GOP leader says Labor Dept. is wasting tax money

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 26, 2014 at 3:14 pm •  Published: August 26, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of a House panel is asking Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to turn over to Congress documents and information the lawmaker alleges will show "a pattern of wasteful spending and mismanagement" at the Labor Department.

Rep. Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif., who leads the House Oversight Committee, asserted that the Labor Department's Office of Public Affairs "frivolously spends taxpayer money on unnecessary items." As an example, the lawmaker cited elevator posters changed weekly in the 23 passenger elevators at the department's headquarters, at a cost of $2,637 a week.

Since 2009, the posters have cost a total of more than $600,000, Issa wrote to Perez in a letter dated Monday. He also criticized what he depicted as excessive travel by Labor Department officials, and charged that the department used taxpayer dollars to hire a Washington Nationals baseball team mascot for an agency event "and spent over $100,000 to promote a book club."

The department issued a statement defending the spending as a valid morale booster for employees. "Our internal communications efforts make a difference in employee satisfaction, retention and most importantly, performance. Better performance from our employees translates into better value for the public," the department said.

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