Well it’s official. The Justice Department has reached a settlement with conservative commentator Armstrong Williams according to the Washington Times, closing a yearlong investigation into his promotion of Bush administration education reforms.
According to the settlement papers, Williams is not guilty of any criminal violations, but must repay a portion of his fee to the federal government. According to the documents, Williams will have to pay $34,000 to settle the case.
"It’s a complete and absolute vindication for me as far as my involvement in this. I did not break the law," Williams said, according to the Times.
Williams was criticized last year after it was discovered that he was enlisted by the Education Department to promote the No Child Left Behind Act. House Democrats and Republicans denounced the public relations deal as an illegal propaganda campaign using taxpayers’ dollars.
Williams’ contract with Ketchum required that he create two television and two radio advertisements touting the success of No Child Left Behind, which settlement papers state he performed. It also called for Williams to "actively promote" the law to minorities as part of a six-month outreach program, but he said he refused to honor that portion of the contract.
"If I had done that, it would have been unethical and illegal," he said. "So basically, I have to pay them $34,000 back for not breaking the law."
Williams’ actions damaged the reputations of many journalists because the public viewed many of the people used to promote the education law as journalists, not as opinion writers and pundits on television and radio talk shows.
"The one thing I do regret, and I have always said this, is not disclosing this contract and my duties to my media clients who run my columns and broadcast commentaries," Williams told the Times.
Like the Black pastors who used their pulpits to steer votes to President Bush, Armstrong Williams sold Black people out to make a quick buck, but I guess you could say at least he got paid, the pastor’s didn’t and boy are they pissed.
$34,000 is a slap on the wrist and is probably the result of Williams various relationships with the powers that be. If it were up to me, he’d be under the jail. Fine my ass. What he was unethical and he deserves to pay a lot more than $34,000 for his crime.