Mark Penn, CEO of Burson-Marsteller and trusted adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton, takes on a client working to pass a trade treaty that Clinton has vowed to stop. What’s going on?
Mark Penn, longtime adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton and CEO of Burson-Marsteller, resigned his position as chief political strategist in Clinton’s presidential campaign on April 6. Clinton was said by The New York Times to be unhappy about Penn’s work for the Colombian government.
Penn and Burson-Marsteller have been advising the government of Colombia in its efforts to draw up a trade treaty with the United States, a treaty that Clinton opposes. On April 5, the Colombian government fired Burson-Marsteller, saying it was “insulted’ by Penn’s attempts to minimize his connection with them. (Ragan.com’s attempts to reach Burson-Marsteller for comment were unavailing.)
Although Penn admitted his actions were an “error in judgement,” PR pros remain mystified by Penn’s decision to represent two clients in direct opposition of one another.