Good afternoon - 

Soon, our country's national debt will hit $20 trillion, meaning every Iowan is shouldering more than $61,000 of that burden. Washington's unchecked spending habits are out-of-control and Iowans should not be forced to pick up the tab for the federal government's recklessness. With this in mind, each month, I give out the Squeal Award to highlight areas of federal government waste, fraud, and abuse that must go.

Squeal Award: Taxpayer Funded Portraits

Did you know that when a head of federal agency leaves their post, that agency typically has an oil painting portrait made in their honor? Did you also know that each of these portraits can cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars?

According to reports, since 2010, federal agencies have spent nearly half a million dollars on portraits that are displayed in parts of federal agency buildings that may not even be accessible to the public.

Recently, federal agencies have okayed excessive spending on portraits that cost anywhere from $19,000 to $50,000 per painting, such as:

 The cost of the portrait for former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson came to $38,350.

• Did you know the cost for the portraits of Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Department of Commerce Secretary John Bryson (who served just 8 months) came to $22,500 a piece?

• And, the former Air Force Secretary, Michael B. Donley’s portrait rang up at $41,200.

At a time when we are nearly $20 trillion in debt, this costly use of taxpayer dollars is absurd and is why I am a co-sponsor of the Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting Act, or the EGO Act.  This bill would prohibit the use of taxpayers' dollars to pay for an oil-painted portrait of an officer or employee of the federal government. 

Parting gifts like these only frustrate Iowans who are the ones left footing the bill. Because of this wasteful and unnecessary giveaway, I hereby present this month’s Squeal Award to taxpayer funded oil-painted portraits of members of the federal government.

Do you have an example of government waste or inefficiencies that I should take a look at? Send me an email by clicking here.

Thank you!