Forest Service not wrong to hire a PR firm, GAO decides

WASHINGTON: Congressional investigators concluded last week that the USDA Forest Service didn't violate any laws by hiring a PR firm to promote a logging plan, reported the AP.

WASHINGTON: Congressional investigators concluded last week that the USDA Forest Service didn't violate any laws by hiring a PR firm to promote a logging plan, reported the AP.

In March, environmentalists and Democrats had criticized the service for hiring OneWorld Communications for $90,000.

Critics said the firm encouraged the Forest Service to keep details of the plan confidential because the public might misinterpret certain ideas. Democrats said the contract violated laws against spending on publicity without Congressional consent.

But the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress' nonpartisan investigative arm, disagreed. The AP quoted the GAO's report as saying, "While the Forest Service policy is controversial, the materials explaining the policy do not constitute prohibited publicity or propaganda."

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