January 28, 2016
PRSA 2016 Chair Mark McClennan Supports Industry Opposition to New York State Redefinition of Public Relations
This week, the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) issued an advisory opinion that expands the definition of lobbying to include aspects of public relations. On Thursday, January 28, an article in AdvertisingAge by Lindsay Stein included comments from PRSA 2016 National Chair Mark McClennan, APR, about the ruling and stated that the Society "supports its members, PR firms, journalists and others who have expressed their opposition to the opinion."
"We believe that JCOPE's new rule inadvertently misses its intended target, " stated McClennan in Stein's article. "Completely and arbitrarily redefining established professions that may or my not about lobbying does not support JCOPE's mission to 'restore public trust in government by ensuring compliance with the State's ethics and lobbying laws, regulations, and guidance."
In lockstep with the Society's focus on ethics in the profession, McClennan shared his concern about the ethical implications for public relations professionals. He said the "poorly worded action" could result in subpar practices by creating an "ethical grey-zone."
Additionally, McClennan discussed the ramifcations for small to mid-sized agencies, who may have to increase billing rates to recover funds spent to pay for licensing and disclosure. "New York State runs on the power and revenue generated by its small- and mid-size businesses; this rule does many of those businesses a vast disservice," he said.
To read the entire article, including commentary by Andrew Celli, a civil rights attorney representing several public relations agencies who oppose the opinion, visit AdvertisingAge.