Friday :: Apr 15, 2005

Armstrong Williams Report Shows Spellings And Bush Lied

by Steve

And we didn't know about this in the White House
--Bush, press conference, January 26, 2005

"During a meeting between the White House and Department officials on July 13, 2004, pertaining to communications strategy, the Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy briefly questioned the Deputy Director of OPA about the status of the Williamsí work request..."
--Page 8 Footnote, Inspector General's Report, Department of Education, today

It's there, buried in a footnote at the bottom of Page 8 in the just-released Department of Education Inspector General's report on the Armstrong Williams propaganda fiasco. Let's recap.

In short, Bush has said that "we didn't know about (the Williams contract) in the White House." Margaret Spellings, Bush's current Education Secretary and former Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and then-Special Assistant to the President and Spellings' Chief of Staff now David Dunn both say they didn't know about the contract either. But now we know why the release of the report was held until the Friday afternoon news dump.

Dunn did know, and probably Spellings too, given their organizational proximity. And given how close Spellings is to Bush, it is likely that Bush did too.

The report in total paints a portrait of a Department of Education that used its existing Ketchum contract to specifically funnel money to Armstrong Williams' company, when Secretary Paige himself says that he didn't have a relationship to Williams prior to the contract. If so, then who was making the decision to use Ketchum to push in essence payola for propaganda to Armstrong Williams, and as the report also notes, to pay him for services that DOE had no idea were ever delivered?

And to cap it off, Bush told the gullible White House press corps in January that not only he, but no one in the White House knew about the Williams' contract, when in fact the report approved and issued by his then-Assistant for Domestic Policy for four years and his associate for a decade before that confirms that Dunn and perhaps Spellings did in fact know about it and Dunn asked DOE staff about the status of the payola contract. Does anyone have a transcript of Spellings' confirmation testimony on January 6, 2005 to see if she testified under oath about this matter, because today's report brings responsibility for the payola-for-propaganda scam inside the White House.

And Representative George Miller of California, are you taking notes?

(Updated and clarified; thanks Clif)

Steve :: 4:08 PM :: Comments (20) :: Digg It!