A couple of months ago, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to Earl Devaney — chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board — demanding an investigation into the cost of signs touting the so-called American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
One of those signs at Dulles International Airport cost taxpayers $10,000.
On Monday, the Washington Times reported that the inspector general tasked with investigating those signs — and the language requiring the use of those signs in nine Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs — has returned a report.
PJM reported back on July 5 that language in HUD documentation seemed to require the use of the signs, which Issa and others have termed “propaganda.”
The IG’s report states that while language requiring the use of the signs was removed from agency-wide guidance issued by HUD, the language was still pressuring:
The language used in the published guidance states that it is not a HUD requirement to post signs, [but] the tone and other information (such as examples of sign templates) were clear indicators that posting signs was preferred. Further, an earlier e-mail from the Deputy Press Secretary stated that the posting of signs was highly recommended.
Issa said this is a clear indicator the IG has agreed with his position on the signage and that the language is a “veiled threat.” The language “highly recommended” all but forces contractors to put up the signs, he said:
It’s as close to an order to do it or not get funds as you can get.
Getting the first IG report back is a start, Issa said, but he doesn’t expect any major changes out of this:
It doesn’t change a thing, just gives us an answer, which is more than we get sometimes from the administration. … You know when you’re in the minority and the administration doesn’t have to listen to you, the most that you can really do is try to convince them of the error of their ways. … In this case overtly political, bordering on illegal if not illegal propaganda is behavior we’d like to see changed. The most important thing we’re trying to do is to get the administration’s recognition that what might go on in Chicago and what might go on in the private sector, for that matter, is inappropriate and illegal in the public sector.