Via Carpetbagger (formatting mine):
…Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, and other senior Democrats released a new Government Accountability Office report finding that the Bush Administration spent more than $1.6 billion in public relations and media contracts in a two and a half year span. […]
“The extent of the Bush Administration’s propaganda effort is unprecedented and disturbing,” said Rep. Miller. “The fact is that after all the spin, the American people are stuck with high prescription drug prices, high gas prices, and high college costs. This report raises serious questions about this Administration’s priorities for the country and I would hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle would agree that changes need to be made to reign in the President’s propaganda machine.”
That’s $1.6 billion with a b. Let’s do some basic accounting. Armstrong Williams got $240k out of a $1.3m deal with the PR firm Ketchum. When Williams told David Corn, apparently in his own defense, that “There are others‘ he obviously wasn’t kidding.
As Carpetbagger points out, Michael McManus hit up the feds for $10k while Maggie Gallagher picked up $21k and change. At this rate they’d need 1,000 Ketchums, 7,000 Maggie Gallaghers or 16,000 Michael McManuses to blow through that kind of cash. Where’s the money going?
Putting the PR budget in terms McManus units is strictly for comparison’s sake. Obviously I’m not suggesting that every pundit in the western hemisphere takes federal money. What I’d like to know is where does a billion and change go, and whether this is a normal sort of expenditure when the NEA budget, at roughly one one-fifth our PR expenses, drives some conservatives practically to tears.
John IMs me: “Looking at Bush’s poll numbers, [the administration] should ask for a refund.”
The value of federal contracts with public relations agencies has increased significantly over the last four years. In 2000, the last year of the Clinton Administration, the federal government spent $39 million on contracts with major public relations agencies. By 2004, the value of these PR contracts had grown by almost $50 million, an increase of 128%.
All of which raises the simple question: why are Republicans so expensive? We get the same services, more or less, but government costs more when they’re in power. My guess would be their fondness for rewarding friends with larded-up no-bid contracts. We pay once for the lack of competition and then again when the work gets done in a half-assed way (if at all) and has to be re-done later. But of coursse there’s much more than that.