Tuesday, February 14th, 2006
The Washington Post
Tuesday, February 14, 2006; Page A13
How much is good press worth? To the Bush administration, about $1.6 billion.
That’s how much seven federal departments spent from 2003 through the second quarter of 2005 on 343 contracts with public relations firms, advertising agencies, media organizations and individuals, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.
The 154-page report provides the most comprehensive look to date at the scope of federal spending in an area that generated substantial controversy last year. Congressional Democrats asked the GAO to look into federal public relations contracts last spring at the height of the furor over government-sponsored prepackaged news and journalism-for-sale.
Armstrong Williams, the conservative commentator, had been unmasked as a paid administration promoter who received $186,000 from the Education Department to speak favorably about President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law in broadcast appearances.