News monitor, environmental group among those landing contracts

WASHINGTON, DC (AP) - The government is starting to provide details of how it spent money in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill. And some of the contracts that were awarded could provide ammunition for critics of government waste.

The federal government hired a New Orleans man for $18,000 to appraise whether news stories about its response to the spill were positive or negative for the Obama administration.

The government also spent $10,000 for just over three minutes of video showing a routine offshore rig inspection. The video was gathered for news organizations, but there's no word on whether any of it was used.

And a $216,000 no-bid contract for a survey of seabirds was awarded to an environmental group that has criticized what it calls the "extreme anti-conservation record" of Sarah Palin.

But an official from the group, Defenders of Wildlife, says politics played no role in the contract.

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