|Some administration staffers were not allowed to be interviewed by investigators looking into Armstrong Williams' paid role.|
By Tom Hamburger
Times Staff Writer
April 15, 2005
WASHINGTON — Education Department investigators looking into the administration's controversial hiring of commentator Armstrong Williams were denied the opportunity to interview some White House personnel because of a White House claim that such interviews could breach long-standing legal traditions.
"By statute, an inspector general's jurisdiction is limited," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Thursday. "An IG can request information from other federal agencies but not from the White House office."
She said the White House did allow the investigators to interview one White House employee who had been on loan to the Education Department when Williams was hired. But it has not granted permission for other interviews.
The White House refusal came to light Thursday after Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) said he was told about it by Inspector General Jack Higgins. Miller wrote to the White House asking that investigators have full access to White House personnel so they could get to the bottom of the hiring of Williams.
Williams, a television and newspaper commentator, received $240,000 in federal funds last year to promote the president's No Child Left Behind initiative. Williams did not disclose the payments made to him through a public relations firm hired by the Education Department, even as he appeared on television promoting the president's work....
Gosh, what's this, the White House is blocking an investigation into illegal activities? Who woulda thought that such a thing could happen, the righteous Bush-war Administration interfering with truth, justice and the American way!! Next thing you know, they'll be blocking other investigations. Oh, wait, that's been going on for four years... never mind.