For-profit

Sunshine Sachs

Website:

www.sunshinesachs.com/

Location:

New York, NY

Type:

Public relations consulting firm

Formation:

1991

CEO:

Shawn Sachs

Sunshine Sachs is a public relations consulting firm co-founded by Ken Sunshine. The firm is known to work with high-profile entertainment celebrities and labor unions. As of 2017, Sunshine Sachs has about 170 employees in offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Austin. [1] It has since added an office in Atlanta. [2]

The firm and its leaders are associated with Democratic causes. Ken Sunshine formerly worked on numerous Democratic campaigns. His partner, Shawn Sachs, formerly worked with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The firm’s clients have included the Democratic National Convention (DNC), left-leaning unions like 1199 Service Employees International Union, and outspoken left-wing celebrities like Michael Moore and Barbra Streisand.

Sunshine Sachs is known for keeping a low profile. Its website only contains the addresses of its offices, two contact emails, and a job bulletin. [3]

Founding and Growth

Ken Sunshine started Ken Sunshine Consultants in 1991. [4] His first client was the Democratic National Convention held the following year in New York City, where Sunshine had been working on Democratic campaigns for two decades. Before the convention, Sunshine also did public relations work for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. Sunshine worked closely with Ron Brown, then-chairman of the Democratic Party and the future Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton. After the election, Sunshine was invited to the Clinton White House many times. [5]

Sunshine’s second client was Barbra Streisand. [6]

Ken Sunshine Consultants spread from New York to Los Angeles and became well established as a boutique firm for celebrities. [7]

In 2007, Sunshine made his second-in-command, Shawn Sachs, a partner at the firm, and renamed it Sunshine, Sachs and Associates. [8]

Notable Clients

Celebrities

Sunshine Sachs’ celebrity clients have included Megan Markle, Leonardo DiCaprio, Natalie Portman, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jackson’s family, [9] Bon Jovi, John Mayer, [10] Naomi Campbell, Mia Farrow, Sarah Brightman, Ben Affleck, [11] Lin-Manuel Miranda, [12] and Michael Moore. [13]

Sunshine Sachs was employed by Justin Timberlake after “nipplegate,” the incident in which Timberlake revealed Janet Jackson’s breast during the 2004 Super Bowl half-time show. [14]

Sunshine Sachs was employed by film producer Harvey Weinstein after dozens of allegations of sexual harassment and assault became public in 2017. [15]

Companies

Sunshine Sachs’ corporate clients have included Facebook, Instagram, and Lyft. [16]

Unions

Sunshine Sachs has consulted for numerous unions, including 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU), International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 237, the Uniformed Firefighter Association, [17] and the Transit Workers Union Local 100. [18]

Left-of-Center Advocacy Groups

Sunshine Sachs has been hired by Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, Global Citizen, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and the Malala Fund. [19]

Other Organizations

In 2010, Sunshine Sachs was hired by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. [20]

Sunshine Sachs has also been employed by the Golden Globes, the MTV Video Music Awards, the ESPYs, [21] and LiveOnNY, a group that promotes organ donations. [22]

Leadership

Ken Sunshine

Ken Sunshine attended Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations where he was involved in local political activism, particularly opposition to the Vietnam War. Sunshine “wasn’t part of the most radical groups, but [he] certainly allied with them on basic goals.” He later said of his time at Cornell: “I remember the politics more than I do the academics.” [23]

After graduating from Cornell, Sunshine worked at a social service agency for troubled teens in Long Island. Sunshine has said that he got “caught up with” the Democratic Party because of his outrage at the Watergate scandal. Sunshine was elected as a delegate supporting George McGovern (D-SD) at the 1972 Democratic National Convention. He was extremely disappointed by the re-election of President Richard Nixon, who he considers to be one of the worst American presidents of all time. [24]

Sunshine then worked on numerous campaigns and for numerous Democratic politicians mostly based in New York. He joined the Bronx borough president campaign of Ben Abrahms (D). He worked for Bella Abzug (D-NY), a leader of the feminist movement, a U.S. Representative in the 1970s, and an unsuccessful New York City mayoral candidate. Sunshine worked for Mario Cuomo (D-NY), former governor of New York and father of Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), also a former New York Governor. In 1980, Sunshine worked on the presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who lost in the Democratic primaries to then-incumbent President Jimmy Carter (D). [25]

Throughout the 1980s, Sunshine worked on and off for the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) in public relations. In 1989, Sunshine ran the New York mayoral campaign of his friend, David Dinkins (D). Upon his victory, Sunshine became Dinkins’s chief of staff. The following year, Sunshine left the administration and soon after founded his public relations company. [26]

Shawn Sachs

In 2000, Shawn Sachs joined Ken Sunshine Consultants. [27] In 2007, Sachs was made a full partner at the firm. [28] Sachs previously worked as an intern for U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and as the director of member services for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for four years. [29]

Shawn Sachs is a nephew of Jeffrey Sachs, a good friend of former New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) who runs Sachs Consulting, a healthcare consulting company that has worked with the New York state government since the 1990s. [30] [31] In June 2021, during the height of former Governor Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal, Ken Sunshine attended a $10,000-per-person fundraiser for a planned fourth term as governor. [32]

Wikipedia Editing Controversy

In June 2015, the New York Times revealed that Sunshine Sachs had employed a team of paid editors to edit the Wikipedia entries of its clients. Ken Sunshine admitted that his employees had violated Wikipedia’s terms of service update in 2014 by not disclosing their conflict of interest to the website. [33]

Cancelled Holiday Party

In December 2016, Sunshine Sachs cancelled its annual holiday party due to the election of President Donald Trump “as a gesture of support for immigrants, women, LGBT people and the environment.” Firm partner Shawn Sachs said of the election: “Being the diverse workplace we are, many of us felt under assault.” The party budget was donated to 16 advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Immigrant Defense Fund. [34]

References

  1. “A Special Place in His Heart.” Cornel Industrial Labor Relations. October 26, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.ilr.cornell.edu/news/alumni/special-place-his-heart. ^
  2. “Sunshine Sachs.” Sunshine Sachs. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.sunshinesachs.com/. ^
  3. “Sunshine Sachs.” Sunshine Sachs. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.sunshinesachs.com/. ^
  4. “The History of PR Firm Sunshine Sachs.” Everything PR. June 2, 2018. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://everything-pr.com/sunshine-sachs-public-relations/. ^
  5. Weiss, Rebecca. “The Cornell Connection: Ken Sunshine ’70.” The Cornell Daily Sun. October 24, 2007. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://cornellsun.com/2007/10/24/the-cornell-connection-ken-sunshine-70/. ^
  6. “A Special Place in His Heart.” Cornel Industrial Labor Relations. October 26, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.ilr.cornell.edu/news/alumni/special-place-his-heart. ^
  7. Leonard, Tom. “Dark arts of Meghan’s Mr. Sunshine, the Manhattan PR who ‘employs bare-knuckle tactics’ to protect his A-list clients – as experts warn US firm will struggle to understand the relationship between the public and Royal Family.” Daily Mail. September 6, 2019. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7437193/Meghans-Mr-Sunshine-Manhattan-PR-employs-bare-knuckle-tactics-protect-clients.html. ^
  8. Weiss, Rebecca. “The Cornell Connection: Ken Sunshine ’70.” The Cornell Daily Sun. October 24, 2007. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://cornellsun.com/2007/10/24/the-cornell-connection-ken-sunshine-70/. ^
  9. Leonard, Tom. “Dark arts of Meghan’s Mr. Sunshine, the Manhattan PR who ‘employs bare-knuckle tactics’ to protect his A-list clients – as experts warn US firm will struggle to understand the relationship between the public and Royal Family.” Daily Mail. September 6, 2019. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7437193/Meghans-Mr-Sunshine-Manhattan-PR-employs-bare-knuckle-tactics-protect-clients.html. ^
  10. [1] Weiss, Rebecca. “The Cornell Connection: Ken Sunshine ’70.” The Cornell Daily Sun. October 24, 2007. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://cornellsun.com/2007/10/24/the-cornell-connection-ken-sunshine-70/. ^
  11. Cieply, Michael. “Wikipedia Pages of Star Clients Altered by P.R. Firm.” The New York Times. June 22, 2015. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/business/media/a-pr-firm-alters-the-wiki-reality-of-its-star-clients.html. ^
  12. “ILRAA: Student-Alumni Career Pathways.” Cornell University. October 27, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://events.cornell.edu/event/ilraa_student-alumni_career_pathways. ^
  13. Shafrir, Doree. “Ken Sunshine Would Never Have Paris Hilton.” Gawker. July 2, 2007. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.gawker.com/274443/ken-sunshine-would-never-have-paris-hilton. ^
  14. Leonard, Tom. “Dark arts of Meghan’s Mr. Sunshine, the Manhattan PR who ‘employs bare-knuckle tactics’ to protect his A-list clients – as experts warn US firm will struggle to understand the relationship between the public and Royal Family.” Daily Mail. September 6, 2019. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7437193/Meghans-Mr-Sunshine-Manhattan-PR-employs-bare-knuckle-tactics-protect-clients.html ^
  15. Leonard, Tom. “Dark arts of Meghan’s Mr. Sunshine, the Manhattan PR who ‘employs bare-knuckle tactics’ to protect his A-list clients – as experts warn US firm will struggle to understand the relationship between the public and Royal Family.” Daily Mail. September 6, 2019. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7437193/Meghans-Mr-Sunshine-Manhattan-PR-employs-bare-knuckle-tactics-protect-clients.html. ^
  16. “ILRAA: Student-Alumni Career Pathways.” Cornell University. October 27, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://events.cornell.edu/event/ilraa_student-alumni_career_pathways. ^
  17. “ILRAA: Student-Alumni Career Pathways.” Cornell University. October 27, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://events.cornell.edu/event/ilraa_student-alumni_career_pathways. ^
  18. Shafrir, Doree. “Ken Sunshine Would Never Have Paris Hilton.” Gawker. July 2, 2007. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.gawker.com/274443/ken-sunshine-would-never-have-paris-hilton. ^
  19. “ILRAA: Student-Alumni Career Pathways.” Cornell University. October 27, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://events.cornell.edu/event/ilraa_student-alumni_career_pathways. ^
  20. “Hollywood Foreign Press Association Retains Sunshine Sachs & Associates As Agency of Record.” Golden Globe Awards. March 10, 2010. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.goldenglobes.com/articles/hollywood-foreign-press-association-retains-sunshine-sachs-associates-agency-record. ^
  21. “ILRAA: Student-Alumni Career Pathways.” Cornell University. October 27, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://events.cornell.edu/event/ilraa_student-alumni_career_pathways. ^
  22. “A Special Place in His Heart.” Cornel Industrial Labor Relations. October 26, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.ilr.cornell.edu/news/alumni/special-place-his-heart. ^
  23. Weiss, Rebecca. “The Cornell Connection: Ken Sunshine ’70.” The Cornell Daily Sun. October 24, 2007. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://cornellsun.com/2007/10/24/the-cornell-connection-ken-sunshine-70/. ^
  24. Weiss, Rebecca. “The Cornell Connection: Ken Sunshine ’70.” The Cornell Daily Sun. October 24, 2007. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://cornellsun.com/2007/10/24/the-cornell-connection-ken-sunshine-70/. ^
  25. Weiss, Rebecca. “The Cornell Connection: Ken Sunshine ’70.” The Cornell Daily Sun. October 24, 2007. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://cornellsun.com/2007/10/24/the-cornell-connection-ken-sunshine-70/. ^
  26. Weiss, Rebecca. “The Cornell Connection: Ken Sunshine ’70.” The Cornell Daily Sun. October 24, 2007. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://cornellsun.com/2007/10/24/the-cornell-connection-ken-sunshine-70/. ^
  27. “Biography.” IADAS. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.iadas.net/member/shawn-sachs/. ^
  28. Weiss, Rebecca. “The Cornell Connection: Ken Sunshine ’70.” The Cornell Daily Sun. October 24, 2007. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://cornellsun.com/2007/10/24/the-cornell-connection-ken-sunshine-70/. ^
  29. “Shawn Sachs.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawnsachs/. ^
  30. Friedman, Roger. “Chasing Cuomo: NY Post Confuses Harvard Economist Jeffrey Sachs with Long Island Dentist of Same Name.” Showbiz 411. August 7, 2021. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.showbiz411.com/2021/08/07/chasing-cuomo-ny-post-confuses-harvard-economist-jeffrey-sachs-with-long-island-dentist-of-same-name. ^
  31. Confessore, Nicholas. “Cuomo Adviser Takes Pay From Health Industry.” The New York Times. February 22, 2011. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/nyregion/23cuomo.html. ^
  32. [1] Kinery, Emma; Gordon, Amanda L. “Cuomo Reaps $1 Million at NYC Fundraiser Under Scandal’s Cloud.” Bloomberg. June 29, 2021. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-29/cuomo-hosts-10-000-a-plate-fundraiser-in-test-of-support-in-nyc. ^
  33. Cieply, Michael. “Wikipedia Pages of Star Clients Altered by P.R. Firm.” The New York Times. June 22, 2015. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/business/media/a-pr-firm-alters-the-wiki-reality-of-its-star-clients.html ^
  34. Donnelley, Matt. “Hollywood PR Firm Cancels Holiday Parties in Post-Trump Funk.” The Wrap. December 6, 2016. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.thewrap.com/hollywood-pr-firm-cancels-holiday-parties-sunshine-sachs-post-trump/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Ken Sunshine
    Founder and co-CEO
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Sunshine Sachs

136 Madison Avenue
17th Floor
New York, NY 10016