By: E&P Staff
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has become the latest newspaper to ban a conservative columnist from its opinion pages in a widening payola scandal.
In an editorial today, the paper said it would no longer print the prose of Doug Bandow, the former Cato Institute scholar who admitted last week that he had accepted payments from indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff for writing articles favorable to his clients.
Bandow resigned from the libertarian Cato Institute after the revelations and was suspended by Copley News Service, the syndicate that distributed his work to newspapers across the country.
The Tribune-Review editorial, titled “Doug Bandow, paid shill,” stated flatly that ?the prose of Doug Bandow never will appear on these pages again.?
The editorial went on to say that Bandow’s undisclosed pay-for-play was “sickening.”
“Bandow, on Abramoff’s dime, wrote on a wide variety of subjects, from advancing the cause of two Indian tribes, to urging that lawyers not be allowed to profit from the legal issues surrounding the fuel additive MTBE, to arguing for tort reform in promotion of business-friendly ways,” the editorial stated.
“We happen to agree with many of the positions Bandow took. But, in these cases, his words were not those of an independent scholar but of a paid shill who did not reveal that fact. Doug Bandow sold his scholarship and sold out his credibility.”
On Monday, The Manchester Union Leader and the Washington Times both said that they would no longer publish opinion pieces by Peter Ferrara, another conservative commentator who has admitted taking money from Abramoff. Ferrara was a senior policy adviser at the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation, and had a high profile in the recent Social Security debate.
Abramoff, a former high-powered lobbyist with close ties to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and several other members of Congress, is at the center of an ongoing criminal corruption investigation.