Doug Bandow & Peter Ferrara

I am sorry to see that Doug Bandow had to resign from the Cato Institute. Apparently on about 2 dozen occasions, Doug received payments of $2,000 each to write favorable pieces on a topic that a lobbyiest wanted him to write on. My own guess is that Doug didn't write anything that he didn't already believe, though he may have written on topics that he wouldn't have. Someone else who I know, Peter Ferrara also seems to have gotten into similar trouble. Ferrara claims that he does this "all the time." Ferrara's boss says that "I have a sense that there are a lot of people at think tanks who have similar arrangements." Possibly I am sheltered, but, while I am not surprised, I have never heard of this type of payoff happening. Over the years I have even turned down consulting opportunities so as to not allow others to attack me for getting money from groups involved in gun issues. In Doug's case, $48,000 or so dollars must seem a small gain to what it is costing him.

Two U.S. newspapers said on Monday that they would no longer publish opinion pieces by a conservative commentator who has admitted taking payments from lobbyist Jack Abramoff to write op-ed pieces favorable to Abramoff's clients.

The Manchester Union Leader and the Washington Times, which run influential conservative opinion sections, said they did not know that Peter Ferrara took undisclosed payments for his op-ed pieces and did not think the activity was appropriate.

"Anybody who misrepresents or doesn't voluntarily reveal that they are being paid to write the article by an interest obviously has fallen below the standard that we would hold any published author to," said Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley. . . .

UPDATE II: Media misquoted Peter Ferrara

I follow an unqualified policy of not taking money from lobbyists for op-eds, which I established on my own years ago. I rely solely on financing from my foundation employers for financial support.

I am glad to ask people to contribute to my work if they agree with what I have been writing for years now and want to support it. That is what I was referring to in the quote in this regard in the BusinessWeek Online article.

If I were paid by a newspaper or a syndicator to write a regular column, I could not possibly take money from any outside party for that work, as that would betray the newspaper or syndicator employing me. As a free lance writer who submits individual articles to publications, I must honestly follow the disclosure policies of those publications. These are the rules I follow. . . .

Thanks to Tom Giovanetti for pointing this last link out to me.


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. All subsequent who have written on this topic are guilty of passing on misrepresentation without bothering to fact-check. You can view IPI's and Ferrara's statements at www.ipi.org

12/19/2005 9:51 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Thanks for this. The media is incredibly sloppy (or worse), and their statements should be questioned before accepted and passed on. I had not seen this statement by Peter, and I apologize.

12/22/2005 1:32 PM  

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