Education Dept. paid commentator to promote law
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.
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.
Probably? If it’s not, it Probably should be.
DB Prediction: This will slide, just like everything else slides for this Teflon Prez of ours, from Abu Gharib to WMD in Iraq to Iraq- Al Qaeda ties and on and on.
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." […]
[PR Firm] 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."
Have a nice weekend, everybody!