On Wednesday, the MSM picked up on a story that PJM reported on June 28. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, demanding an investigation into the use of stimulus funds to purchase signage Issa termed “propaganda.”
Issa was particularly incensed by a sign at Dulles International Airport that cost $10,000.
On July 5, PJM reported that Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) was preparing to bring a measure to the floor of the House which would force a vote on cutting funding to all stimulus signs. Schock termed the signs “the height of narcissism.” Schock has already been on Greta Van Susteren’s program touting Eric Cantor’s YouCut program, in which five proposals are posted on the YouCut website each week and the top vote-getter is brought to the House floor in a procedure which forces a vote on whether or not to debate the measure.
ABC News ran the story after Schock indeed forced that vote — which predictably failed. Said Schock:
I’m happy we were able to force a vote on this bill but concerned so many Democrats voted against this measure. I think they will have a tough time explaining this vote to taxpayers. This spending on stimulus signs is so egregious the media can’t help but pay attention.
They even asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about it: Schock and Issa claim the cost of these signs is at least $20 million dollars; Gibbs derisively put the figure at closer to $5 million. Issa sticks to the higher figure, and says that no matter the amount, the money has been wasted. Issa wrote via email Thursday:
The American people are tired of the Obama administration’s attempts to re-sell a broken plan that has never lived up to the original sales pitch — that it would keep unemployment under eight percent. Much like the White House’s fraudulent jobs “saved-or-created” campaign that included phantom congressional districts, people see these signs as a desperate attempt to by the White House to sell an $862 billion program they know isn’t working. Americans want to see jobs and our economy turn around, not tens of millions of dollars wasted on stimulus signs.
The investigation into the total cost of the signage and other parts of how the “stimulus” money is being spent continues. In his original letter to Devaney, Issa called for four questions to be answered:
— A complete accounting of all guidance issued by any federal agency to recipients of stimulus funds, including federal, state, and local agencies, on the posting of signs, logos, or emblems intended to publicly identify the source or expenditure of stimulus funds;
— Whether any federal agency requires, or has required, stimulus recipients to post signs, logos, or emblems identifying the source or expenditure of stimulus funds and whether such agency had statutory authority to do so;
— If any federal agency has relaxed a requirement that recipients post signs, logos, or emblems identifying the source or expenditure of stimulus funds, with an explanation of the decision to do so, and;
— An assessment of the total cost to the taxpayers from the posting of signs, logos, or emblems identifying the source or expenditure of stimulus funds.
Issa’s office says they remain in communication with Devaney over the cost of these signs.
Said Issa spokesman Seamus Kraft:
Chairman Devaney has agreed to task the relevant inspectors general to investigate the stimulus sign guidance given by their agencies. He has also agreed to request information about the cost of the signs from the relevant agencies and report back to us.
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