get coveredThe Associated Press has put FleishmanHillard's multimillion-dollar Obamacare pact with Illinois under the microscope, questioning PR spending rates that it says were among the highest in the nation.

The AP, which acknowledged that its analysis of the first four months of the base 12-month pact is a "limited snapshot," reported that more than 90 FH staffers billed at least $270 an hour for salary and overhead during the early months of the "Get Covered Illinois" campaign. Those rates were compared with other Affordable Care Act PR rates in states like Colorado ($120/hour) and Connecticut ($175), as well as JWT's $165-per-hour rate for Illinois' tourism account.

FH senior partner Jack Modzelewski said the campaign was "heavily front-loaded" and "all hands on deck."

FH's Chicago office knocked off 11 competitors in July 2013 for the pact, worth up to $35M over three years.

State Rep. Darlene Senger, a Republican who is running for Congress and pushing for an audit of $36M in federal funds given to the Prairie State for its Affordable Care Act push, told the AP the PR rates are "absolutely excessive."

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