Doug Bandow's "Lapse of Judgment"


Newshounds already know that longtime libertarian journalist Doug Bandow has been suspended by Copley News Service and has resigned from the Cato Institute since last week's revelation that he had, in the Wash Post's summary, "admitted accepting money from [on-trial lobbyist Jack] Abramoff for writing as many as 24 op-ed articles favorable to some of Abramoff's clients." The payments were not disclosed in any of Bandow's many columns–or to his former employers at Cato.

A spokesman for Copley said, "We want to make sure we have all the facts before we take final action. But it had never been our policy to distribute work paid for by third parties whose role is not disclosed by the columnist." And Cato's communications director said, "Doug acknowledges it was a serious lapse in judgment. This is a think tank that has a lot of integrity, and we are very zealous guardians of the reputation of this think tank. . . . We are secure in the knowledge that our other scholars have not been doing this."

Business Week cracked the story in a piece called "Op-Eds for Sale." They also discovered that Institute for Policy Innovation Social Security wonk Peter Ferrara had been paid by Abramoff in a similar undisclosed fashion. Ferrara–and the head of IPI–maintain there's nothing wrong with the practice.

Over the years, Bandow has written short analyses and occasional feature-length stories for Reason. He mostly wrote about foreign policy for us and he has assured me via personal email that none of his work for us was funded or suggested by Abramoff.