Declares the General Accounting Office. From the Associated Press report as found on MSNBC's site:
The Bush administration?s promotion of the new Medicare law through videos made to look like news reports violated a prohibition against using public money for propaganda, Congress? General Accounting Office said Wednesday.
The materials in English and Spanish were produced by the Health and Human Services Department but did not identify their source. The videos, or parts of them, aired on at least 40 television stations in March, the department said.
The story packages violated the law because the government ?did not identify itself as the source of the news report,? said GAO, Congress? investigative arm.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who sought the GAO inquiry, said President Bush?s re-election campaign should repay the government for the cost of the videos. Lautenberg said he will introduce legislation to force the reimbursement.
?These funds were meant to help our seniors, not the president?s re-election campaign,? he said. HHS has said it spent about $43,000 to produce the materials.
Good luck to Lautenberg. I hope they apply the same legal thinking to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
[Link via Rational Review]