Clinton herd flocks to PR private sector

WASHINGTON, DC: Clinton administration communicators have begun to think about life after government service, which may well lead to a flood of battle-tested talent joining PR firms in coming months.

WASHINGTON, DC: Clinton administration communicators have begun to think about life after government service, which may well lead to a flood of battle-tested talent joining PR firms in coming months.

WASHINGTON, DC: Clinton administration communicators have begun to

think about life after government service, which may well lead to a

flood of battle-tested talent joining PR firms in coming months.



The exodus started weeks ago, when oft-quoted senior advisor to the

president Doug Sosnik joined the National Basketball Association as SVP

of strategic and corporate communications. Department of Education

director of communications David Frank quickly followed suit, leaving to

join The Widmeyer-Baker Group. White House deputy press secretary Barry

Toiv left late last year to join another ex-Clinton deputy press

secretary, Amy Weiss, at Burson-Marsteller (PRWeek, Dec. 20, 1999).



Politics, obviously, will be a key factor in determining who goes

where.



If Al Gore continues to show signs of life in the presidential race, the

’urgency’ factor to leave will decrease, according to an ex-Clinton aide

now with a large PR firm.



Though the Clinton and Gore staffs have a relatively smooth

relationship, a Gore victory will almost certainly lead to him

installing his own people in key positions, including communications.

And if the Democrats appear to have a good chance to seize a majority in

the House of Representatives, there will be even less urgency for

Clinton communicators to bail, as Democratic higher-ups will be able to

’take care of people.’



According to Fleishman-Hillard/DC GM Paul Johnson, the marketability of

many administration officials is determined less by who they know than

what they know. That’s why Fleishman just snagged former Energy

Department communicator Ben Finzel to work on the firm’s big-budget AARP

account.



Widmeyer-Baker EVP Joe Clayton added that a solid understanding of the

ins and outs of an issue can make an ex-administration official quite

attractive to poten-tial employers. Frank’s big strength, Clayton said,

is that he knows the ’substance’ of complicated issues, such as

education.



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