The following is a transcript of a report from "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson." Watch the video by clicking the link at the end of the page.
In Follow the Money, gimmicky spending by federal agencies to promote themselves seems to have taken on some new twists and turns. It is part of the more than 1 billion dollars that federal agencies spend each year to promote themselves.
Your tax money is being spend on mascots Owlie Skywarn and Sanctuary Sam, representing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
And they aren’t the only ones.
Four different programs at the Department of Agriculture each have their own mascot.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service has Sammy Soil.
The Agricultural Marketing Service uses Milkshake the Cow.
Power Panther represents the Food and Nutrition service.
And Thermy and Bac get paraded out by the Food Safety and Inspections Service.
Senator Joni Ernst: Do we really need a physical mascot out there, you know, going to parades or what? I don't think that's appropriate.
Senator Joni Ernst has introduced new legislation to try to end taxpayer funded projects used for propaganda. She tabulated the cost of custom-made costumes.
Joni Ernst: Overall on mascots the federal government has spent over $250,000, a quarter of a million dollars, on mascots nobody can name or even identify. There are things we should be spending our dollars on, but not this. These mascots aren't memorable. People don't know who they are, what they're trying to teach us they don’t care about them and yet we continue to spend money on them.
The CDC produced a zombie preparedness campaign including this $10,000 comic book and warning videos.
Ernst says federal agencies also spent your money on lots of giveaways:
$605,000 for coloring books,
$60,000 on key chains,
$33,000 for snuggie blankets,
$17,000 for koozies to keep your drinks cold,
And $16,000 for fidget spinners.
Joni Ernst: A lot of waste. A lot of dollars just wrapped up in little gimmicks.
Ernst’s proposal is called the “Swag Act.”
Joni Ernst: The federal government has what I call mission creep, and we start to spend dollars on things that aren't really our mission as a federal government. We have gone through this year, after year, after year. An agency will develop a mascot. Nobody pays attention. The next agency will do that. They'll start spending dollars in areas they shouldn't be spending dollars. It's okay for one agency, so the next gets away with it. We've got to stop that. We've got to stop the wasteful spending.
Among other things, the Swag Act would require federal agencies to disclose how much they spend on advertising and PR.
dollars in areas they shouldn't be spending dollars. It's okay for one agency, so the next gets away with it. We've got to stop that. We've got to stop the wasteful spending.
Among other things, the SWAG ACT would require federal agencies to disclose how much they spend on advertising and PR.
Paul Allen says
I recently heard on a radio news report the U.S. Government was spending $500K (1/2 a BILLION) to promote the importance of completing the census in minority and latino communities. While I agree this is important, but a $500K? I'm hoping the advertising agency contracted by the government isn't owned by some relative of one of our elected officials - hate to say that but that was the first thing I thought besides how ridiculous this amount was.
Really enjoy your work! Thanks for keeping us informed of really important facts?
Yup. Government waste keeps getting worse and worse Trump needs to not sign the next budget and send a real message shut the government down for a month or two might wake people up.
When I try to share this article on FB it doesn't show the article but just a general representation of you and your work. That won't do. I need the article that I can post so that people are informed. Some of the people I know, only get their news through FB and that's sad. But that's also why I put on the things I want them to know about.
Are you aware that the SKYWARN program is staffed by thousands of UNPAID volunteers? They devote their time, efforts and bear the burden of the cost of their own personal equipment and transportation costs to support NOAA in times of emergency. I have personally contributed thousands over the years to provide communications during hurricanes, as have many of my friends. That $250,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the support they receive.
Sharyl Attkisson says
I don't believe Sen. Ernst is attacking a communications program and she certainly didn't express opposition to any volunteer work. She doesn't think $250,000 should be spent on costumes for mascots.
Joseph Troxler says
The IRS confiscates property when people can't pay their taxes. I had a friend who did this. Spending should not be taken lightly. Excessive spending is a form of taxpayer abuse.
You should do a story showing a government bureaucrat’s extravagant spending and then show a suffering taxpayer being thrown out of his home.