Saturday, April 16, 2005

Payola: What Bush Knew and When

In case we needed more evidence to prove that deception is the central operating principle for this White House, Steve Soto sifted through the administration's Friday afternoon news dump and picked out this little gem:

Review of Formation Issues Regarding the Department
of Education’s Fiscal Year 2003 Contract with
Ketchum, Inc. for Media Relations Services

Lurking within this final report from the Office of Inspector General is evidence that George Bush may have lied when he told the media that the White House knew nothing about the DOE/Armstrong Williams contract.

During a January 26th White House Press Conference, President Bush said:"Mr. Armstrong Williams admitted he made a mistake. And we didn't know about this in the White House." (my emphasis added)

In the middle of a footnote on page eight of the report is evidence that would suggest otherwise:

Margaret's Implausible Deniability
"During a meeting between White House and Department officials on July 13, 2004, pertaining to communications strategy, the Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy [now Sec of Ed. Margaret Spellings] briefly questioned the Deputy Director of OPA about the status of the Williams’ work request. The Deputy Director stated she was unsure of the status. No further discussion ensued on the subject until a few days after the meeting, when the former Chief of Staff (B) contacted the Special Assistant [Spellings again] to inform him the work request had already been signed and issued on June 25, 2004."

"Now we know why the release of the report was held until the Friday afternoon news dump," Soto writes in his blog TheLeftCoaster.

Bush said that the White House didn't know about the Williams deal. Margaret Spellings -- who prior to her tenure as Education Secretary was the Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy mentioned in the report -- has said that she and her chief of staff, David Dunn, were unaware of the deal when they worked at the White House.

"Spellings and Dunn did know," reports Soto, "and given how close Spellings is to Bush, it is likely that Bush did too."

The OIG report approved and issued by Spellings’ department confirms that the White House, including Spelings and her subordinate, did in fact know about Williams and had even asked DOE staff about the status of the payola contract.

According to Soto, “today's report brings responsibility for the payola-for-propaganda scam inside the White House.”

1 comment:

spyder said...

this goes a long way to explaining Spellings decision to not allow the investigation to proceed further within the DoEd at this time. Her resistence was sent in a letter to the Congressional committee just the other day.