U.S. Department of Education
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." 
- Margaret Spellings, Secretary
- David L. Dunn, Acting Under Secretary of Education
- Anne Radice, Chief of Staff
- Susan Sclafani, Counselor to the Secretary
- Philip Link, Executive Secretariat Director
- Edward R. McPherson of Texas was nominated (February 26, 2004) by President George W. Bush to be Under Secretary of Education, vice Eugene W. Hickok
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.  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."
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"): 
- Oquirrh Institute and the National Council on Teacher Quality - $677,318
- Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options - $900,000
- Black Alliance for Educational Options - $1,500,000
- Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation - $745,000
- National Council of Negro Women - $864,234
- Corporation for Educational Radio and Television - $20,000
- Cuban American National Council - $631,775
- Education Testing Service and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide - $161,295
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"): 
- Westat, Inc., & Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide - $170,000
- North American Precis - $2,650
- ABC Radio Networks - $40,000
- Flare Inc. of Metropolitan Washington - $3,000
- Corporate Sports Marketing Group - $46,000
- ZGS Communications - $2,004,240
- RedGizmo Creative Studio - $950
- Daniel J. Blanc - $11,430
- Joseph Yeh - $10,500
- George Washington University - $1,928,058
- Radio One, Inc. - $10,000
- Bauhaus Media Group, Inc. - $27,014
- Ketchum, Inc. - $8,500
- Hager Sharp, Inc. - $1,832,269
- Research Triangle Institute, SA - $894,534
- Campbell-AIR Joint Venture - $2,000,000
- American Institutes for Research - $287,189
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
Fax: (202) 401-0689
- Armstrong Williams
- Bush administration
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- No Child Left Behind Act
- U.S. Government PR Contracts
- Video news releases
Government reports into PR contracts
- Department of Education Office of Inspector General, "Review of Department Identified Contracts and Grants for Public Relations Services" (ED-OIG / I13F0012), issued September 1, 2005; available in MS Word (432K) and PDF (214K) formats.
- Anthony H. Gamboa (General Counsel), "Letter to Frank R. Lautenberg and Edward M. Kennedy Subject: Department o Education—Contract to Obtain Services of Armstrong Williams", Government Accounting Office, September 30, 2005.
- Anthony H. Gamboa (General Counsel), "Subject: Department of Education—No Child Left Behind Act Video News Release and Media Analysis", Government Accounting Office, September 30, 2005.
- Gary L. Kepplinger, "Letter to Mr. Kent Talbert Deputy General Counsel Department of Education Subject: Department o Education—No Child Left Behind Newspaper Article", Government Accounting Office, September 30, 2005.
- Gary L. Kepplinger, General Counsel, Government Accounting Office, "B-307917, Department of Education--No Child Left Behind Newspaper Article Entitled 'Parents Want Science Classes That Make the Grade'," Letter to Kent Talbert, General Counsel, Department of Education, July 6, 2006.
- The Right-Wing Affiliations of Bush Administration Officials in the Department of Education, People for the American Way.
- Thomas Lang and Zachary Roth, "Video News Releases - They're Everywhere!", CJR Campaign Desk, October 13, 2004. (This article reports on the No Child Left behind VNR).
- People for the American Way,"Department of Education Funds Propaganda", Media Release, November 10, 2004.
- Greg Toppo, "Education Dept. paid commentator to promote law", USA Today, January 7, 2005. (Also archived on Common Dreams website).
- Greg Toppo, "Report: Education Dept. funds need monitoring", USA Today, September 3, 2005.
- "Dept. of Education Releases Report on Payola Controversy", Editor & Publisher, September 06, 2005.
- G. Robert Hillman, "Department of Education financed opinion columns", San Jose Mercury, September 6, 2005.
- News release from the office of U.S. Representative George Miller (D-Ca.), "Department of Education Pays For Op-Eds, Ads That Promote Bush Policies, Do Not Reveal Federal Government as Funding Source," September 6, 2005.
- Greg Toppo, "Report: Education Dept.'s PR funds need oversight", USA Today, September 9, 2005.
- Corey Murray, "Critics Blast ED's 'Propaganda' Probe", Media Channel, September 21, 2005.
- Nancy Benac, "GAO: Education Department Broke Rules", Washington Post, September 30, 2005. (This is an Associated Press story).
- Scott Elliott, "Paige regrets contract with talk show host", Dayton Daily News, October 11, 2005.
- Greg Toppo, "Pundit Armstrong Williams settles case over promoting education reforms", USA TODAY, October 20, 2006.