Fabiani and Lehane

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Fabiani and Lehane is a American P.R. firm owned by Chris Lehane and Mark Fabiani. The two were dubbed the "Masters of Disaster" for their damage control P.R. work when they worked for the Clinton White House and campaigns. The two have worked for several Democratic campaigns and Democratic-backed initiative/referendum campaigns. Their billing rate is reportedly $30,000 per month.

In 2007 they were hired by the Hollywood studios to provide P.R. against the striking members of the Writers Guild of America. (See here Television studios in 2007 writers' strike).


Chris Lehane and Mark Fabiani, the two principals at Fabiani Lehane, were known as the "Masters of Disaster" for their work providing damage control the various public relations flare-ups of the Bill Clinton presidency.[1]


Gray Davis and Southern California Edison

Fabiani and Lehane were hired by Governor Gray Davis (D-Calif.) during the 2001 energy crisis to help improve Davis' public image and his poll ratings. However, they were also under contract to Southern California Edison at the same time, an energy company that was negotiating with Davis and the California Legislature to secure a favorable deal to avert bankruptcy. When Davis and Lehane were criticized for the apparent conflict of interest, Lehane said "The Governor and Edison have the same energy policy; there's no conflict in working for both." [2]

However, California State Controller Kathleen Connell refused to pay Lehane and Fabiani's $30,000 a month salary, and taxpayers filed suit to prevent them from continuing their work for Davis. As part of an out-of-court settlement Fabiani and Lehane agreed to end their work for Governor Davis and did not collect any money for their work with him. [3] Davis was recalled from office in October 2003, having been fatally weakened by the energy crisis.

Screen Actors Guild

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) hired Fabiani and Lehane in 2002 during their dispute with the Association of Talent Agents. Specifically, they were hired to sell a skeptical membership on a deal allowing ad agencies to own up to 20% of talent agencies, reversing a 50-year old ban on the practice. The hiring of Fabiani and Lehane was controversial and criticized by those within SAG who opposed the deal.[1] The firm reportedly took a 2/3 pay cut for the job, receiving only $10,000 per month in fees instead of their usual $30,000. Asked to defend their fee, Lehane emphasized the discount, saying "First, we believe strongly in the need to preserve the strength of the union and this agreement does that. We both come from liberal, progressive backgrounds, and this union represents working people." Lehane also reportedly said they realized that SAG raises its money from union dues and was not as wealthy as their usual clients.[1] Ultimately, the SAG rank and file voted against the deal.[4]

Television studios in 2007 writers' strike

In 2007 the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP, which represents the major television studios) hired Fabiani and Lehane, presumably for PR work on the Writers Guild of America strike. The writers went on strike after their request for a portion of the dividends from online content sales was turned down by the studios.[5]

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Fabiani and Lehane "is being paid $100,000 a month to spin for the movie studios in their battle with striking writers." The article called their AMPTP work "especially noteworthy because nearly every Democratic presidential contender has shown up on the picket line in support of the writers - including Hillary Rodham Clinton, with whom Lehane has been working as an unpaid adviser for months." [6]

Lehane dismissed Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern's criticism of his firm's AMPTP work. Lehane told the Chronicle that "he's earned 'zero, nada' from the unions and that everything he's done for them (including helping resolve a cafeteria workers' health care fight in Los Angeles) was done either at cost or pro bono." Referring to the "below the line" technical and support workers impacted by the strike, Lehane said: "The real issue here is that Stern needs to do some explaining on how it is that he is fighting for people who make more than doctors and pilots against the interest of real working-class people." [6]

Californians for Fair Election Reform

Lehane worked for Californians for Fair Election Reform, a group opposing a Republican-backed initiative to award California's electoral college votes proportionally and based on the congressional districts, rather than the current winner-take-all system.[7]

California Majority Report

Lehane is a "majority reporter" for the California Majority Report[8]


Website: http://fabianiandlehane.com/

Chris Lehane:

SourceWatch resources

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Peter Kiefer, "Sag Gets Spinmeisters At Cut Rate For Ata Pitch," Hollywood Reporter, April 4, 2002.
  2. William Bradley, "Gray Davis' Edison Problem Salon.com, July 31, 2001.
  3. Walter Hamilton, Jeffery L. Rabin and Daryl Kelley, "Davis' Energy Advisors Draw SEC Attention Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2001.
  4. Anita Busch, "Screen Actors Reject New Rules on Ownership of Talent Agencies," New York Times, April 20, 2002.
  5. Jane Hamsher, "Bad Faith Studio Heads Buy Democratic Consultant Chris Lehane," FireDogLake.com, Dec. 7, 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, "Newsom considers city fee for sellers of sugary soda," San Francisco Chronicle, December 17, 2007.
  7. "Prominent Californians Come Together To Reject Republican Effort to Unfairly Rig Electoral College System," Californians for Fair Election Reform. Captured Dec. 10, 2007.
  8. "Chris Lehane" (bio), California Majority Report (camajority.com). Captured Dec. 10, 2007.