Sometimes in Washington, appearances are everything.
When HOH ran an item Tuesday about a party for Sen. Al Franken’s new chief of staff at the Iron Horse Taproom that was being hosted by Venn Squared Communications — and described it as a lobbying and communications firm — the company was quick to point out that it does business but is not formally affiliated with Venn Strategies, the lobbying firm. There was a little confusion on our part, perhaps because of the overlap of folks in both Venns. By Tuesday afternoon, the names of the Venn Strategies lobbyists who were listed on the Venn Squared website’s “team” section had been removed, lest they be mistaken for employees of the communications shop.
“Neither the company or I lobby,” said Venn Squared co-founder and CEO Michael Meehan, who sent the invite for Tuesday’s party for the Minnesota Democrat’s new top aide. “Venn Squared Communications does communications and public relations for our clients.”
The two outfits do have a co-founder in common: Stephanie Silverman. The founder and CEO of Venn Strategies is on the board at Venn Squared. But Squared is a strategic communications firm, and Strategies is a lobby shop. The two have separate business registrations. Venn Strategies lobbies on behalf of a roster of tax, health and education industry clients, not Venn Squared, Meehan said.