Dissent sends Red Cross to Edelman

WASHINGTON: 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 (CLS) 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


None of the money spent on the campaign will be taken from funds

recently donated to the Red Cross.

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