We'd like to think Tom Payne would approve. The great propagandist of the American Revolution couldn't help but be impressed by the Murray Hill, Inc., public relations firm in Silver Spring, Md., setting out to run for Congress. That's right, the PR firm is running for Congress, not any of its individual members. Eric Hanzel, Murray Hill's "designated human" (and its president) discussed the move on NPR.
Murray Hill's quest, of course, is in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's January ruling that corporations have the free speech rights of individuals. It won't be an easy run, though. The firm has already had its voter registration application rejected by the Montgomery County Board of Elections. As the board's lawyer noted, it's only five years old, when everyone else running for office has to be at least 18.
But tactical detours never stop a revolutionary. Murray Hill is saying in a YouTube campaign video (which has gotten over 172,000 hits) that "It's a new day. ... It's our democracy, we bought it, we paid for it, and we're going to keep it."
The firm also seeks to spread the vision of a Congress populated by corporations as well as human individuals. As The Washington Post reports, it's offering a kit of campaign materials and "official graphics, which tell the world you are an affiliate of the leader in corporate civil rights." Plus it has its first likely satellite candidate: Computer Umbrella, of Sterling, Va., is planning to run in Virginia's 10th Congressional District.
Quixotic as this quest may be, it's generating Murray Hill lots of publicity, the same kind of capital Tom Payne garnered in his day with "Common Sense."
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.