UPDATE: Media Matters based this post, in part, on information available on the websites of Stevens and Schriefer Group. SSG has since updated a page on its website labeled “Current and Previous Clients” and removed Business Roundtable from the list. A May 26 Daily Caller item reported that according to a “source close to the family,” Russell Schriefer “worked with the Business Roundtable--once, during the 90s.” However, in April 2009, SSG combined with Rational PR to launch Rational 360, a “strategic communications” firm. Russ Schriefer is listed as a Rational 360 partner. The "Clients" page of Rational 360's site says, “Some of Rational 360's clients include,” and lists “Business Round Table.”
Following protests outside the home of a Bank of America executive, Fortune's Washington Bureau Chief Nina Easton wrote a scathing column attacking the protesters and SEIU. Easton and her family live across the street from the B of A executive in Chevy Chase.
Easton is also a Fox News contributor, so the network brought her on today and gave her own segment to attack the protesters. After all, Easton was there, so she could give a first person account of the protests.
All the more reason, then, that Easton should have disclosed -- in her column and on Fox News -- that her husband has ties to Bank of America.
As John Vandeventer noted in a blog post on SEIU's blog, Easton's husband, Russ Schriefer, of Stevens and Schriefer Group (SSG), a strategic communications group. SSG's list of clients include numerous Republican politicians and campaigns, as well as numerous business interests.
One of his firm's clients is the Business Round Table. The Business Round Table says of itself:
Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with nearly $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 12 million employees. Member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock markets and more than 60 percent of all corporate income taxes paid to the federal government. Annually, they return $167 billion in dividends to shareholders and the economy.
One of those CEOs is Bank of America's CEO and president Brian T. Moynihan.
In other words, Easton's husband receives money from a group of business leaders that includes the CEO of Bank of America. That's certainly a piece of information that Easton should disclose when she speaks about these protests.
After all, SEIU says one of the primary points of these protests was to draw attention to all the people who are participating in preventing the serious financial reform they are calling for.
Here's how SEIU's Stephen Lerner explained the protests to Huff Post's Arthur Delaney:
“Whether you're an in-house lobbyist or whether you're a hired lobbyist, you're part of this machine backed by millions of dollars dedicated to using a variety of tricks and maneuvers to gut and weaken whatever Congress is trying to change,” said SEIU's Stephen Lerner. “We want the bank lobbyists to look people directly in the eye.”
Fox News and Easton should disclose that her husband is a part of that machine.