A spokesperson or, to put it into industry jargon, a flack is someone responsible for interacting with the public and the media. If a story out of Vermont is true, it seems a super PAC’s flack might need a refresher course on best practices.
The Burlington Free Press reported that Daniel Wessel, press secretary for pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record, contacted them “by email and phone to offer ‘off-the-record’ story pitches.”
On its website, Correct the Record calls itself “a strategic research and rapid response team designed to defend Hillary Clinton from baseless attacks.” In the past, it’sfocused its efforts on congressional Republicans and the Benghazi hearings.
Yet, if the Burlington Free Press report is true, it seems the super PAC was playing offense recently – against fellow Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Daniel Wessel emailed the newspaper in early January to point out that Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy ‘hit Bernie on guns today,'” the Free Press claimed,and that Wessel “offered to send more information on Sanders’ record if the paper was interested.”
Correct the Record made national headlines in 2015 when the Washington Post reported that the organization planned on using a few arcane campaign finance loopholes to coordinate directly with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Generally speaking, political action committees cannot coordinate with candidates.
The Burlington Free Press added that when it asked Wessel why he was offering so-called “off-the-record tips” while on-the-record,Wessel took the conversation to a phone call during which he reportedly told the paper his organization only likes to be named “when speaking about Republican candidates.”
He did offer, however, “to have his organization named in certain cases if the Free Press requested permission.”
Clearly, the Burlington Free Press did not agree toWessel’s terms.