Oversight Committee Examines Politicization of Job and Economic Data at Labor Department

May 30, 2012

(WASHINGTON)—The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing next Wednesday to examine the influence of Department of Labor (DOL) political appointees over the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) processes for collecting and disseminating employment data.

Among issues to be considered at the hearing is an April 10, 2012 order, which changes long-standing policy and requires news organizations that report on pre-released DOL data to use government-owned computer systems and software.

The new policy has been strongly opposed by the Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of media organizations. In a recent letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the group wrote that “[r]equiring news organizations to draft news articles on government-owned and government-operated computers would give the government unfettered access to unpublished draft news stories and will necessarily inhibit journalists from producing thorough, timely and accurate reporting based on market-moving information.”

The hearing will also continue the Committee’s review of questionable accounting methods in reporting on “green jobs” and the failure of a $500 million “green job training program.”

The Committee has invited Solis to testify, along with the acting head of BLS.

The hearing, titled “Addressing Concerns about the Integrity of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Jobs Reporting,” will be held Wednesday, June 6th at 9:30 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building and streamed online at http://oversight.house.gov.

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