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US Attorney Investigates Anti-Gay White House Shill


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US Attorney Investigates Anti-Gay White House Shill

by Paul Johnson 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief

Posted: October 18, 2005 12:01 am ET

(Washington) The US Attorney's office has begun an inquiry into the use by the Bush administration of anti-gay commentator Armstrong Williams to promote its so-called marriage initiative.

The probe was launched following a request from the Education Department after months of pressure by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)

The Government Accountability Office has concluded that the Education Department engaged in illegal "covert propaganda" by hiring Williams to promote the No Child Left Behind Act without requiring him to disclose that he was being paid. The Education Department's inspector general also reviewed the Williams deal.

Earlier this year 3675Gay.com reported that Williams (pictured) was paid nearly a quarter million dollars by the White House to promote the President's agenda in his columns and nationally syndicated talk show. (story)

Williams is a former aide to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In a column following the November 2 election Williams linked gay rights advocates with organized crime.

"Despite the rhetoric that you hear from the homosexual Cosa Nostra, the lack of support for the gay marriage amendment has nothing to do with prejudice," he wrote.

"It's not about trying to dictate to adults what they should do in the privacy of their own homes. Let's be clear about that. Opposition to the gay marriage amendment isn't about disallowing homosexuals the same basic rights we extend to everyone else. It is about recognizing that marriage between man and woman is the bedrock of our society. It is about the citizens of this country saying, en masse, that they are unwilling to deconstruct certain basic and essential norms in our culture and society."

After Williams was exposed the White House pulled the plug on the operation, but sources close to the investigation say that Williams did not return any of the money, nor did the administration request it.

The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia is investigating whether Williams accepted public money without performing his required duties. The attorney's office has a range of potential remedies, from suing to recover the money to possible criminal charges,

"The inspector general wouldn't refer this to the U.S. attorney unless there was evidence of misconduct that requires further investigating," Dan Katz, Lautenberg's chief counsel, told the Associated Press.

After Williams was exposed two other cases came to light where the administration hired journalists to promote its agenda in the guise of unbiased commentary and news.

Syndicated conservative columnists Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus were paid by the administration to promote the marriage initiative.

In 2003 Gallagher testified before a Senate subcommittee in support of a constitutional ban on gay marriage but failed to mention she was on the White House payroll. (story)

McManus, whose syndicated column, "Ethics & Religion," appeared in 50 newspapers, was hired as a subcontractor by the Department of Health and Human Services.

©365Gay.com 2005

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