Enzi Asks GAO to Investigate Spending by Feds on Public Relations Activities

WASHINGTON D.C. – GAO will initiate a study to identify and quantify the total amount of federal resources dedicated to agency public relations activities, in response to a formal request from Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Enzi cited the increasing pressures on limited federal resources combined with the need for fiscal oversight on spending by the federal government on public relations activities. Enzi issued this GAO request four months after sending a similar request for information on federal public relations activities to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which remains unfulfilled. 

According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), oversight of agency spending on advertising, public relations and media relations is largely unknown. CRS was able to estimate that during Fiscal Year 2013 alone, almost a billion dollars was spent on advertising and public relations services contracts. The CRS study did not, however, attempt to quantify in-house agency spending, which GAO has been asked to address.

Chairman Enzi’s full letter can be viewed here.

Additional Resources:

Senate Budget Committee: Enzi Pushes OMB Director to Disclose Spending by Feds on Outside Public Relations Activities

Washington Post: Public relations and advertising are a ‘black box’ in government spending

Fiscal Times: Obama Administration Spent Billions on Image Advertising

AllGov: Billion-Dollar U.S. Government PR Machine

Federal News Radio: Agency’s PR spending sparks Senate Budget chair’s investigation

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