Paying for Hope with Your Change; the O Force Taps Public Funds for Propaganda Campaign

Article excerpt

Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In the modern era, all presidents have to some degree used their office to promote themselves and their policies. The Obama administration, however, has taken the practice to new heights. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last month unveiled a slick, $700,000 television commercial featuring crusty old actor Andy Griffith announcing that more good things are coming to seniors - thanks to Obamacare. Just add the O Force campaign logo, and the advertisement will be ready for use in the 2012 presidential race.

That has worried Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, who last week issued a report that called into question the legality of the administration's harnessing of government resources to advance a political agenda. The report describes how HHS last year slipped $392,600 in taxpayer funds to MIT economist Jonathan Gruber for technical assistance in formulating aspects of Obamacare. Without disclosing his place on the HHS dole, Mr. Gruber provided glowing commentary in support of Obamacare to outlets such as The Washington Post and New York Times. In January, the Gray Lady pointed out that Mr. Gruber had a contractual obligation to inform it about his conflict of interest, adding a disclaimer to his column online explaining, Had editors been aware of Professor Gruber's government ties, the Op-Ed page would have insisted on disclosure or not published his article.

The deception was not aimed at just the biggest of old-media outlets. …