HHS Cancels $15M Celebrity COVID Ad Campaign

Politico reports:

The Health and Human Services department has scrapped a planned ad campaign featuring celebrities discussing Covid-19, a senior HHS official told a congressional oversight panel in a letter shared with POLITICO.

The abandoned $15 million contract with Atlas Research, part of a larger $300 million taxpayer-funded campaign aimed at “defeating despair” over the pandemic, was conceived by a close political ally of President Donald Trump this summer.

It was met with outrage from Democratic lawmakers, who charged it was an attempt to boost lagging public opinion of Trump’s coronavirus response ahead of the election. Michael Caputo, who was installed by Trump as the health department’s top spokesperson in April, pushed to air the advertisements before Election Day.