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Does Covert Government Information = Propaganda?

According to USA Today, ‘Federal investigators probing the Education Department’s public relations contracts have found a pattern of deals in which advocacy organizations received grants totaling nearly $4.7 million to promote Bush administration education priorities in newspaper columns and brochures, but didn’t disclose that they received taxpayer funds, as required by law. The department’s inspector general says he detected no “covert propaganda,” but he told administration officials to consider asking for some of their money back.’

The report is evidently this one:

From the Report:

We have concluded that none of the grants resulted in covert propaganda under the existing guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice (OLC) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

From the USA Today article:

“The Department of Education is trying to define itself out of trouble by setting the bar very high for what constitutes covert propaganda,” said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who requested the probe.

“But this report shows that, in case after case after case, grantees — without disclosing who was paying them — took taxpayers’ money and used it to promote controversial policies,” Miller said. “Either the department is grossly incompetent when it comes to awarding grants and contracts, or it is misleading investigators and engaging in a coverup of the misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

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