Omnibus Bans Taxpayer Funding for Official Portraits

Inclusion of ‘EGO’ Act to save $40,000 per painting

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R., La.)
January 15, 2014

The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, if passed, will save taxpayers money by banning federal funding for official portraits of the president, members of his cabinet, and Congress.

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R., La.) first introduced the Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting Act—or, the "EGO Act"—last April. Text of the legislation was included in the 1,582-page spending bill, which is expected to pass the House on Wednesday.

"American taxpayers shouldn’t be called to sacrifice to pay for vanity paintings which are often hidden from the public," Cassidy said in a statement. "This is a waste of money that is rightly being eliminated."

Cassidy commended budget negotiators Rep. Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.) for including his bill in the spending package.

Section 736 of the omnibus bill prohibits funding for official portraits for the president, vice president, members of Congress, and the heads of executive branch agencies.

In recent years, taxpayers have footed the bill for a $38,350 portrait of former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, $22,500 for a likeness of Commerce Secretary John Bryson, and $41,200 for Air Force Secretary Michael Donnelly’s painting.

The Obama administration has spent $400,000 on oil portraits in the past two years alone, according to ABC News.

Cassidy called the paintings a "ridiculous and unnecessary luxury" when he first introduced the bill last year.

"Americans have been complaining about this practice for decades and it’s time we finally do something about it," he said.

"As Americans tighten their budgets and cut excess, their government should do the same," Cassidy added. "Lisa Jackson can borrow my camera for free."


Published under: Government Waste