During Oil Spill, White House Paid NOLA Media Consultant $18,000, AP Reports

deepwater horizon well

Vessels assisting in the drilling of the Deepwater Horizon relief well float at sunset on the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010. Patrick Semansky/Associated Press hide caption

itoggle caption Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Reporters for the Associated Press sifted through hundreds of government contracts inked during the Gulf Coast oil spill, which total some $142 million. That is "a fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars [the Obama administration] has spent so far," the wire service says.

According to the AP, "the federal government hired a New Orleans man for $18,000 to appraise whether news stories about its actions in the Gulf oil spill were positive or negative for the Obama administration, which was keenly sensitive to comparisons between its response and former President George W. Bush's much-maligned reaction to Hurricane Katrina."

The government also spent $10,000 for just over three minutes of video showing a routine offshore rig inspection for news organizations but couldn't say whether any ran the footage. And it awarded a $216,625 no-bid contract for a survey of seabirds to an environmental group that has criticized what it calls the "extreme anti-conservation record" of Sarah Palin, a possible 2012 rival to President Barack Obama.

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