The rightwing douchebag pundit of the day award goes to Armstrong Williams:
Seeking to build support among black families for its education reform law, the Bush administration paid a prominent black pundit $240,000 to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same.
The campaign, part of an effort to promote No Child Left Behind (NCLB), required commentator Armstrong Williams "to regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts," and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for TV and radio spots that aired during the show in 2004.
Williams said Thursday he understands that critics could find the arrangement unethical, but "I wanted to do it because it’s something I believe in."
The top Democrat on the House Education Committee, Rep. George Miller of California, called the contract "a very questionable use of taxpayers’ money" that is "probably illegal." He said he will ask his Republican counterpart to join him in requesting an investigation.
By the way, what "liberal media"?
It’s a story similar to this, a few months ago:
Conyers also disclosed yesterday that Ashcroft spent more than $200,000 in taxpayer money on trips to 32 cities in August and September 2003 to drum up support for the Patriot Act.
A new Government Accountability Office study of the trips found that Ashcroft and his staff spent more than $77,000 for air transportation, according to congressional staffers who have been briefed on the findings. Nearly $40,000 was spent on hotels and other travel expenses, and U.S. attorney’s offices spent more than $80,000 for conference room rentals and other costs, the staff members said.
Justice officials told the GAO they did not keep track of some costs, including meetings between federal prosecutors and lawmakers about Patriot Act legislation. The report is scheduled to be released this week.
What’s the point?
The point is that this type of stuff is ILLEGAL. Here’s the Treasury and Governmental Appropriations Act:
SEC. 623. No part of any funds appropriated in this or any other Act shall be used by an agency of the executive branch, other than for normal and recognized executive-legislative relationships, for publicity or propaganda purposes, and for the preparation, distribution or use of any kit, pamphlet, booklet, publication, radio, television or film presentation designed to support or defeat legislation pending before the Congress, except in presentation to the Congress itself. …
SEC. 626. No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress.