House Passes Measure Targeting Covert PR

Jun 30, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The House of Representatives approved an amendment Thursday by Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., to bar federal agencies from hiring media representatives, public relations firms and other contractors to covertly promote “publicity or propaganda.”

In a statement, Rep. Hinchey said the measure, included in a major appropriations bill, is intended to end efforts by the White House and other government agencies to secretly commission favorable reports on administration causes and then pass those off as legitimate news.

Renewed concerns about the practice were spurred last year when it was widely reported that the Department of Education had paid conservative commentator Armstrong Williams $241,000 to promote President Bush’s education policy.