co-sponsors to pass commemorative coin legislation in both the House and Senate. Unlike other measures, a coin bill requires two thirds of both bodies (67 Senators and 290 House Members) sign on as co-sponsors before it can be brought to the floor for a vote. Moreover, because the U.S. Mint creates only two commemorative coins per year by acts of Congress, we needed to secure dozens of bipartisan cosponsors in a very narrow window as the 112th Congress was drawing to a close. It was truly a race to the finish given the challenging political environment – but we were up to the task.

Working in close partnership with the March of Dimes government relations staff, we developed a sophisticated, multi-pronged strategy that involved extensive research and analysis on individual Members of Congress, capitalized on our team’s connections on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers, and devised effective follow-up strategies with staffers. We targeted dozens of individual Members, carefully coordinating with the March of Dimes lobbyists to avoid duplication, make the best use of contacts and connections, and ensure that direct lobbying contacts were reinforced with communications from constituents at home. Through this “tag-team” approach, we built upon the client's previous and ongoing outreach efforts – leveraging the organization’s resources, connections, grassroots, grasstops, and other internal advocacy assets.

A key tactic we employed with policymakers and Congressional staff was to dispel numerous “myths” associated with the measure. We explained that coin bills are always revenue neutral and any costs involved in the minting process of a commemorative coin are recouped by the government before the recognized entity is awarded any dollar amount. We also made clear that any entity is able to introduce coin legislation and that no preferential treatment was awarded to the client in the introduction of the bill – the bill was not an “earmark.” As part of this effort, we helped create effective messages, talking points, and supporting materials to be used in direct lobbying visits on Capitol Hill, as well as by grassroots advocates when contacting their elected officials.

Through persistent hard work and strong client collaboration, in a scant three months, we more than doubled the bill’s cosponsorship from 127 to 290 in the House of Representatives and from 21 to 44 in the U.S. Senate. The March of Dimes was then able to capitalize upon these efforts to push the bills through the final stages of the legislative process. President Obama signed the bill into law on December 18, 2012. The March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Act of 2012 honors the 75th anniversary of the March of Dimes and recognizes its landmark accomplishments in maternal and child health. We are most proud of our contribution to the enactment of this measure and enjoyed partnering with the March of Dimes to bring it across the finish line