Post By RelatedRelated Post
You may not have seen the show “Diary of a Single Mom” co-starring Monica Calhoun and Billy Dee Williams, but your tax dollars helped pay for it.
Through the federal economic stimulus program, a company owned by actor-director Robert Townsend was paid more than $230,000 to produce and direct the Web-based show, records show. Other production costs on the show paid to different vendors total more than $700,000.
The money came through an award by the Department of Commerce to One Economy Corp. for more than $28 million last year to help boost broadband Internet service in underserved areas across the country.
One Economy is using more than $1.5 million of that money to create programming such as “Diary of a Single Mom,” which the group says will help provide an incentive for people to connect to the Internet.
But taxpayer watchdogs say the government doesn’t belong in show business.
“The point of broadband was to create access and create the infrastructure for communities that do not have access,” said Ryan Alexander, president of the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Creating content wouldn’t be what people in Congress thought of when voting on this.”
Even if the show is well-liked and delivers a good message, she said, the question is whether it could have happened without stimulus money. “Certainly, Robert Townsend is successful,” Ms. Alexander said. “Not that successful people shouldn’t be working; they should be. But they have access to capital.”