If you see another gaudy sign promoting the $862 billion stimulus package, Rep. Darrell Issa wants to know about it.
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For the federal government to tell a grant recipient it “strongly encourages” something is sort of like the mafia telling someone it would be in their best interest to do something. Even if it there was no risk of losing the stimulus dollars by not following this encouragement, it is likely most state and local officials hoping to get there projects funded erred on the side of caution and just posted the dang signs. To their credit, both New York and Georgia reportedly opted against posting the signs because of cost.
HUD suggested possible signs for recipients of stimulus-funded projects, one that said “Funded By: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act/ Barack Obama, President.” The Department of Commerce guidance says, “All projects which are funded by the Recovery Act shall display signage that features the Primary Emblem throughout the construction phase. The signage should be displayed in a prominent location on site.” The Commerce IG report says, “Our review found no instances in which a bureau had relaxed the Commerce’s Recovery Act signage policy requirements or the implementation of those requirements.”
If the signs and the hyper-intense guidelines stressing their importance are indeed propaganda, it could be illegal.
Appropriations law prohibits something “purely partisans in nature” that is “designed to aid a political party or candidate;” or “covert propaganda” that does not reveal that government expenditures produced the messages, according to a report by Republican staff on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Meanwhile, 18 U.S.C Section 1913 says, “No part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall, in the absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter or other device” to influence a public official, the statute says. The committee staff report says the signs and other propaganda could be a violation of the Hatch Act, a law restricting political activity by public officials and public agencies.
The matter drew attention after media reports on the $10,000 sign at Dulles Airport. While waiting to hear back from the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency board on the cost of the signs, Republicans on the oversight committee found that Ohio spent $1 million on recovery signs and Illinois spent $640,000.
Further, a typical “Men at Work” or “Right Lane Closed” sign can be recycled and used for years to come on various projects. Not these signs, pointed out one member of the oversight committee who has been investigating the signs.
“It’s blatant propaganda on the part of the Obama administration to take credit for the spending of public dollars,” Rep. Aaron Schock, an Illinois Republican, told CNSNews.com. “It’s propaganda that will be worthless in a matter of years.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?