The GAO accuses the Bush administration of, once again, distributing illegal propaganda.
The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, said on Thursday that the Bush administration violated federal law by producing and distributing television news segments about the effects of drug use among young people.
The accountability office said the videos “constitute covert propaganda” because the government was not identified as the source of the materials, which were distributed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. They were broadcast by nearly 300 television stations and reached 22 million households, the office said.
In May the office found that the Bush administration had violated the same law by producing television news segments that portrayed the new Medicare law as a boon to the elderly.
The accountability office was not critical of the content of the video segments from the White House drug office, but found that the format – a made-for-television “story package” – violated the prohibition on using taxpayer money for propaganda.
Federal law prohibits the use of federal money for “publicity or propaganda purposes” not authorized by Congress. The accountability office has found that federal agencies violated this restriction when they distributed editorials and newspaper articles written by government officials without identifying them.
The accountability office said the administration’s misuse of federal money “also constitutes a violation of the Antideficiency Act,” which prohibits spending in excess of appropriations.