The Washington Times is in dire financial trouble and is frequently critical of the Obama administration's foreign policy. For reasons that may or may not be related to one or both of these things, the conservative Beltway newspaper owes the U.S. State Department $15,927.32 in unpaid debt, Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin has reported. The Washington Times, which is owned by the self-proclaimed messiah Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, incurred the debt during four reporting trips with the State Department to eight different countries. In such trips, the State Department typically makes all travel arrangements and then bills the publication for things like meals and airfare.
The State Department officials who leaked the story to Rogin were keen to point out the "irony" in the Washington Times' inability to pay the bills. Rogin writes:
Washington Times editor-in-chief Sam Dealey told Rogin, "I'm the editor, not the accountant, and our story on Jack Lew's million-dollar taxpayer-funded bonus from Citibank speaks for itself." Dealey refused to comment on the outstanding debt.
A State Department official told The Cable that State sees a huge irony to the unpaid bills, given that the Times has been publishing a series of articles criticizing Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew for his actions regarding disclosure of a $1 million bonus he received from his former employer Citigroup shortly before joining the administration.
One article was devoted to a typographical error Lew made on an ethics form regarding his departure date from Citigroup.
"Maybe before getting sanctimonious about the finances of a public servant of the very highest caliber, they should pay their own substantial debt to the American taxpayer," a State Department official said of the Times.