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March 2004
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Fun with Letters

After the incredibly blatant statement by the General Accounting Office that the Drug Czar’s Office was allowed, nay encouraged, to lie (not that we were surprised by the lying part, just the willingness of the GAO to shrug their shoulders over it), I decided that maybe we could use this to our advantage.
So I started with the Associated Press:

Dear Editor:

I wanted to alert you to the recent United States General Accounting Office response to a complaint about the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and their use of false and misleading information.

The complaint from U.S. Representative Ron Paul:
http://www.mpp.org/WarOnDrugCzar/complaints/gao_complaint.html

And the GAO response:
http://www.mpp.org/pdf/GAO_response_0304.pdf

That response included in part:

“Even though the statements may have been controversial, they were made within the context of ONDCP’s statutory responsibilities, which include taking such actions as necessary to oppose efforts to legalize certain controlled substances such as marijuana…

“The Deputy Director’s statements about marijuana are thus within the statutory role assigned to ONDCP. Given this role, we do not see a need to examine the accuracy of the Deputy Director’s individual statements in detail.”

The GAO has specifically noted that the ONDCP is not only allowed to provide misleading or false information but is in fact practically required to do so in order to achieve its mandate.

This philosophy is contrary to the AP Code of Ethics, which includes, in part:

“The good newspaper is fair, accurate, honest, responsible, independent and decent. Truth is its guiding principle.

“It avoids practices that would conflict with the ability to report and present news in a fair, accurate and unbiased manner…

“The newspaper should guard against inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortion through emphasis, omission or technological manipulation.”

Given this conflict between the ONDCP mandate and the AP Code of Ethics, It would seem prudent that the AP pursue a policy of automatically requiring independent verification of any releases coming from the ONDCP, including statements by Director John Walters, and Deputy Directors Andrea Barthwell, Scott Burns, Barry D. Crane, and Mary Ann Solberg.

It is unfortunate that we have a government agency that apparently must provide false information in order to do its job. Fortunately, the AP is not required to disseminate it.

Sincerely,

Pete Guither

Feel free to copy the letter and send it to the media of your choice. Then, while you’re at it, go for the politicians:

Dear Senator …….. …………,

I want to alert you to the recent United States General Accounting Office
response to a complaint about the White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy (ONDCP) and their use of false and misleading information.

The complaint from U.S. Representative Ron Paul:
http://www.mpp.org/WarOnDrugCzar/complaints/gao_complaint.html

And the GAO response:
http://www.mpp.org/pdf/GAO_response_0304.pdf

That response included in part:

“Even though the statements may have been controversial, they were made
within the context of ONDCP’s statutory responsibilities, which include
taking such actions as necessary to oppose efforts to legalize certain
controlled substances such as marijuana…

“The Deputy Director’s statements about marijuana are thus within the
statutory role assigned to ONDCP. Given this role, we do not see a need to
examine the accuracy of the Deputy Director’s individual statements in
detail.”

The GAO has specifically noted that the ONDCP is not only allowed to
provide misleading or false information but is in fact practically
required to do so in order to achieve its mandate.

It is extremely improper for tax money to be used to support an agency
whose purpose appears to be to give false information to the taxpayers.

Congress must step up and change this, either by eliminating the ONDCP, or
by changing the wording of its mandate to require that it provide accurate
information without an overriding agenda.

Sincerely,

Pete Guither

It’s easy and fun! Copy this letter and then put your zip code in the “Write to Congress” box on the left. Two minutes and you’re done.
If you enjoyed doing that, go to MAP and see what other letters you can write.

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