WASHINTON - Under fire from Congress and a wary public, the American Red Cross has hired Edelman's Washington, DC office and the firm of Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates to handle the fallout from the Liberty Fund disaster that placed the charity group on page one of top media outlets around the country.
The beleaguered Red Cross drew criticism when it was revealed that the group would only give out $300 million of the $560 million-plus dollars collected for victims' families of the assaults on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
The rest of the money will be spent to update the Red Cross' frozen blood inventory, and to prepare for future terrorist attacks.
"We're a small in-house PR shop that's been running at 100 miles an hour since the attack on September 11, and we're exhausted. That's why the leadership decided to bring in outside counsel," said Darren Earby, head of crisis communications for the American Red Cross.
"I wish we could take every family to Ground Zero to see the great work that we've been doing. And I hope that they craft the message to remind the public of what we've been doing."
The group has drawn criticism from CNN, ABC News, the LA Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and The New York Times.
None of the money spent on the campaign will be taken from funds recently donated to the Red Cross.