Syndicated columnist and Institute for Marriage and Public Policy president Maggie Gallagher received $41,500 from the Bush administration in 2002 and 2003, to promote Bush's $300 million initiative encouraging poor couples to marry. Although Gallagher repeatedly praised the initiative in her columns and during interviews and television appearances, she never mentioned receiving government funds. After being questioned by the Washington Post, Gallagher filed a column saying she "had no special obligation to disclose this information" but would have done so anyway, "if I had remembered." One contract with the Department of Health and Human Services was for conducting briefings, writing brochures and ghostwriting articles for officials. Another with the Justice Department was for writing a report titled "Can Government Strengthen Marriage?" President Bush reacted by ordering his Cabinet secretaries not to hire commentators, saying, "Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet."
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