Wednesday, January 26, 2005


This is the headline on Drudge's web site. The story is as follows:

In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended President Bush's push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families.

But Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the president's proposal, reveals Howard Kurtz in Wednesday runs of the WASHINGTON POST.

"The Bush marriage initiative would emphasize the importance of marriage to poor couples" and "educate teens on the value of delaying childbearing until marriage," she wrote in National Review Online, for example, adding that this could "carry big payoffs down the road for taxpayers and children."

Gallagher explains to Kurtz: "Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it? I don't know. You tell me." She said she would have "been happy to tell anyone who called me" about the contract but that "frankly, it never occurred to me" to disclose it.

National Review Editor Rich Lowry said of the HHS contract: "We would have preferred that she told us, and we would have disclosed it in her bio."
Sorry, but while I do support President Bush and did vote for him twice, there are a few things about him that bother me. One of them is that for a "conservative", he sure does spend like a drunken sailor...and I'm not counting the defense budget, since only a liberal would argue for the need to cut defense spending during a time of war.

First, there was Armstrong Williams getting paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to promote Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program. Now we find out that Maggie Gallagher was paid to promote another Bush idea! Is this the best use of public dollars? The President has persuaded me (and millions of others) on the merits of his ideas...why in God's name did his administration feel the need to pay people to persuade others?

Sorry, folks, but while I do like the man, I have to call things like I see them...and these two payoffs were horrible moves on this administration's part!
I don't condone paying private citizens with public money to lobby other private citizens on behalf of pet legislation...from the left or the right...period. While it may not be illegal, it sure is wrongheaded and wasteful, especially since we're running a defecit.