Education A Washington Roundup

Williams to Repay $34,000 in PR Probe

By Andrew Trotter — October 30, 2006 1 min read
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Conservative commentator Armstrong Williams has agreed to pay $34,000 to the federal government to settle civil charges that he did not meet his obligations to produce radio and television advertisements for the Department of Education.

Mr. Armstrong was hired in 2003 by the Washington office of Ketchum Inc., a public relations firm, which had a one-year contract with the department to provide services to promote the No Child Left Behind Act.

As a subcontractor, Mr. Armstrong promoted the federal education law through his syndicated TV show and newspaper columns and was paid $240,000. He did not reveal his relationship with the Education Department to his audiences, which led to controversy when the arrangement became public in early 2005.

In the Oct. 18 settlement with the Department of Justice and the Education Department, Mr. Williams agreed to pay $90,000 to settle civil claims brought by the government under the False Claims Act. That amount was partially offset by the federal government’s agreement to pay Ketchum $56,000 for invoices and expenses due to Mr. Williams.

Under the agreement, Mr. Williams and his companies, Washington-based Graham Williams Group Inc. and Right Side Productions Inc., admitted no wrongdoing or violation of law.

A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 2006 edition of Education Week

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