Another direct link to White House on NEA propaganda scandal

posted at 8:50 am on October 31, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Kalpen Modi, the star of the Harold and Kumar Go To movies and the TV series House, made a big splash when he put aside his Hollywood career to take a White House position as “director of public engagement,” which everyone assumed would be more or less a liaison to Hollywood as an adjunct social secretary.  Unfortunately for Modi, he apparently didn’t stick to those duties.  According to new documents released as part of a FOIA request, Modi helped plan the notorious NEA call conducted by Yosi Sergant that attempted to link NEA grants with support for the Obama agenda, another direct link to the White House in the scandal:

Former actor and present White House associate director of public engagement Kalpen Modi was directly involved in planning the controversial conference call hosted by a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) flack to encourage tax-supported artists to create propaganda for President Obama, according to emails obtained by Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The emails reveal that Modi worked with now-former NEA national communications director Yosif Sargant in planning the August 10 conference call that was first revealed by Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood.com web site. Participants in the conference call were encouraged to use their talents to generate public support for the Obama agenda in Congress.

Mark Tapscott and Jammie Wearing Fool highlight some of the e-mails between Modi and Sergant, showing the close participation of the White House in the propaganda effort:

–August 10, 2009, 10:23 am: Email from Yosi Sergant to Kalpen Modi: “[The call is] organized by me…I’d ask you to come on and give the exact spiel you gave on Saturday. Walk them through the WH Arts Policy. They won’t know it. Then I will take them into United We Serve and the NEA.”

–August 10, 2009, 10:29 am: Email from Kalpen Modi to Yosi Sergant: “Oy. This would be awesome to be a part of. Let me know if you think it’s going long, or maybe I can get someone from here to do it if I can’t because of the Social Security mtg.”

–August 10, 2009, 11:04 am: Email from Kalpen Modi to Yosi Sergant: “Let me see if we can move Social Sec by a few mins. Agreed, it would be great to be on the call and helpful for us also.”

–August 10, 2009, 1:37 pm: Email from Yosi Sergant to Buffy Wicks, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement: “We have an important call at 2pm for UWS (United We Serve) and the Arts with my peeps. Indie producers around the country. Kal can’t join the call. Any chance you can hop on for 5 minutes and intro with Nellie and I?”

We had already known of the involvement of Buffy Wicks, who was the first White House staffer implicated in the attempt to use taxpayer money to create propaganda for Barack Obama in the arts community.  This shows that Wicks’ involvement was a last-minute change in the program.  Wicks works for Modi, who helped stage the call but couldn’t join because of a scheduling conflict.  This moves the White House involvement up the ladder a bit.

Will the national media take an interest in this story now that it involves a former Hollywood star?  Probably not.  This is the same media, after all, that took no interest in the Clinton administration railroading its Travel Office employees with false criminal charges, or in getting hundreds of raw-data FBI files on their political opponents.  Having this White House use NEA grants to turn recipients into low-rent Leni Riefenstahls probably won’t generate much interest.  If we only had a real Congress to look after the use of taxpayer money by this administration, then we might have something … (via Instapundit)


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