In what’s sure to set off another round of hand-wringing around Washington’s professional chattering class, Postie Howard Kurtz today broke the story of how the Bush administration paid ANOTHER columnist to promote its agenda.
Coming on the heels of the Armstrong Williams flap, evidently HHS paid syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher some $21,500 for work she did on Bush’s initiative to encourage marriage as a way of strengthening families. While she says the payment was for specific projects she did on behalf of HHS, she wrote at least one column in the National Review Online defending the Bush plan:
“The Bush marriage initiative would emphasize the importance of marriage to poor couples, educate teens on the value of delaying childbearing until marriage, and nurture faith-based and community marriage mentoring and education,” she wrote.
Gallagher’s response to the Kurtz piece? She was justified in taking money from the administration because she’s a MARRIAGE EXPERT:
My first instinct is to say, no, Howard, I had no special obligation to disclose this information. I’m a marriage expert. I get paid to write, edit, research and educate on marriage. If a scholar or expert gets paid to do some work for the government, should he or she disclose that if he writes a paper, essay or op-ed on the same or similar subject? If this is the ethical standard, it is an entirely new standard.
Is that the new standard for this administration? When they hire someone who actually knows what they’re talking about, we should all be thankful?
Note to Administration Readers: Fishbowl is happy to promote any and all parts of your agenda for a very reasonable fee. Please email us if you’d like to discuss further….