Congressman Questions Labor Dept 'Propaganda'

Free Beacon Report Sparks Controversy

April 5, 2012

Rep. Joe Walsh (R., Ill.) is calling on Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to explain why the department posted a series of overtly political posters throughout the building.

Walsh is responding to a Free Beacon report revealing that signs posted in at least 20 DOL elevators depict Secretary Hilda Solis carrying a bullhorn and rallying alongside the Rev. Al Sharpton. Next to the pictures is a quote from Solis that reads in part: "We all march in our own way."

Walsh, who sits on the Congressional Oversight Committee, condemned the posters as "propaganda" and demanded to know how much money the department has spent to produce the signs.

"Some employees that have remained anonymous have described these posters as ‘propaganda’ and I agree," wrote Walsh, according to a copy of the letter that was provided to the Free Beacon. "This sign is both contrary to the role of your Department and is a misuse of taxpayer funds. Your job is not to inject yourself into politics – especially not by promoting your own political stance through a poster paid for by the taxpayer."

Walsh said that the signs are a waste of taxpayer money.

"Your sworn responsibility is to serve the American people and I ask you to stop the procurement of these signs," Walsh adds, demanding an explanation. "I ask you to respond to the scope in which this poster was circulated, including the costs it took to produce such a product. I also will ask you to address whether further posters like this have been produced already and your policy on using taxpayer money to make a political point."

The chief of the General Services Administration was forced to resign and other top employees were fired Monday after it was revealed that the department was misspending government dollars.

In an interview, Walsh called the motivational placards, which are said to be rotated on a weekly basis, an "absolute waste of government money."

He also said that blatant political materials create "an unsafe and uncomfortable work environment. There is absolutely no place for this in the public sector. Who knows how many employees feel uncomfortable with this and lord knows they can’t speak up."

Walsh said that Solis must "cease and desist" from posting political materials immediately.

One DOL employee who spoke to the Free Beacon Tuesday also said that the signs are inappropriate for the workplace.

"It is propaganda. This is what being in a Chinese factory during the Cultural Revolution is like," the source said. "It’s offensive. It’s saying that we’re all on the side of Trayvon Martin, or whatever Sharpton is doing, and the people of Labor should be for it."

The DOL did not return multiple requests seeking comment.