The Department of Education paid commentator Armstrong Williams for positive stories on the "No Child Left Behind Act." Long standing US law
prevents the government from paying for news and/or editorial in an attempt to propagandize the domestic population. (This is why
Voice of America is not broadcast inside the United States.) Now the White House and members of the Bush Cabinet are
doing everything possible to prevent the results of an investigation of the matter from becoming public.
The Bush administration is impeding an investigation into the Education Department's hiring of commentator Armstrong Williams by refusing to allow
key White House officials to be interviewed, a Democratic lawmaker briefed on the review said Thursday.
In addition, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is considering invoking a privilege that he said would require
information to be deleted when the final version is publicly released, which is expected within days.
Miller called for Jack Higgins, the inspector general at the Education Department, to delay the report until Spellings agrees not to invoke
"deliberative process privilege'' and the White House grants interviews with current or former officials familiar with the deal.
"The public's right to know is absolutely more important than any claim of privilege that the White House or the Department of Education might
make,'' Miller said. "The public has a right to all the facts about possible misconduct.''
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A free and independent press is essential to a modern democracy. If the news and opinion you read (and trust?) is bought and paid for by the
government, then the range of public debate is seriously crippled.
Stonewalling this investigation suggests that the White House has reason to hide its activities in this area. Could this be the Bush administration's
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