Former Labor secretary Robert Reich says a Washington PR firm hired by General Motors tried to bribe him to say nice things about GM's employee-buyout plan.
Not true, says GM. And the PR firm, Strauss Radio Strategies Inc., says the whole thing was just a big, ah, "misunderstanding."
Reich, a member of the Clinton Cabinet, is a commentator on the American Public Media radio program "Marketplace." In a broadcast last week, Reich said the publicists offered him money "as a show of respect" to endorse the GM buyout. Reich said he "told them to keep their money," and he accused GM of subsidizing "an integrity buyout."
The president of the PR firm, Richard Strauss, told The Detroit News that his company's overture, and Reich's interpretation of it, amounted to "an honest misunderstanding." Steve Harris, GM's top publicist, told the newspaper: "GM never pays for this kind of thing."
By the way, Reich told listeners, "I don't know whether GM's buyback offer is a good thing for its employees or not."