The Department of Self-Promotion, Federal Public Relations | Open The Books Oversight Report 23_The_Department_of_Self-Promotion

December 7, 2015 06:15 PM


How Federal Agency PR Spending Advances Their Interests Rather Than the Public Interest

We quantified $4.35 billion in federal public affairs salaries & bonuses and outside PR contractor spending from FY2007-FY2014. 
Is there a $1.192 million Ad Boss – an ‘executive manager’ position billing out federal agencies for $525.62 per hour?
Is there an $88.26 per hour ‘Intern’ position billing out federal agencies for $183,581 per year? Is the same company billing out their ‘video content producer’ for $273.67 per hour or $569,234 per year?


1. The federal government spent $4.34 billion on public relations in the last seven years.  
2. U.S. Government ranked 2nd largest Public Relations Firm in the World (based on the number of PR employees). Click here for a ranking of the largest private PR firms in the world. 
3. 3,092 federal ‘Public Affairs Officers’ are employed by over 200 federal agencies in FY2014. 
4. 1,858 ‘Public Affairs Officers’ made at least $100,000 in base salary compensation in FY2014. 
5. Salaries totaling $2.337 billion and ‘performance bonuses’ totaling $10.929 million flowed to public affairs officers (FY2007-FY2014). The highest bonus was $35,940 to John T. Burklow at Department of Health and Human Services in 2012. 
6. Since 2007, PR positions increased in the federal government by 15 percent - an addition of 402 positions – from 2,688 to 3,092. Total PR salary spending by year increased by 22.4 percent despite a long period of freeze and sequester in federal hiring. 
7. $2.02 billion spent by 139 federal agencies with 2,403 outside PR vendors on 16,249 individual transactions since 2007 - despite 3,092 federal PR employees. 
8. 47 percent increase in outside PR consulting expenditures under the Obama administration vs. the last two years under the Bush administration. 
9. Top PR firms in the world reaped millions of dollars: Laughlin, Marinaccio & Owens, Inc. ($87.98M), Young & Rubicam Inc. ($57.5M), Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide Inc. ($47.93M), Fleishman-Hillard, Inc ($42.4M), Gallup ($42.0M), and many more. 
10. $183,581 (per year) billing by Ketchum ($88/hour, $15,298/month) for ‘Intern.’ $1.192 million (per year) billing by Booz Allen Hamilton ($525.67/hour, $91,107/month) for ‘Executive Manager’ – examples of billing rates per their respective federal advertising contracts. 
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