Hill and Knowlton: Influence/Lobbying

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This page is related to the Hill and Knowlton Powerbase profile.

Industry Groups

Council of Public Relations Firms

The Council of Public Relations Firms is a leading industry body for the PR industry. Its membership comprises 122 PR companies including all of the top ten companies (of which H&K is one) and two-thirds of the top fifty.[1]

Public Relations Society of America

Thomas Hoog, serves on the Counsellors Academy of the PRSA. The Public Relations Society of America, headquartered in New York City, is the world's largest professional organization for public relations professionals, with nearly 20,000 members, organized into 117 Chapters nationwide.[2]

Governmental Links

Involvement with the CIA

From the mid 1950s onward H&K began to open offices all around the world. According to Susan Trento, author of “The Power House”, a biography of Hill and Knowlton exec Robert Keith Gray, they opened many overseas offices “on the advice of friends, including then CIA director Allen W Dulles.” Gray also used to brag about checking major decisions personally with CIA director William Casey, whom he considered a close personal friend. “Hill and Knowlton’s overseas offices were perfect cover for the ever-expanding CIA. Unlike other cover jobs, being a public relations specialist did not require technical training for CIA officers,” revealed Robert T Crowley, a CIA official. George Worden, another H&K executive commented that he “used to kid at Hill and Knowlton about our office in Kuala Lumpur, because nobody would tell me what it did, and I swore it had to be a CIA front.”

Revolving Doors

Ever since Robert Keith Gray began their Washington D.C. lobbying business in the 1960s, H&K has been actively recruiting staff with political and governmental experience and contacts. Gray had served as Press Secretary to President Eisenhower, was a personal friend of Richard Nixon and worked on both of Ronald Reagan’s presidential election campaigns.

In 1993 Howard Paster, now the CEO and Chairman of H&K worldwide, moved from H&K’s Washington D.C. office to take up the position of head of the Clinton White House's Office of Legislative Affairs.[3] He returned to H&K as CEO in 1994 but maintained links with the Clinton administration. In 1998 he was recruited into the lobbying campaign to save Bill Clinton from impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.[4]

Thomas Hoog, the current Chairman of Hill and Knowlton USA and Acting General Manager of the Washington DC office also high level political experience. Hoog worked as part of Governer Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and before that Hoog spent five years as chief of staff for U.S. Senator Gary Hart of Colorado. Hoog’s experiences in US politics began with his work for the presidential campaigns of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and Sen. George McGovern.[5]

Lauri Fitz-Pegado from 1977 to 1982, worked at the United States Information Agency, first in the personnel department, then as a foreign service officer. In 1982 she joined Gray & Co which was purchased by H&K in 1986.[6] She headed H&K’s Kuwait account in 1991 [see 4.6 ‘The Gulf War’ below] and in 1994 she moved back to the White House as Assistant Secretary and Director General of the United States Foreign and Commercial Service under President Clinton.

Craig L. Fuller, who was head of H&K’s Washington D.C. office at the time of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait contract, had worked in the White House for eight years from 1981 to 1989. He was initially the assistant to President Ronald Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, and later Chief of Staff for then Vice-President George Bush.[7]

Other notable H&K staffers with government connections include one-time vice-chairman Frank Mankiewicz who had served as press secretary and advisor to Robert F Kennedy and Senator George McGovern;[8] and ex-senior vice-president Thomas Ross, who had been Pentagon spokesman during the Carter administration.


  1. Council of Public Relations Firms website
  2. Public Relations Society of America website
  3. Hill and Knowlton website, date viewed 3-5-2002.
  4. Gibbs N, and Duffy M, ‘Is There A Way Out?’, Time, 28-9-1998.
  5. H&K website
  6. 103d Congress, 2d Session, June 16, 1994, Temp Record
  7. America One website.
  8. Stauber J and Rampton S, 1995, ‘Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry’, p170.