House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., requested yesterday that Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Thomas Perez provide documents and information related to wasteful spending and mismanagement at the Department of Labor. Information obtained by the Committee has raised questions regarding a pattern of frivolous spending, including $600,000 spent on informational elevator posters, $25,000 in entry fees for public relations contests, and $100,000 to promote a book club.
“This questionable activity has been going on for some time,” wrote Chairman Issa in the letter. “As my staff has learned, in 2009, DOL began producing weekly elevator posters for the 23 passenger elevators at DOL’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. According to documents obtained by the Committee, since 2009, DOL has spent $2,637 per week producing new posters, for a total of over $600,000. According to DOL, the posters represent an effective method of communicating with employees. Media reports indicate that DOL deploys up to three communications specialists or artists to produce designs each week. DOL has also reportedly used taxpayer money to hire the Washington Nationals mascot for an agency event and spent over $100,000 to promote a book club. Likewise, DOL employees reportedly spend an inordinate amount of time and money on an internal publication called ‘Frances Mag.’ If this information is accurate, it raises serious questions about the lack of internal agency spending controls in a time of considerable budget constraints.”
Read the letter from Chairman Issa to Secretary Perez here.