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Report: Feds Paid $500K to Air Pro-Obama Ads on Maddow, Olberman Shows

"Taxpayers would be a lot happier at the end of the day to see a completed road rather than a bunch of ads on cable television."

The Labor Department paid a public relations firm approximately $500,000 stimulus dollars to run ads praising the Obama administration’s "green training" job efforts on NBC News' (then-MSNBC) "The Rachael Maddow Show" and the now-defunct "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," according to the Washington Times.

Despite the investment, however, it doesn't appear the pricey ad campaign created a single job, the report adds.

The Labor Department paid McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations LLC $495,000 to help raise awareness “among employers and influencers about the [Job Corps] program’s existing and new training initiatives in high growth and environmentally friendly career areas”

“The firm ultimately negotiated ad buys for ‘two approved spots’ airing 14 times per week for two months,” The Washington Times reports, adding that under the section listing the number of jobs created is a big 'ol zero.

Obviously, the fact that the taxpayer-funded investment didn’t create a single job and the fact that the ads ran on two clearly Obama-friendly shows has more than a few people saying the whole thing is "questionable."

“Hiring a PR firm does not create jobs, and this was obviously meant for selling a particular political agenda,” said David Williams, president of the nonprofit watchdog Taxpayers Protection Alliance. “The placement really reeks of a political ad rather than a job ad, and taxpayers see through this."

“Taxpayers would be a lot happier at the end of the day to see a completed road rather than a bunch of ads on cable television,” he added.

Of course, Labor Department officials defend the payout and claim politics played no role the investment.

“[O]fficials said the money was used for outreach efforts to raise awareness among potential employers about the Job Corps’ green training in career areas, including automotive, advanced manufacturing and solar-panel installation,” the Times reports.

Labor Department officials claim their research “showed that advertisements would reach the target demographic of business owners and managers interested in hiring ‘green-trained’ employees through a programming list that initially also included shows hosted by CNN’s Larry King and public television’s Jim Lehrer as well as the two MSNBC programs where the ads eventually appeared.”

Public television was ruled out because it was too costly and officials reasoned they could reach a larger audience with Olberman and Maddow than with King. There is no explanation for why other cable outlets (i.e. Fox, ESPN, etc.) were not considered.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Click here to read the full report.

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