Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Payola Pundit

Guess who's ass is still in a fairly serious crack?

That's right! It's Armstrong Williams, who collected almost a quarter of a million dollars from the Bushevik Departmentof Education to pimp for the "No Child Left Behind" in his columns and other media appearances. This paragon of conservative virtues--even an occasional stand-in host for Rush Limbaugh when the latter is disporting his cialis-enhanced self with poor Dominican youths--has been under investigation by the Inspector General of the Ed. Dept. since his contract was reported (by USA Today) in 2005.

As Diane Farseta suggested at the other day:

There are many reasons why federal investigations might take some time to conclude. Perhaps the issues are complex. Maybe the parties under investigation are less than forthcoming. The investigating agency may lack the resources needed to resolve the matter in a timely fashion.
On the other hand, a stalled investigation may be part of a
crisis management strategy. When an embarrassing ethical or legal transgression surfaces, launching an investigation sends the message that the matter is being taken seriously. Thanks to a rapid news cycle and a lack of follow-up reporting, public attention shifts elsewhere as the investigation continues. Closing the investigation can be seen as counter-productive, as it once again calls attention to the problem and creates the expectation that the findings will be acted upon.
John Dingell (D-Mich.) may well have been pondering such matters on March 14, when he pointedly asked Federal Communications Commission Chair Kevin Martin about the status of the agency's ongoing Armstrong Williams investigation. The questioning occurred during an FCC oversight hearing, held by a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce...

Dingell: Would you, Mr. Chairman, give us a full report, in writing, as to the status of the investigation of the Federal Communications Commission on this matter? And, I would like, in that matter, to have you inform us what further information you need, what your judgments might be with regard to Mr. Armstrong Williams' settlement with the Department of Education, and how close the FCC is to concluding four major payola investigations in the music industry. Seems like not just the music industry, but very frankly the government engages in a little payola. And we would like to also have a statement as to whether you have adequate resources to address this, and, again, we would like this report in the next 30 days, if you please.

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