Ogilvy admits improper billing in government ad contract

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Two months after a congressional committee questioned Ogilvy & Mather's labor and management fees for buying White House anti-drug ads, the advertising agency is acknowledging that it has gone to Justice Department officials admitting some of the amount sought was improper.

In an indication of the potential seriousness of the charges first publicized by U.S. Rep. John Mica (R, Fla.) at an early October hearing of the House Government Reform Committee subcommittee he heads, Ogilvy said it had hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to review its billing of the government and approached the Department of Justice and other federal authorities Nov. 29 "so that any questions about the integrity of [the] work and billing process could be promptly resolved."

The ad agency said it initiated the review itself after questions were raised and "is cooperating fully with all government inquiries into its performance and billing."

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Copyright December 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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