Common Dreams NewsCenter

We Can't Do It Without You!

Home | About Us | Donate | Signup | Archives | Search

Home > Progressive Community > NewsWire > For Immediate Release
Printer Friendly Version E-Mail This Article
Marijuana Policy Project
MARCH 11, 2004
3:20 PM
CONTACT: Marijuana Policy Project 
Bruce Mirken 202-543-7972 or 415-668-6403
White House Gets Permission to Lie

WASHINGTON - March 11 - Responding to a request by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the General Accounting Office (ONDCP), the investigative arm of Congress, yesterday gave the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy unfettered permission to mislead the public in the name of opposing "drug legalization."

In the run-up to the November 2002 elections, ONDCP campaigned aggressively against state ballot measures to reform marijuana laws and other anti-drug policies. Part of this effort was a letter to local prosecutors from ONDCP Deputy Director Scott Burns, which made a number of statements considered misleading by experts, including the claims that "marijuana and violence are linked" and "no credible research suggests" that marijuana has medical uses.

In an April 2, 2003, letter, which is available on-line at , Paul asked the GAO to investigate whether the Burns letter violated the ban on use of taxpayer funds for "publicity and propaganda" as well as the longstanding GAO position that "the government should not disseminate misleading information."

In its March 10 response to Paul, the GAO declared, in essence, that the truth or falsity of ONDCP's statements is irrelevant. "ONDCP is specifically charged with the responsibility for `taking such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use' of certain controlled substances such as marijuana," wrote GAO General Counsel Anthony Gamboa. "Given this role, we do not see a need to examine the accuracy of the Deputy Director's individual statements in detail." GAO's response:

The declaration appears to contradict prior GAO actions. In 1976, for example, the GAO ruled that a pamphlet about nuclear energy was "not a proper document for release to the public" because of its misleading and one-sided statements.

"Amazingly, the GAO has ruled that the truth simply doesn't matter in the so-called `War on Drugs,'" said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "This is even more shocking than the simultaneous GAO ruling on the administration's Medicare ads. In that case they suggested the ads were perhaps in a gray zone, but here they are saying that accuracy is irrelevant and lying is not a problem. We believe the American public expects better from their government."


Printer Friendly Version E-Mail This Article
Common Dreams NewsCenter is a non-profit news service
providing breaking news and views for the Progressive Community.

The press release posted here has been provided to Common Dreams NewsWire by one of the many progressive organizations who make up America's Progressive Community. If you wish to comment on this press release or would like more information, please contact the organization directly.
*all times Eastern US (GMT-5:00)

Making News?
Read our Guidelines for Submitting News Releases is an Internet-based progressive news and grassroots activism organization, founded in 1997.
We are a nonprofit, progressive, independent and nonpartisan organization.

Home | About Us | Donate | Signup | Archives | Search

To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.