The dimensions of the conservative campaign to destroy Social Security -- and dismantle the New Deal -- are now heaving into view. Determined to achieve the victory that has eluded them for more than 70 years, George W. Bush's aides and allies are building a very big, very ugly propaganda juggernaut.The Social Security Administration is giving $1.8 million PUBLIC TAX dollars to a private P.R. firm in an attempt to try and convince the public that Social Security is a big, bad unneccesary government program!?!?!
Exactly what Bush's minions at the SSA have been up to, aside from writing strategy plans, isn't clear yet. To find out, Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal public interest group, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the SSA last month. Sloan asked for "records of any contacts between the agency and outside public affairs firms," notably including any dealings with Ketchum and Fleishman-Hillard -- the Washington P.R. giants recently implicated in the administration's pundit payola and news management scandals. Public records show that the SSA already has entered into a $1.8 million consulting contract with Fleishman-Hillard.
The Social Security administrators don't seem eager to disclose their public relations spending. So far, Sloan has received no response at all from the SSA officials who handle FOIA requests, although the 20-day legal deadline for an answer has passed. This week she filed suit against the agency in federal district court in Washington, demanding that the appropriate records be turned over to her.
Pardon me, but how the f*ck is this legal? ethical? acceptable? fiscally responsible? sane? What does this administration have to do for the public to recognize that they have (repeatedly and wilfully) violated the public's trust using the public's own money?
Even after all this time, all these years, they never cease to amaze and stupify me.