(The following article by Jake Tapper appeared on ABC News, September 22.)  

After 'Inappropriate' NEA Conference Call, White House Pushes New Guidelines

An August 10, 2009 National Endowment for the Arts conference call in which artists were asked to help support President Obama's agenda — a call that at least one good government group called "inappropriate" — has prompted the White House to issue new guidelines to prevent such a call from ever happening again.

"The point of the call was to encourage voluntary participation in a national service initiative by the arts community," White House spokesman Bill Burton told ABC News. "To the extent there was any misunderstanding about what the NEA may do to support the national service initiative, we will correct it.   We regret any comments on the call that may have been misunderstood or troubled other participants.  We are fully committed to the NEA's historic mission, and we will take all steps necessary to ensure that there is no further cause for questions or concerns about that commitment." 

In the call, Yosi Sergant, then the NEA's communications director, seemed to encourage the listeners to create art to further the president's goals by promoting the United We Serve campaign and create art specific to areas of health care, education and the environment. 

"I would encourage you to pick something, whether it’s health care, education, the environment, you know, there’s four key areas that the corporation has identified as the areas of service," Sergant said on the call.

Buffy Wicks, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, was also on the call, and thanked the artists "for being on the call and just a deep deep appreciation for all the work you all put into the campaign for the two-plus years we all worked together.”

(Read more)

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/09/after-inappropriate-nea-conference-call-white-house-pushes-new-guidelines.html

(The following article by Ben Shapiro appeared on BigHollywood.Breitbart.com.)

At Least 6 Federal Laws and Regulations Violated By the NEA Conference Call

Yesterday, I posted about the NEA conference call’s clear and obvious violations of the Anti-Lobbying Act (19 U.S. Code §1913), which explicitly provides: “No part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall, in the absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation, whether before or after the introduction of any bill, measure or resolution proposing such legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriation …”  The Anti-Lobbying Act, according to government handbooks, prevents government employees from engaging in “substantial ‘grass roots’ lobbying campaigns … expressly urging individuals to contact government officials in support of or opposition to legislation …. Provid[ing] administrative support for lobbing activities of private organizations …”  

Violation of this law, in turn, violates 31 U.S. Code §1352, which, if read broadly, bans the use of federal funds for lobbying by the recipients: “funds appropriated by any Act [may not be] expended by the recipient of a Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement to pay any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with any Federal action …”

(Read more)

http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/bshapiro/2009/09/22/at-least-6-federal-laws-and-regulations-violated-by-the-nea-conference-call/ 

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