Faced with another revelation of another columnist paid to promote administration policies, President George W. Bush told reporters Wednesday that he would tell his cabinet secretaries to end the policy, which, he said, the White House was unaware of.
On the heels of columnist and broadcast commentator Armstrong Williams' concession he had been paid by the Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind policy, The Washington Post reported Wednesday that syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher had been paid $41,000 by the Department of Health and Human Services to promote a Bush pro-marriage initiative.
The President said Williams and DOE had both made mistakes, that his administration's policies could stand "on their own two feet," pledging that the administration would no longer pay columnists to advance its agenda.
California Democratic Rep. George Miller, who has been a lead critic of the Williams pay-for-play deal including calling for a GAO investigation, Wednesday called on the President to "disclose all publicly funded contracts signed with journalists, commentators and public relations firms to promote Administration policies."
Miller Spokesman Tom Kiley called the President's admission "half-hearted," and said it was too long in coming, but also said it would continue to push for full disclosure "to find out how widespread it was."