What would Dan Krassner tell Dan Krassner?

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Immediately before he launched the public watchdog organization Integrity Florida, executive director Dan Krassner worked for public affairs behemoth Burson-Marsteller. 

One of the services Burson-Marsteller offer its clients is crisis management.

“The most valued asset of any organization is its reputation,” reads Burson’s website. “ICG can help you quickly and nimbly handle an immediate crisis, expertly navigate a complex issue, or equip your organization to better manage potential issues and crises when they arise.”

Presumably, Krassner was familiar with this aspect of BM’s wheelhouse. So, what would Dan Krassner, public affairs specialist, tell Dan Krassner, ED of an an organization (Integrity Florida) deep in crisis?

As the Tampa Bay Times reported on Monday, the decision by IF to produce research sponsored by Americans for Prosperity triggered a pair of resignations.

Barbara Petersen, executive director of the First Amendment Foundation, resigned her seat on Integrity Florida’s board after questions were raised about the propriety of research sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. Immediately afterward, Krassner stepped down from his seat on the First Amendment Foundation.

“We agreed it was best for Barbara to resign, and Dan offered to resign and I accepted the resignation,” said Tim Nickens, editor of the Tampa Bay Times editorial pages and chairman of the First Amendment Foundation board.  

Petersen’s resignation came on the heels of Martin Dyckman stepping down from the IF board immediately after the link to AFP was disclosed. 
 
Petersen’s and Dyckman’s resignations could be two nails in the coffin for Integrity Florida. I genuinely am interested to see what my friend Krassner has planned to dig his organization out of this hole.
 
Here’s the problem: Not only is IF’s report on Enterprise Florida now tainted, but questions will arise when Integrity Florida releases its next report on what may be a completely different subject. That kind of doubt cannot exist for an organization holding itself out to be the white knight.
 
And therein lies the real problem. As Integrity Florida has grown in influence and prestige this past year, its critics quietly pushed back by asking who appointed it to be the hall monitor of Florida politics. Others wondered if the organization was secretly funded by disgruntled corporate types kept off the board of Enterprise Florida. A few loons even whispered that George Soros was bankrolling the group.
 
The media — especially the Miami Herald‘s Mary Ellen Klas — aided in the building-up of Integrity Florida by taking whatever the organization said as scripture. (IF’s report on campaign finance expenditures is a perfect example of faulty arithmetic accepted as fact.)
 
Now, no one is sure what the future is for the organization. Krassner, the public affairs specialist, would have to consider as one of the options abandoning the effort altogether.
 
But Dan Krassner, the public watchdog, would probably disagree with that assessment.
 
As Paula Dockery said last week on the news-program ‘Florida This Week’, the state needs Integrity Florida. Hopefully, Krassner will figure a way out of this crisis.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.