Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Monday, December 19, 2005

More Payola in the News Biz

I suppose we should be grateful: this time, it's not the government who's paying pundits being. Still, it is disturbing to find out from both Business Week and the NY Times' Paul Krugman that Tom DeLay's good friend Jack Abramoff has been paying off think-tankers at the Cato Institute and elsewhere to spin op-eds that benefit his clients. And once again, there was no disclosure. Cato op-ed writer Doug Bandow, who writes a syndicated column for Copley, took payments of up to $2000 for each of at least 12 and as many as 24 columns promoting Abramoff's clients.

At least he has the good sense to say he made a mistake, as does his boss. What's truly disturbing is the statement by another of Abramoff's beneficiaries, Peter Ferrara (a noted architect of Social Security policy), who is completely shameless: "I do that all the time. I've done that in the past, and I'll do it in the future."

Oh, and Ferrara's boss at the Institute for Policy Innovation, Tom Giovanetti, hasn't figured out the problem either. Giovanetti accuses critics of a "naive purity standard...I have a sense that there are a lot of people at think tanks who have similar arrangements."

Ugly, ugly, ugly.


At 6:24 PM, Blogger Tom Giovanetti said...

The article in BusinessWeek that started this whole thing, upon which all subsequent articles and Paul Krugman's commentary are based, omitted important statements and resulted in a complete misrepresentation. You can view IPI's and Ferrara's statements at

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Shel Horowitz, author, Principled Profit said...

I went to the site and was relieved to see that neither Mr. Giovanetti nor Mr. Ferrara support taking clandestine money from a lobbyist while presenting as an unbiased journalist.

Mr. Giovanetti says, in part,

"Contrary to quotations reported in a recent BusinessWeek Online article, IPI does not condone the practice of columnists or opinion writers failing to disclose financial arrangements with lobbyists.

"With regard to the quotation attributed to me in the BusinessWeek Online article, the quotation was presented without context, and without reference to exceptions, qualifiers, and limitations I expressed. Regardless of the reason, the result is the misleading inference that I see nothing wrong with “pay for play” op/eds, and that I think the practice of think tank policy writers accepting payments from lobbyists is widespread. Neither is true."

I would provide the direct link, but the ipi site uses frames. As I write this, the two rebuttals are accessed from links at the upper right corner of the home age. I would encourage all those interested to read the two rebuttals in full and reach their own conclusions.


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