Burson Marsteller, the PR/lobbying firm run by Hillary Clinton's chief strategist, Mark Penn, is handling crisis management for the owner of Aqua Dots, the bead toys with an adhesive coating that too easily turns into the date-rape drug, GHB.

A source directly familiar with the arrangement confirms that Aqua Dots' manufacturer, SpinMaster, based in Canada, has turned to Burson Marsteller for help.

Several children who swallowed Aqua Dots lapsed into comas, promoting a worldwide recall. The company blames manufacturers in China for putting the wrong coating on their products.

Burson Marsteller has also worked for Blackwater, the soldier-for-hire company at the center of a storm about civilian deaths in Iraq, and for a company accused of working to stifle union activity. Penn has cut back on his Burson Marsteller duties to focus on Clinton's campaign and has said he had nothing to do with those contracts .

An official of the company said that Penn has no role in the Aqua Dots contract.

"There are over 2000 clients," a company official said. "Mark had no contact with them in any way."

Penn was unavailable for comment.

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