Friday, March 25, 2005

Pundit Payola Probe

The General Accounting Office will investigate the Pundit Payola Scandal to see if the Bush administration broke any laws in hiring columnist Maggie Gallagher. Ms Gallagher wrote a series of columns promoting a pro-marriage, Bush administration initiative. She was paid $41,500 in taxpayer money.

President Bush has called on federal agencies to stop the practice of paying pundits to sell policies. Commentator Armstrong Williams got the biggest chunk of change in the scandal -- about $240,000 to promote the "No Child Left Behind" law.

On a related front, the GAO has declared that pre-packaged Video News Releases (VNRs) put together to promote the administration's iniatives are a violation of federal anti-propaganda laws. The administration has circulated memos telling federal agencies to ignore that ruling.

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