Thursday, August 12, 2010

Steve Moak, a Questionable Candidate
Arizona Republican Congressional candidate Steve Moak, Chairman of the telemarketing company Synergy Solutions.
Steve Moak, a Republican Congressional candidate in the State of Arizona, is running his political campaign from the backs of the employees of Synergy Solutions, a company for which he is the active Chairman. Synergy Solutions, a company that caters to outsourcing call center operations in the United States, has been using their employees to make phone calls on Moak's behalf, in support of his Congressional run in Arizona.
This issue was brought to my {Matt Rock} attention by an employee of Synergy Solutions, who works in one of their call centers. Worried they might be fired as a result of this article, the employee has asked that I conceal their identity. This person explained that Synergy Solutions' employees have been making campaign calls for Moak for an undisclosed period of time. Of Synergy Solutions' eight call centers, only two are in the State of Arizona. The other six facilities, including the one where this employee works, are in different States. These employees aren't volunteering to make the calls, but are rather being ordered to do so by the managerial staff of the call centers. Some employees have opted to make a stand and not call on Moak's behalf, and as far as it seems, this has yet to challenge anyone's job security at the centers.
Prior to being assigned to calling for Moak, employees are instructed to sign a "Political Disclosure Agreement," which is little more than a non-disclosure agreement. This document, which I've been provided a copy of, reads as follows:

I understand that I can never give any of the following information to any customer on a political project:
1. Who our client is
2. Who I work for (or give the Synergy Name)
3. What state or region I am calling from
I understand that if I do give any of the information listed above under any circumstance, I put the company at risk.

Moak's campaign website claims that Synergy Solutions is a company "which provides customer service focused on healthcare." This is not true. Synergy Solutions has had a number of clients over the years, including Bank of America, Lifelock (an identity theft protection company), Verizon, and many others. They are best described as a telemarketing organization, and while a small minority of their clients are related to the health care industry, they make no effort to focus on any particular field. The website continues to claim that "Synergy Solutions currently has hundreds of employees in Arizona," while ignoring the fact that most of their employees work in call centers hundreds of miles from the State, and that the primary role of the company is to outsource customer service jobs from locales where their clients are headquartered.
Approximately one week prior to my writing this article, I attempted to contact Moak's campaign via the "contact us" form on their website, asking if they would like to comment. They did not respond as of the time I published this article. Should they respond to that message, I will be sure to update this article. Written for Newsvine by: Matt Rock