The essay Gallagher drafted appeared under Horn's byline -- with the headline "Closing the Marriage Gap" -- and ran in Crisis magazine, which promotes humanism rooted in Catholic Church teachings. Horn said most of the brochures written by Gallagher -- such as "The Top Ten Reasons Marriage Matters" -- were not used as the program evolved.
"I don't see any comparison between what has been alleged with Armstrong Williams and what we did with Maggie Gallagher," said Horn, who founded the National Fatherhood Initiative before entering government. "We didn't pay her to write columns. We didn't pay her to promote the president's healthy marriage initiative at all. What we wanted to do was use her expertise." The Education Department is now investigating the Williams contract.
The author of three books on marriage, Gallagher is president of the Washington-based Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, a frequent television guest and has written on the subject for such publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Weekly Standard.
While she was being paid by HHS in 2002, Gallagher in her syndicated column dismissed the arguments against "President Bush's modest marriage initiative" as "nonsense," writing: "Bush plans to use a tiny fraction of surplus welfare dollars to fund marriage education services for at-risk couples."
In a column later that year that appeared in the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Sun News, Gallagher said Bush's welfare-revision bill would, among other things, encourage "stable marriages," and that it was a "scandal" for Democrats to reject the president's plan and fail to offer an alternative.
National Review Editor Rich Lowry said of the HHS contract: "We would have preferred that she told us, and we would have disclosed it in her bio."
Tribune Media Services dropped Williams's column after his administration contract was disclosed. Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes Gallagher's column, plans no such action.
"We did not know about the contract," spokeswoman Kathie Kerr said. "We would have probably liked to have known." But, Kerr said, "this is what we hired Maggie to write about. It probably wouldn't have changed our mind to distribute it."