WASHINGTON: As part of the Education Department?s $1 million contract with Ketchum, commentator Armstrong Williams was paid $240,000 to promote the No Child Left Behind Act during his nationally syndicated television show, according to USA Today.
For his part in the campaign, Williams was required to ?regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts," and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for TV and radio spots that aired during the show in 2004, the paper reported. Armstrong also urged prominent black journalists to promote NCLB.
Williams appeared on CNN this morning, calling himself a ?subcontractor? for Ketchum. Calls to Ketchum?s Washington office were not immediately returned.
Last year, Ketchum was at the heart of a controversy surrounding VNRs produced for Department of Health and Human Services. Designed to promote a new Medicare Law, the VNRs concluded with the line, ?This is Karen Ryan reporting.? The General Accounting Office later ruled that they were ?covert propaganda? on the part of the Bush Administration.
It is illegal by federal law to use taxpayer funds to promote government work.