An example of government waste and bad planning—the exorbitantly expensive Gallup Organization contract with the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)—is finally coming under a long-overdue review.

At a time when language service after language service of Voice of America, this country’s primary public diplomacy tool, is under threat of being shut down for lack of funding, the BBG incomprehensibly in December awarded Gallup a contract worth $50 million over five years for audience research.

This is a huge contract for an agency whose budget is already under strain. Transparency in government dictates that the circumstances under which it was signed come under severe scrutiny and the parties involved held to account.

Spurred by a lawsuit by the Department of Justice against Gallup for filing false claims, BBG member Victor Ashe has demanded that the BBG contract be suspended. Ashe is the board’s most outspoken member in favor of government accountability. He is responsible for, among other things, the idea of broadcasting BBG meetings on the agency’s website.

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