There’s a Word for PRSA Falsifying its APR+M Pentagon MOU: Fraud

For more than a decade, PRSA claimed to have a legitimate "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU) with the U.S. Dept. of Defense. They were lying.

As always, if there is anything here that is reported without additional necessary context, or if PRSA or the UAB wish to explain themselves for fraudulently claiming for well-more than a decade that a PRSA/UAB MOU actually existed in writing with the U.S. Department of Defense — when clearly it did not — then PRSA officials are welcome to send to me their content, which I will gladly include.

Did the Public Relations Society of America (PRSAfalsify for some 12 years a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States Department of Defense (DoD) in order to sell a PR accreditation to government public affairs workers – invoiced through government channels and paid for with taxpayer dollars to PRSA coffers?

As a preview:

For prior background, PRSA is currently touting April 2021 as “APR Month.”

The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation – which PRSA is curiously now retooling as an acronym in its social media promotional graphics as “Accomplished / Passionate / Remarkable” – is also offered as a hybrid version… the APR+M, or “Accreditation in Public Relations + Military Communication.”

PRSA has claimed since 2009 that the APR+M version of the APR is “a joint effort among the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), Department of Defense (DOD) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA),” even publishing prominent reference in the APR+M Study Guide with the following claim about a formal “Memorandum of Understanding,” or MOU, allegedly in existence since 2009 between PRSA and the DoD, which “governed creation” of the APR+M “under terms of the memo.”

In a 2019 mid-year PRSA committee report to the PRSA National Board, PRSA Universal Accreditation Board volunteers even made reference to “writing test items” for APR+M and other efforts “to update the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Defense.”

The committee report also referenced a special “accelerated pilot process for senior officers to earn APR+M.”

Unlike other PRSA members, military personnel are not required to join PRSA in order to obtain and maintain their special APR.

By using the term “update” persistently in referencing a need for a new MOU, it was clearly implied that a pre-existing, active version of an MOU had been and was currently in existence

This information — we now know — was false.

To be clear, the APR+M credential (like the regular APR credential) is supposedly managed and overseen by a separate “Universal Accreditation Board,” composed not only of PRSA but other PR associations as well.

However, it’s clear that PRSA commandeers the whole set-up, from its HQ in New York.

PRSA established the UAB itself in its own bylaws, and ALL APR APPLICATION FEES are made payable only to PRSA, as documented on the APR+M application form:

In mid-January 2021 – just several months ago – I participated (as a PRSA member in good standing and as an APR credential-holder and member of PRSA’s College of Fellows) in a PRSA Board of Ethics & Professional Standards conference call.

Since I’ve reported many documented concerns for some years now about PRSA national leadership’s non-compliance with key tenets of the PRSA Code of Ethics, I generally tried to participate in such conference calls, to learn what’s new or changed in PRSA that would give rise to ongoing violations and their acceptability by PRSA leadership.


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