New Jersey’s MWW scored a bit of what we will call unwanted attention earlier this summer when The New York Post (inaccurately) broke the news that former congressman Anthony Weiner would be joining the firm.
At the time, our parent publication Adweek and others ran stories clarifying that Weiner would NOT be advising MWW clients on their #PRFails or working with them directly in any way–he simply became a member of the firm’s board of advisors, and MWW told us that he was chosen for the role due to his “public policy expertise on many issues” affecting both New York City and the United States Congress. Of course, that didn’t stop the NYP from writing ridiculous headlines like this one, because it’s all about the clicks.
Now the move makes a good bit more sense: today sources tell The New York Daily News that MWW is “close to finalizing the purchase of Patricia Lynch Associates,” the lobbying firm run by a longtime New York political influencer.
In short, Weiner came aboard as MWW moves to become more directly active in influencing public policy.
Lynch’s organization was “among the state’s three biggest” lobbying firms for some time, but Albany observers–including the guy who wrote the idiotic Weiner headline above–argued that she lost a great deal of her power after her former boss, assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, was arrested on assorted corruption charges. At the time, Lynch’s spokesperson implied that she would be focusing on new business in Cuba as President Obama sought to re-establish a relationship between the island nation and the United States.
Lynch is very familiar with the inner workings of New York politics: in 2010, she was forced to pay a $500,000 fine after engaging in “pay to play” actions involving the state’s pension fund and former comptroller Alan Hevesi (who later faced prison time for his own behavior).
In February, Lynch’s spokesperson said that “Pat and her partners built up PLA over the last 16 years. It has a solid base of clients and will continue to grow.”
Therein lies the appeal for MWW; sources tell the Daily News that Lynch will remain with the organization in an executive role and that she already has an office in the firm’s Manhattan office.
One source says:
“MWW has a huge national communications and strategy practice but had no New York state or city government affairs practice.”
They didn’t have a Cuba connection either–but now they have both thanks to Lynch and Weiner.
UPDATE: in a statement, MWW confirms that it will be working with Lynch but that its plans to acquire her firm have not yet been finalized.
“MWWPR is in the process of reviewing several potential acquisitions in the United States and internationally. This review includes, but is not limited to, Patricia Lynch and Associates. During this review period we are working on a number of projects for clients that have retained both MWWPR and PLA, and we are happy to have Ms. Lynch and her New York City team working from our Manhattan offices.”