Shape the Debate

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Shape the Debate was a U.S-based conservative organization. On its website it described itself as "a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to shape the debate on American's future. "Shape the Debate" will use provocative television ads to promote a generally conservative and free enterprise point of view."[1]

On its website the group sought to reassure potential contributors that they would be bale to stay out of the limelight."Contributions to 'issue advocacy' organizations, like 'Shape the Debate' are not considered campaign contributions. Therefore, contributions to 'Shape the Debate' 1. Can be given in unlimited amounts, 2. Can be from any source, including corporations, and 3. Are not political contributions. Therefore, they are not reported to the Federal Election Commission, or any state agency, and do not count against contribution limits".[1]

Not to be confused with the British NGO of the same name, which focuses on youth criminal justice issues.


According to the August 2001 version of their now defunct website, the groups leadership was:

  • George Gorton, Strategy Consultant/Strategist who directed the ad campaign. "George was the most successful political consultant in California during both the '80s and '90s, winning six major statewide races without a loss, including Governor Pete Wilson's stunning comeback from 23 points down to a 15 point win in 1994. George is also a leader of the team that brought Boris Yeltsin back from 6 percent in the polls to a 54 percent win for re-election as President of Russia, and has served on the national campaign staffs of President Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush. George has served as a strategy consultant to major American corporations, including Hyatt Inc., and Contel Inc, and a variety of issue and nonprofit organizations."
  • Vigo G (Chip) Nielsen, Campaign and Nonprofit Lawyer. "A senior partner in Nielsen, Merksamer et al, Chip has been a nationally recognized expert in campaign law since 1972. He was Legal Counsel to the Governor George Deukmejian Committee, The Senator Pete Wilson Committee, and The Governor Pete Wilson Committee. Chip served on the campaigns of Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, and represents many nonprofit organizations."
  • F. Lawrence (Larry) Scott, Treasurer. "Larry is a partner in the accounting firm of Hawkins and Scott. A major portion of his practice has been as a professional treasurer to federal and state campaigns since 1982. He has served Senators John Seymour and Pete Wilson, Governor Pete Wilson, Congressmen Bill Lowery and Brian Bilbray, and Mayor Susan Golding of San Diego, among many others."

Former Contact Details

Shape the Debate
160 Newport Center Drive, Suite 220,
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Phone: (949) 640-6097
Archived web page:

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Our Mission", archived website of August 13, 2001.

Related SourceWatch Articles

External links

  • an August 2001 version of the Shape the Debate website can be accessed at [1]