Monday, January 10, 2005

White House: Keep your yap shut

The White House said Monday that the case of the Education Department paying a conservative commentator to plug its policies was an isolated incident, not a practice widely used by the Bush administration.

With the Education Department still defending its $240,000 contract with syndicated columnist and TV personality Armstrong Williams, White House spokesman Scott McClellan was cautious in choosing his comments.

"Questions have been raised about that arrangement, it ought to be looked into, and there are ways to look into matters of that nature," McClellan said. The spokesman did not say precisely who should look into it, and stopped short of backing an inquiry by the department's inspector-general, as some lawmakers have sought. He noted that department lawyers have taken up the matter.
McClellan said he knew of no other contract in the administration like the one Williams had. He also hinted that Williams shared the blame.

"There are also questions about whether or not this commentator should have been disclosing the information publicly," McClellan said.

McClellan was unwilling to confirm having attempted to order a "Horse's Head of the Month" gift basket set for Williams from Harry & David.


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