More US Ad Shops in Government Billing Probe

30 July 2002

In the wake of the anti-drug campaign funding clampdown on Ogilvy & Mather by Congress [WAMN: 26-Jul-02], other ad agencies are being investigated for possible billing irregularities.

With the zeal of a politician intending to make a career out of uncovering advertising skulduggery, Representative Carolyn Kilpatrick (Democrat, Michigan) has nominated herself grand inquisitor of ad shops servicing government contracts.

Currently in Kilpatrick’s sights is Chicago-based Leo Burnett, incumbent on the army’s $95 million (€96.81m; £60.84m) account. “We hope Leo is doing what it should be doing and will not wind up in the same situation as Ogilvy,” said the Congresswoman ominously.

Kilpatrick revealed she was also probing “several” other government contracts which she reused to identify. “As we delve more into this [alleged overbilling], I think we may find it in other places.”

Burnett, meantime, denied any such transgression: “We are completely outraged that such a false accusation would be shared with the Congresswoman. There is absolutely no impropriety going on with the Army contract, and it is reckless for anyone to share such inaccurate information with the Congresswoman.”

Concurrent with Kilpatrick’s investigations Congress, having blocked funds to O&M, is mulling what to do with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy account. “I think the government is in a very strong position to go to another [agency], opined Ogilvy’s chief executioner, Representative Bob Barr (Republican, Georgia), in answer to an ONDCP executive's concern that firing O&M would bring the anti-drug campaign to a grinding halt come November.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff