Eric Erickson at Red State has been tracing the web of ownership and (conflict of?) interests among the various Republican consulting operations, the 527s and staff at the RNC, NRCC, NRSC, etc. It is complex, but here is a sample.
TargetPoint Consulting and WWP Strategies, two groups connected to Alexander and Katie Packer Gage, both received money from the Romney Campaign wherein Katie Packer Gage served as deputy campaign manager while also serving as a partner at WWP Strategies.
Katie Packer Gage's husband, Alexander, is the CEO and founder of TargetPoint Consulting, which got money both from the Romney campaign and also from Restore Our Future, the Romney Super PAC. Also getting money from the Romney Super PAC was the Black Rock Group.
Carl Forti is a partner at the Black Rock Group, the political director of American Crossroads, and a senior strategist for Restore Our Future. He also has ties to the Romney campaign itself, having served as Political Director for Campaign 2008. Restore our Future not only gave money to TargetPoint Consulting, but also to the Black Rock Group. Carl Forti is also involved with Americans for Job Security and Crossroads Media does ad placement for that group too.
Karl Rove's American Crossroads gave money to the Blackrock Group and to Crossroads Media. Michael Dubke is a partner of both.
But supposedly there was a great firewall, no inappropriate coordination, and we should all presume everything was kosher between Black Rock Group, TargetPoint Consulting, WWP Strategies, and Crossroads Media all sharing Suite 555.
The New York Times has a great graphic on these relationships.
Glenn Reynolds suggests one place to start the process of upgrading our messaging is by forbidding consultants from getting a commission on ad buys. I like that. It's a lot easier to buy a few big $$$ ads for cheap to produce attack ads in the wells around the news shows than it is to produce and place dozens of carefully targeted to be placed on a hundred sites with cheap ad rates known to be frequented by low information voters. The one or two times I clicked on links to stories on gossipy lifestyle sites over last summer and fall I had to listen to an Obama commercial to get to the story. I hear it was the same on sites that offer free music and game downloads. Romney's message was nowhere to be found.
Update, see also Erickson's earlier piece: A Primer for Rich Donors Who Got Taken to the Cleaners by Republican Consultants