Inquiry seeks to recoup funds from Williams

WASHINGTON: The inspector general's (IG) office of the Department of Education (DoE) is working with the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia on an inquiry into whether commentator Armstrong Williams performed all the work for which he was paid under his contract with the DoE.

WASHINGTON: The inspector general's (IG) office of the Department of Education (DoE) is working with the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia on an inquiry into whether commentator Armstrong Williams performed all the work for which he was paid under his contract with the DoE.

In a recent letter to Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), released by the senator's office on October 14, IG John Higgins confirmed that his office had contacted the US attorney's office during Higgins' inspection of Williams' work for the department.

The US attorney's inquiry into Williams' work, however, is unrelated to a call earlier this month by four Democratic senators for the Department of Justice to pursue a criminal investigation into Williams' failure to perform all the duties outlined in the contract.

Colby May, a lawyer for Williams, said there is no criminal investigation or inquiry into his client's DoE contract, The New York Times reported last week.

"There is clearly a contract dispute," May said.

Williams has been cooperating with Justice Department attorneys on the investigation and is expected to pay back some of the money he was paid under the contract, USA Today reported last week.

As part of its master contract with the DoE to promote The No Child Left Behind Act, Ketchum was directed by the DoE to manage a subcontract with Williams.

Questions still remain about whether Williams or Ketchum will face either civil or criminal charges if it is determined that fraud was committed.

"If they followed the rules, I wouldn't imagine it would be an issue" for Ketchum, said a senior executive with another DC PR agency who requested anonymity.

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