November 20, 2006
By Robert Townsend
The Smithsonian Institution is trying to sweep its secret contract with Showtime under a Congressional rug, according to Carl Malamud at the Center for American Progress. Malamud reports that “Smithsonian lobbyists are trying to paper over their exclusive 30-year sellout to Showtime, saying that the contract has posed no problems and nobody seems to be upset about it anymore.”
Writing on behalf of the Association, President Linda Kerber questioned the closed and secretive nature of the arrangement with Showtime back in May. Though there was a Congressional hearing, and the Smithsonian was punished by having funds deleted from its budget, the issue largely disappeared from public view. Staff at the Smithsonian even managed to get the record from the one Congressional hearing on the issue removed from the Government Printing Office website, because it included some text from the contract. (Thanks to Carl Malamud the text is still available here.)
Anyone interested keeping the pressure on Smithsonian to live up to its obligations as a public institution is encouraged to sign onto a letter to members of Congress, prepared by Malamud and the Center before November 25.