Magazine article District Administration

Investigation Finds No Propaganda but Questions Linger

Magazine article District Administration

Investigation Finds No Propaganda but Questions Linger

Article excerpt

An investigation of the U.S. Department of Education's public relations contracts found both "covert propaganda" in one contract and "no covert propaganda" in other contracts.

An investigation by the Government Accountability Office found the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable coverage of government education policies via payments to conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.

While the Williams situation was found to be "covert propaganda," a separate investigation found that there was "no covert propaganda" among other contracts.

The "Final Inspection Report" by the Office of Inspector General John P. Higgins Jr., released in September, found that millions of dollars were used to promote Bush administration policies in newspapers and brochures, which is standard procedure, but it did not reveal they received taxpayer funds, which is required under law.

The two investigations started with Williams' past promotion of No Child Left Behind. Williams' public relations firm, Graham Williams Group, bought ad space in 2003 on a television show he owns and hosts promoting Bush's education law, and then used his column to support the legislation.

Higgins' report found that three previous grants investigated resulted in newspaper op-ed pieces and did not include disclaimer language to reveal that they were paid for with taxpayer money. …

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