Joanne Yepsen has been hired by the firm “Mercury Public Affairs” as a “Senior Vice President.” The firm, which has offices globally, has an office in Albany. Their website offers the following description:
“Mercury is a high-stakes public strategy firm. We provide results for the world’s most successful companies, leading advocacy groups, governments, political parties, NGOs, and prominent public and political figures.”
In the January 17th edition of the Saratogian Ms. Yepsen describes her anticipated role as follows:
“Mercury’s national platform will allow me to work on the issues that have mattered to me my entire career, while delivering winning results for clients,” said Yepsen. “I look forward to working with the team on a wide range of bipartisan issues.”
In talking to friends familiar with Mercury, they describe the company as a high pressure operation in which positions such as the one Ms. Yepsen has taken, are expected to generate a great deal of income for the firm.
Michael McKeon who is a partner in the firm was the communications director for Republican Governor George Pataki. An article from Politico from 2010 described him organizing a group called Republicans For Cuomo.
Mercury’s website boasts how they helped engineer the elections of Chris Christi in New Jersey, George Pataki in New York, and Arnold Schwarzeneger in California, emphasizing the fact that they were Republicans running in predominantly Democratic states.
This is not a warm and fuzzy organization.
Mercury cites their success in defeating “sophisticated activist investors on behalf of medical tech company board of directors.”
They boast that they “Developed successful strategy for global automaker to keep union out of US.”
Most recently they have been drawn into the Robert Mueller web regarding work they did on behalf of Paul Manaforte who has pleaded guilty to lying to Federal investigators. According to the article there are potential legal issues for Mercury because “The firms involved with the Ukraine project did not initially register as foreign agents at the time…”
Contacted by the Washington Post, Mr. McKeon would neither confirm nor deny that Mercury had received subpoenas from Mr. Mueller. There is a delicious irony that Mercury’s website describes this same Michael McKeon as having “provided crisis communications counsel to some of the world’s top companies and individuals thrust into the media spotlight.”
The Post story also notes that “Mercury, which has prominent Republicans among its senior partners, had worked on the Ukraine lobbying project [Manaforte’s deep pocketed client] with the Podesta group, led by Anthony Podesta, brother of John Podesta, who led Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.” The globe has become a very small place and these strategic firms are bi-partisan in the sense that they are happy to work with whomever is paying them.