Friday, January 07, 2005

Your Tax Dollars At Work!

White House Paid Commentator
To Promote Law

By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY

Seeking to build support among black families for its education reform law, the Bush administration paid a prominent black pundit $240,000 to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same.

Thank the folks at
for their early warnings
about this guy!

The campaign, part of an effort to promote No Child Left Behind (NCLB), required commentator Armstrong Williams "to regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts," and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for TV and radio spots that aired during the show in 2004.

Williams said Thursday he understands that critics could find the arrangement unethical, but "I wanted to do it because it's something I believe in."

The top Democrat on the House Education Committee, Rep. George Miller of California, called the contract "a very questionable use of taxpayers' money" that is "probably illegal." He said he will ask his Republican counterpart to join him in requesting an investigation.


The contract may be illegal "because Congress has prohibited propaganda," or any sort of lobbying for programs funded by the government, said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "And it's propaganda."

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said he couldn't comment because the White House is not involved in departments' contracts.

Ketchum referred questions to the Education Department, whose spokesman, John Gibbons, said the contract followed standard government procedures. He said there are no plans to continue with "similar outreach."

Williams' contract was part of a $1 million deal with Ketchum that produced "video news releases" designed to look like news reports. The Bush administration used similar releases last year to promote its Medicare prescription drug plan, prompting a scolding from the Government Accountability Office, which called them an illegal use of taxpayers' dollars.

Williams, 45, a former aide to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas , is one of the top black conservative voices in the nation. He hosts The Right Side on TV and radio, and writes op-ed pieces for newspapers, including USA TODAY, while running a public relations firm, Graham Williams Group. LINK



Pronunciation: k&n-'spir-&-sE
Function: noun
Inflected Form: plural -cies
Etymology: Latin conspiratio, from conspirare to conspire —see CONSPIRE

: an agreement between two or more people to commit an act prohibited by law or to commit a lawful act by means prohibited by law; also : the crime or tort of participating in a conspiracy —compare SUBSTANTIVE CRIME
NOTE: Some states require an overt act in addition to the agreement to constitute conspiracy.

chain conspiracy

: a conspiracy in which the conspirators act separately and successively (as in distributing narcotics)

civil conspiracy
: a conspiracy that is not prosecuted as a crime but that forms the grounds for a lawsuit

criminal conspiracy

: a conspiracy prosecuted as a crime
2 : a group of conspirators

Oh, it's grand
how the money
changes hands...

And the Top Democrats exclaim to the nation,

"Gee, this might be a bad thing...


We're not really sure, though."

Heavy sigh.


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