|10-01-2005, 09:21 AM||#1|
Angling in the Deep
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Texas Riviera, Southern Mountains
Buying of News by Bush's Administration Is Ruled Illegal
Just another little inconvienent fact for the administration of "high morals" and "honesty".
By ROBERT PEAR
Published: October 1, 2005
WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 - Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.
In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban.
The contract with Mr. Williams and the general contours of the public relations campaign had been known for months. The report Friday provided the first definitive ruling on the legality of the activities.
Lawyers from the accountability office, an independent nonpartisan arm of Congress, found that the administration systematically analyzed news articles to see if they carried the message, "The Bush administration/the G.O.P. is committed to education."
The auditors declared: "We see no use for such information except for partisan political purposes. Engaging in a purely political activity such as this is not a proper use of appropriated funds."
The report also sharply criticized the Education Department for telling Ketchum Inc., a public relations company, to pay Mr. Williams for newspaper columns and television appearances praising Mr. Bush's education initiative, the No Child Left Behind Act.
When that arrangement became public, it set off widespread criticism. At a news conference in January, Mr. Bush said: "We will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet."
But the Education Department has since defended its payments to Mr. Williams, saying his commentaries were "no more than the legitimate dissemination of information to the public."
The G.A.O. said the Education Department had no money or authority to "procure favorable commentary in violation of the publicity or propaganda prohibition" in federal law.
|10-01-2005, 05:06 PM||#2|
Mo' holla fo' yo' dolla!
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: In a bunker in an undisclosed location
Props to the GAO for doing its job.
Maybe the rethugs aren't above the law after all (if developments like the DeLay indictment, the Frist investigation, Plamegate, and this story are any indication.)
Hopefully we'll get to see them all in orange jumpsuits someday soon.
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