Columnist Armstrong Williams has reached a settlement with prosecutors regarding payments he received from the Education Department to promote President Bush's agenda.By "future occurrences of this type," McLane is referring to the Bush administration using taxpayer dollars to covertly pay columnists to write articles praising its policies.
Under the agreement, Williams admits no wrongdoing but will have to pay $34,000. The deal was reached last week by Williams, the Education Department and its subcontractor, Ketchum Communications.
"The department is happy to see this matter come to a close," Katherine McLane, a spokeswoman for Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, said Sunday. "One of the first steps Secretary Spellings took when she came to office is to establish guidelines to prevent future occurrences of this type of situation."
By the way, the $34,000 that Williams is repaying isn't a penalty per se; it is the amount that prosecutors determined he was overpaid by the Department of Education.