Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly was one of the first political consulting concerns to work for Ronald Reagan's Presidential candidacy in 1980. Since then it has become a power broker that thrives on a hardball approach.
Since 1980, when it was formed to consult conservative Republicans, Black, Manafort has hired some Democrats to broaden its influence and has branched out into lobbying. Its client list includes the Government of Somalia, the Tobacco Institute, Aetna Life & Casualty, Bethlehem Steel, the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, Trans World Airlines and the Chicago Regional Transit Authority.
The principals in the concern, Charles R. Black Jr., Paul J. Manafort, Roger J. Stone and Peter G. Kelly, were key strategists in President H W Bush's campaign.
Lee Atwater, the Republican national chairman, became a full partner in Black, Manafort after the 1984 Presidential campaign, and later moved on to head Mr. Bush's Presidential campaign.