Republican Leaders Question Taxpayer-Funded MSNBC Ad Campaign for Failed Stimulus Program

Republican Leaders Question Taxpayer-Funded MSNBC Ad Campaign for Failed Stimulus Program

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Republican leaders on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce sent a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis requesting documents, communications, and information on the Labor Department’s contract with McNeely, Pigott, & Fox Public Relations, LLC.

In 2009, the Labor Department reportedly awarded nearly half a million dollars from the taxpayer-funded stimulus package to McNeely, Pigott, & Fox Public Relations to promote the Obama administration’s “green jobs” initiative. The firm used the money to pay for television advertisements aired on MSNBC during Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show.

“We understand this contract used taxpayer dollars purchase advertisements on MSNBC during ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ and ‘The Rachel Maddow Show,’” the lawmakers wrote.

“Despite the fact that these funds were made available as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — legislation President Obama said was critical for immediate job creation — an examination of public records show that the contract that resulted in the advertisements on MSNBC created no jobs.”

In the letter, Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) wrote:

Multiple news sources have reported that in September 2009 DOL spent $495,000 in “stimulus” funding to hire a public relations firm, McNeely, Pigott, & Fox Public Relations, LLC (“MP&F”), to promote Job Corps’ “existing and new training initiatives in high-growth and environmentally friendly career areas.”… Despite the fact that these funds were made available as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—legislation President Obama said was critical for immediate job creation—an examination of public records show that the contract that resulted in the advertisements on MSNBC created no jobs. Upon further review of public records, we have found that DOL, since 2009, spent almost $2 million on public relations services from MP&F, resulting in the creation of one job in the last reported quarter.

The representatives also sent a letter to McNeely, Pigott, & Foxx Founding Partner and Senior Counsel Mike Pigott to request documents and communications related to the stimulus awards as well as the public relations strategy surrounding the “green jobs” initiative.

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