Saturday, January 08, 2005

Armstrong Williams Update

Williams has also apologized for accepting the taxpayer money, although I think he should also return the money. It also appears that the organization that distributes his column, Tribune Media Services, has fired him. (Story here.) This is a completely appropriate action for something that Williams himself realizes that he should have known better than to do.

Given these developments, the outrage now needs to be directed squarely at the Administration. Who thought that this was appropriate? Where is the acknowledgment from anyone in the Administration that this was not an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars? Heck the Dept. of Education continues to defend this.

The only White House comment that I could find so far:

Q Or any other day, right? (Laughter.)USA Today says the Education Department paid a TV commentator, Armstrong Williams, about a quarter million dollars to promote No Child Left. And in a related matter, the GAO found yesterday the drug policy office broke federal law by using taxpayer money for covert, "propaganda," with made for TV story packages. Are these practices that you condone?

MR. McCLELLAN: On the first one, that was a decision by the Department of Education, and a contracting matter. So you ought to direct those questions to the Department of Education. I know the headline said that the White House -- basically implied that it was the White House, and it wasn't. If you read the story -- if you read the story, it pointed that out.

Q It's your administration, Scott. It's the President's administration.

Typical, and not sufficient. Just try to imagine the outrage if the Clinton White House had done this.

At least one Republican, Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, has signed on to the Democrats request for an investigation. This story will have some legs at least until there is an acknowledgment of wrongdoing, and probably someone's job.

UPDATE - Josh Marshall has the details on some other Administration taxpayer paid propaganda here.