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HHS Says It Paid Columnist For Help

By Jim Drinkard and Mark Memmott, USA TODAY The Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged Thursday that it paid a syndicated columnist at
By Jim Drinkard and Mark Memmott, USA TODAY
The Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged Thursday that it paid a syndicated columnist at least $4,000 for work on behalf of Bush administration efforts to promote marriage. On Thursday, a third example surfaced. Mike McManus, who writes a weekly column syndicated in 30 to 40 newspapers, said he was paid about $4,000 to train marriage mentors in 2003 and 2004. McManus was subcontracted by the Lewin Group, which had a contract to support community-based programs "to form and sustain healthy marriages." McManus' non-profit group, Marriage Savers, also is being paid $49,000 by a group that received a Health and Human Services grant to teach similar principles to unwed couples who are having children.

Since the consulting deals began in January 2003, McManus has touted Bush's marriage initiative in several of his columns. At least three of them quoted Horn, a former member of the Marriage Savers board of directors. Horn's office manages the grant and contract under which McManus' group is paid.

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