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Free Press Wants Armstrong Prosecutions

Now that the Government Accountability Office has told Congress it believes the Department of Education  contracts with Armstrong Williams were illegal, administration critics Free Press and Center for Media Democracy say they will push members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez for some prosecutions.

"Some heads should role, says Free Press's Craig Aaron, though they would take some fines as well or whatever punishment was appropriate he said.

In a Sept. 30 report to Senators Byron Dorgan and Frank Lautenberg, GAO said that the Department of Education's PR contract with conservative broadcaster Armstrong Williams violated prohibitions on covert propaganda.

But if past is prologue, those heads Free Press wants to see rolling will likely remain in place.

The GAO earlier this year ruled that unattributed packaged video news releases were illegal covert propaganda, but the Justice Department, which would have to investigate and prosecute the crime--"our controlling legal authoirty," as one administration source put it, disagreed with that assessment, saying they were legal so long as they were fact-based.

The same thing could well happen with this GAO finding.