This raises a good point for website designers tendering
for Government agency work, will be interesting to see if over time the addition of adsense by the designer could fully fund web design / maintenance so costing the agency / department no cost and if the site is high traffic actually making the web site a profit centre rather than a cost centre
As the PBS website is already moving in this direction could this be a future growth area and if you use some of the Google tools available for site targetting you can see from the amount of traffic that a good guess would give PBS website may well have moved from a cost center to a profit center
I think the fear has always been that they couldn't control the ads and they might take site visitors to "bad" websites, damaging the repuation of the gov agency.
On the other hand, if some of these sites get millions of page views per day, the payout could be substational over the course of a year.
I can see it now. A government agency taking in $10,000 a day from AdSense. After they set up an Appropriation Committee, a Staff of Accountants and a Group of Auditors, at a cost of $12,000 per day, they will only lose $2,000 per day :)
Interesting to see which would be the first country to be banned.
There was talk of the BBC (not government, but publicly funded) putting ads on their site, which is one of the most used in the world (alexa rank: 30), a while back. Don't think anything ever came of it, though.
RFI, the French equivalent of Voice of America or Deutsche Welle, runs ads on its Web pages--including "Ads by Google."
Also, many tourist offices (including some operated as city departments) are engaged in e-commerce and sell advertising on their Web sites. I don't know how many run AdSense ads, but I'd guess that some do.
There was an item in the newspaper today about this being done by the city of Banff, Alberta (Canada). They were running website ads as a revenue source for the city, including ads for a certain group of hotels. City Council terminated the program after competing hoteliers got up in arms about the deal.
I don't see what was unfair about the arrangement from the hotels' point of view. Maybe the Banff media were behind the uproar -- the website actually WAS competing with them for advertising dollars. But anyway you can see that government agencies have to think about a lot more than a single bottom line.
Since many US State governments have no qualms about taking money out of the hands of people who can't afford it (lotteries & gambling) I think using Adsense would be a moral step up for increasing revenues.