Shirley & Banister Public Affairs

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Shirley & Banister Public Affairs is a well-connected Republican public relations company. Craig Shirley is the president and CEO [1], and Diana Banister is VP and partner [2].

According to PR Week, the firm was created when "Shirley promoted longtime employee Diana Banister to partner in 2002, and changed the firm's name to Shirley & Banister Public Affairs (SBPA). One of the few remaining independent agencies in Washington, the firm thrives largely because it has bucked the latest feel-good lobbying trend, bipartisanship."[1]

Notable work

Promoting the official account of Jessica Lynch's rescue

In November 2003 O'Dwyer's PR Daily reported, "Shirley and Banister Public Affairs has been selected to promote Harper Collins' Because Each Life is Precious, the account by Iraqi lawyer Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief of Pfc. Jessica Lynch's capture and rescue during the Iraq invasion." [3]

Involvement with 'non-partisan, grassroots' group

According to Joe Conason, writing in March 2004, ", a new 'grass-roots' outfit overseen by Beltway insider Shirley, has produced an ad that claims Kerry is 'more liberal than Ted Kennedy'." [4]

Suppressing coverage of Kitty Kelley's Bush family book

US News Bulletin reported in September 2004 that: "Conservative talk radio, TV and print outlets are being urged to ignore Kelley, author of The Family: The Real Story Of the Bush Dynasty. 'Don't give Kitty Kelley air time,' says a memo from the conservative and influential PR firm Shirley & Banister Public Affairs. The memo was sent as NBC's Today Show was set to interview Kelley over three days." [5]

Promoting the movie 'Stolen Honor'

In October 2004 Shirley & Banister Public Affairs got involved in public relations work for the anti-Kerry attack movie Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal. PR Week USA reported that SBPA "has been handling PR efforts for the documentary and its producer". It quoted Diana Banister as saying of the Sinclair boycott campaign, "I don't think we can squash it. People have as much right to complain about Sinclair broadcasting as we do about any station that would broadcast Michael Moore's documentary... The Stolen Honor folks have as much right to be aired as anyone else, and even more so." [6]

SBPA's involvement with the movie was highlighted by Kerry campaign spokesman Mark Nevins in a September 2004 interview with the Philadelphia Daily Times. The article says that "Nevins also suggested Sherwood was another right-wing conspirator who hired Republican public relations firm Shirley and Bannister to help market their product." [7]

Keeping Tom DeLay above the Law & Order

On a May 2005 episode, a character on NBC's "Law & Order" who was investigating the murder of a federal judge said, "Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt." In response, the Free Enterprise Fund (which "advocates limited government and 'pro-growth' economic policies") worked with their PR firm, Shirley & Banister, to challenge the "witch-hunt to discredit Tom DeLay and the agenda he represents," in the words of FEF vice-president Lawrence A. Hunter. They had 450 T-shirts made, with DeLay's picture on the front and the words "Who's afraid of ['Law & Order' executive producer] Dick Wolf?" on the back. Shirley & Banister then organized and promoted a rally of T-shirt-clad DeLay supporters on Washington DC's Capitol Hill on June 2, 2005. Fox News, CNN and Roll Call covered the rally, according to O'Dwyer's PR Daily. [8]


According to the company's website [9] and news accounts [10] (Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter, Vol. 38, No. 18, May 4, 2005), past or current clients include:

Contact information

Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
122 South Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Telephone: 800-536-5920
Email: info AT

Articles and Resources


  2. Collegiate Network, "Expelled? Iowa Professor Suggests Intelligent Design, Denied Tenure", Media Release, April 15, 2008. (The release lists Hayley McConnell from Shirley & Banister Public Affairs as the contact).

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