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U.S. Department of Education

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The U.S. Department of Education was established in 1980. The Department "was created by bringing together offices from several other departments. Its original directive remains its mission today -- to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation." [1]

Personnel

From their website: [2] [3]

Public Relations

Documents on PR contracts between the U.S. Department of Education and the Ketchum public relations firm, obtained through a FOIA request from the People for the American Way are available for download here.

Following revelations in early 2005 that conservative pundit Armstrong Williams had received $240,000 in public funds to promote the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education policies, through a Department contract with Ketchum, U.S. Representative George Miller requested a report on the Department's other PR expenditures. [4] U.S. Senators Arlen Specter and Tom Harkin requested similar information.

In response, on September 1, 2005, the Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report titled, "Review of Department Identified Contracts and Grants for Public Relations Services" (ED-OIG / I13F0012, available in MS Word and PDF formats). The report looked at Department PR expenditures in fiscal years 2002 through 2004, to determine whether any "resulted in covert propaganda."

While the OIG report "concluded that none of the grants resulted in covert propaganda," the definition employed and investigative methods used were narrow. For instance, although many instances were documented where Department grantees published opinion pieces praising NCLB and other Department programs without "the disclaimer language required," these lapses were not deemed covert propaganda because no evidence was found that "the Department awarded these grants with an intent to influence public opinion through the undisclosed use of third party grantees." However, OIG relied on limited documentation and interviews with Department officials to determine whether there was an improper "intent to influence."

PR Grantees

The following are identified in the Department's Office of Inspector General September 2005 report as recipients of Department PR funds in fiscal years 2002 through 2004 (Appendix A: Summary of Grants; total costs are approximate because the OIG was "unable to find quantifications for specific product costs"): [5]

PR Contracts

The following are identified in the Department's Office of Inspector General September 2005 report as recipients of Department PR funds in fiscal years 2002 through 2004 (Appendix B: Summary of Contracts; total costs are approximate because the OIG was "unable to find quantifications for specific deliverable costs"): [6]

Contact Information

U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
Phone: 1-800-437-0833
Fax: (202) 401-0689
Web: http://www.ed.gov/index.jhtml

SourceWatch Resources

External links

Government reports into PR contracts

General articles