Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Rule of Law: Republican Medicare videos illegal propaganda 

But since it was His will, how could it violate the law?

The Bush administration's ad campaign to promote changes to Medicare violated two laws, Congress' investigative arm said Wednesday.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) concluded that the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) illegally spent money on what amounted to covert propaganda by producing videos that were made to look like news reports. Portions of the videos, which have been broadcast by 40 television stations, did not make clear that the announcers were not actual news reporters and that they were paid by the department.

The 16-page legal opinion says that HHS's "video news releases" violated a statute that forbids the use of federal money for propaganda, as well as an "Antideficiency Act" that prohibits misuse of federal funds for unauthorized purposes.

The finding does not carry legal force, because the GAO acts as an adviser to Congress. House and Senate Democrats immediately vowed to try to extract repayment of the $44,000 that the administration spent for the three videos, two in English and one in Spanish.

Administration officials insisted they had not erred with the videos, and they predicted the GAO findings would have no effect on their efforts to implement the Medicare changes -- or on public opinion. "That's an opinion of the GAO. We don't agree," said Bill Pierce, an HHS spokesman.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, called the videos "another example of how this White House has misrepresented its Medicare plan."
(via Minneapolis Star Tribune)

No, Senator. It's another example of how Republicans break the law with impunity.

corrente SBL - New Location
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The Washington Chestnut
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