The $250 million contract for a coronavirus recovery campaign won by Fors Marsh Group last month has become a political football.
High-ranking Democrats in the House of Representatives are demanding more information about the campaign from Fors Marsh CEO Ben Garthwaite and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. They also want staff briefings by September 28, according to CNN.
Democrats think the timing of the campaign -- the lion’s share of funding is set to be spent by January 2021 -- is no coincidence and fear it would be a de facto push for President Donald Trump’s re-election. They’re also concerned that combative former Trump operative and current HHS official Michael Caputo will be calling the shots.
HHS awarded Fors Marsh the contract last month, tasking it with creating a campaign to run for a base year through July 2021 with a possible year-long extension. The consultancy is planning to partner with creative network VMLY&R and iHeartRadio.
The effort is set to include a “large paid traditional and digital media component,” according to HHS documents, but also earned media and digital and social media outreach, including blogger and influencer relations and PSA development.