Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, paid Michelle Obama‘s longtime press secretary $166,000. The money, paid by the Archewell Foundation to Katie McCormick Lelyveld’s public relations firm, has reignited speculation about Meghan’s political ambitions.
It comes after The Sun revealed Meghan had a private encounter with US presidential candidate Gavin Newsom in 2020. From 2007 to 2011, Ms. Lelyveld worked as the press assistant for former First Lady Michelle Obama.
She has also worked as a public relations consultant for Hillary Clinton and previous presidential candidate John Kerry, indicating that she has significant ties to high-level Democrats.
Archewell, Prince Harry, and Meghan’s charity endeavor paid $164,000 to Ms. Melyveld’s business KMLSA LLC in 2021, according to tax returns. The money was for “strategic support for social impact PR”.
The business boasts of its “decades of dynamic experience with influential leaders” and said it was the company that “global leaders turn to navigate challenges with reputational, political, philanthropic, legal and financial lenses”.
Meghan’s campaigns in 2021 included cold-calling US senators on their personal phones to discuss an act mandating paid family leave. Senator Shelley Capito, a Republican, said at the time that she could not “figure out how she got my number”.
The same year, Harry and Meghan paid a high-profile visit to New York, visiting the 9/11 memorial and museum as well as the United Nations to advocate for increased vaccine equality. Ms. Lelyveld traveled with Mrs. Obama to 13 countries and received warm praise from the former First Lady.
When Ms. Lelyveld left the White House, Mrs. Obama hailed her “intelligence, grace, quick wit, humor, and friendship”. Mr. Newsom, the governor of California, is another figure Meghan has nurtured. In October 2020, she and Harry had a virtual chat with him.
Among those who have urged Meghan to run for office is Joe Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, who stated that she would appeal to voters. Omid Scobie, Meghan’s biographer, and friend, recently stated that the former Suits star “has her eyes set on the US presidency.”
According to a source, Ms. Lelyveld’s Archewell payment was irrelevant to her professional political activity, but she was recruited as an “experienced strategic adviser.”