Pubdate: Thu, 11 Jul 2002
Source: Advertising Age (US)
Copyright: 2002 Crain Communications Inc.
Author: Ira Teinowitz
Bookmark: (ONDCP Media Campaign)


Demands 40% Cut In White House Anti-Drug Ad Budget

WASHINGTON -- Reacting with anger to WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather 
Worldwide's win of the White House drug office account, as well as to a 
report saying the office's ad program hasn't shown success, a Senate 
appropriations committee panel today moved to cut the anti-drug program's 
budget by more than 40%.

"I have great heartburn that [the White House Office of National Drug 
Control Policy] hired Ogilvy & Mather," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D- N.D..

The senator held up a General Accounting Office report on Ogilvy's initial 
billings for the account as well as a letter from a former drug office 
official claiming that Ogilvy's time cards were changed after an executive 
complained about a lack of billings on the account.

Other Possible Steps

Sen. Dorgan accused the drug office of setting the contract's 
specifications to downplay past performance and said he is examining other 
possible steps the Senate could take in regard to the Ogilvy contract and 
may add them to the appropriations bill. The full committee is slated to 
take action on the appropriations measure July 16.

The panel's action would cut the appropriations for the whole anti- drug ad 
program to $100 million from the $180 million requested by President Bush. 
The House Appropriations Committee had also cut the request, but to $170 
million. Eventually a House-Senate Conference Committee will resolve any 
differences between the measures.

Blasted Ogilvy

Sen. Dorgan repeatedly blasted Ogilvy, the drug office and the U.S. Navy, 
which oversaw the contracting process that awarded the account to Ogilvy.

"This is a company that knowingly and willingly filed fraudulent billing 
invoices," he said of Ogilvy. "I would not have selected them. I'm more 
than a little steamed about this."

Ogilvy earlier paid for $1.8 million to settle accusations that it 
overbilled the government on the account, and the White House drug office 
has defended the government's decision last week to retain Ogilvy after a 
review that included Ogilvy and other agencies.
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