NEW YORK (CNNfn) - A detective agency linked to attempts to buy the trash of a pro-Microsoft Corp. trade group obtained internal documents from two other groups that support the company in its antitrust battle with the federal government and 19 states, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.|
Citing people with knowledge of the situation, the newspaper said Investigative Group International Inc., run by Terry Lenzer, obtained documents from the Independent Institute of Oakland, Calif. and the National Taxpayers Union in Arlington, Va. showing that Microsoft gave money to the groups. The discovery indicates that IGI's campaign to surreptitiously obtain information from pro-Microsoft groups was longer-running and wider in scope than previously known, the report said.
The Independent Institute, which focuses on economic policy, began defending Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) in June 1998 and took out advertisements backing the software giant last June, the Journal said. The New York Times published an article last September saying that Microsoft had paid for the ads, citing internal documents obtained from "a Microsoft adversary associated with the computer industry who refused to be further identified."
IGI obtained information from the National Taxpayers Union by collecting its garbage earlier this year, the Journal said. The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post ran articles about Microsoft's contribution to the NTU in May, after the NTU claimed that the government's antitrust case against Microsoft was motivated by the prospect of collecting large fines.
The Journal reported last week that a woman offered to buy the trash of a trade group in Washington associated with Microsoft in an apparent attempt to gain information about the software giant's activities in the antitrust case.
Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology, has confirmed to CNN that a woman identifying herself as Blanca Lopez offered money to members of a cleaning crew to buy bags of trash from the trade group's offices. While many technology firms belong to it, ACT is heavily funded by Microsoft.