Ketchum is denying insinuations that it helped to write a controversial op-ed penned by Russian President Vladimir Putin that appeared in The New York Times.
BuzzFeed reported Thursday that Ketchum helped to place the op-ed, something the Omnicom Group firm doesn't deny. However, some observers including Henry Blodget, CEO of Business Insider, implied that the firm may have helped to write the piece in which Putin argued against military action against Syria.
On Twitter this morning, Times reporter Binyamin Appelbaum tweeted that Putin's piece needed little editing, to which Blodget responded on Twitter, “Ketchum PR did a great job on it!”
In a comment to PRWeek, the firm said, “The opinion piece was written by President Putin and submitted to The New York Times on his behalf by Ketchum for their consideration.”
Ketchum has worked for the Russian government for some time and has raked in nearly $23 million since 2006 doing so, according to ProPublica, which based the figure on federal documents filed by the PR firm with the US Justice Department. In addition, the outlet claims that Ketchum secured pro-Putin op-eds under the bylines of “seemingly independent professionals” in news outlets such as CNBC and The Huffington Post.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill panned the op-ed, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) saying he was "insulted" by it.