The 9/11 commission obviously had a story to tell about what it had learned about the U.S. government being unprepared on Sept. 11, 2001, to protect the nation from al Qaeda terrorists and about government changes it recommended. But how to make sure it could get its report before the American people, especially those beyond the Beltway?
Simple. Besides making the report available on the Internet, through the Government Printing Office and in stores, hire a PR agency.
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Help on Medicare Issues, From the Inside (The Washington Post, Jun 24, 2004)
More Special Interests
With only two communications folks on staff and a pending onslaught of American and foreign reporters demanding reports, interviews and sound bites, the commission turned to Edelman Public Relations Worldwide.
Edelman helped with the rollout of the report last month and is helping organize interviews and events across the country for members of the commission -- normally bipartisan pairs.
"We knew we would be dealing with every public affairs show, every newspaper. . . . We said we wanted our work available to the American people," said commission spokesman Al Felzenberg, who had staffed the panel with Jonathan Stull. "I don't know how we could have done it without" Edelman.
It's actually not unusual for a government agency or commission to hire outside public relations help, particularly with special projects.
The Edelman help is costing about $194,000, Felzenberg said.
Rob Rehr, general manager of the firm's D.C. office, said Edelman discounted its work for the commission and included some services at no charge, including the "strategic thinking" of its senior people, Democrat Leslie Dach and Republican Michael Deaver. Also on the Edelman team for the commission: Craig Brownstein.
Libya Hires a Lobbyist
In perhaps one of the clearest signs that Moammar Gaddafi is coming in from the cold, Libya has hired a lobbyist.
Libya, ruled by Gaddafi for 35 years, has hired Fahmy Hudome International, a two-person shop headed by Randa Fahmy Hudome, former associate deputy secretary of energy in the Bush administration and an aide to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham when he was a senator from Michigan. Her associate Jennifer Hazelton also worked for then-senator Abraham.
In her foreign agent registration filed with the Justice Department last month, she said her company will provide government relations and strategic advice to help Libya's "short term and long term goals in enhancing U.S.-Libya relations."
The one-year contract calls for compensation of $302,500 a quarter, which with one-time start-up costs will amount to more than $1.47 million.
Hudome did not return a call yesterday seeking comment.
Influence.biz noted that the Libyans have done without a Washington lobbyist for 11 years. But last month, the United States resumed diplomatic relations with Libya following Gaddafi's agreement to give up his nuclear weapons program, taking responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and renouncement of terrorism.