Pay for Play: Act Two

Howard Kurtz reports in the WaPo that Armstrong Williams wasn’t the only one on the take--quelle surprise:
In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended President Bush's push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families.


But Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the president's proposal. Her work under the contract, which ran from January through October 2002, included drafting a magazine article for the HHS official overseeing the initiative, writing brochures for the program and conducting a briefing for department officials.


Gallagher received an additional $20,000 from the Bush administration in 2002 and 2003 for writing a report, titled "Can Government Strengthen Marriage?", for a private organization called the National Fatherhood Initiative. That report, published last year, was funded by a Justice Department grant, said NFI spokesman Vincent DiCaro. Gallagher said she was "aware vaguely" that her work was federally funded.
Am I missing something, or is the gist of this that the administration was paying someone in the media to write a report touting the virtues of an administration program, which was then to be published through a private, third-party organization? Um, something doesn’t make sense here. Did the Justice Department give the money directly to Gallagher, or did was it granted to the NFI, who then gave it to Gallagher? It sounds like it’s the former, which seems rather odd to me. Why would a government grant be given directly to an individual to author a report on behalf of an allegedly private organization? Was Gallagher contracted to write the report by NFI independently, or was it coordinated by the administration? It reeks of the administration wanting to have a third-party piece available to prop up its marriage initiative.
"Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it?" Gallagher said yesterday. "I don't know. You tell me."

Hmm, well, according to all your jagoff compatriots who went after Kos and Jerome even though they did disclose their relationship with the Dean campaign…YES! It’ll be interesting to see what the pontificating blowhards say in defense of Ms. Gallagher, considering their positions regarding Lefty bloggers.

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