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FCC urged to probe commentator's alleged pay-off from Bush administration

[JURIST] Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein [FCC profile] of the Federal Communications Commission [official website] said Thursday that in response to numerous complaints, the agency should investigate the legality of commentator Armstrong Williams' [official website] failure to disclose $240,000 received from the Bush administration to plug the No Child Left Behind Act [official website]. The deal required the production and airing of one-minute advertisements by Education Secretary Rod Paige [official profile] and allowed department officials to appear as studio guests with Williams. Adelstein, a Democrat, stated at the FCC's monthly meeting which was carried live this morning on JURIST, "I certainly hope the FCC will take action and fully investigate whether any laws have been broken...." Williams, a conservative commentator, has defended that the ads, which aired during his syndicated program, specifically stated that they were paid for by the Education Department. Williams has further stated that he "was not engaged in any public relations in the campaign." Conservative FCC Chairman Michael Powell declined to comment on the likelihood of a agency probe. Williams has posted an apology for "bad judgment" on his website. AP has more.

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