Trump signs bill preventing taxpayer money from being used for portraits of federal employees
President Trump on Tuesday signed legislation that bars the use of taxpayer funds for portraits of current and former federal employees.
The Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting Act, introduced in January 2017 by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), prohibits any taxpayer dollars from being used by federal agencies for portraits of all federal employees, including the president.
“The national debt is over $20 trillion,” said Cassidy in a statement to Government Executive.
“There’s no excuse for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on paintings of government officials.”
The legislation was spurred by a Senate report detailing more than $400,000 spent on official portraits of government employees since 2010.
Some of the portraits examined cost more than $40,000, including one of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that cost $46,790 in 2010.
It was Rumsfeld’s second commissioned portrait and was presented to him after his retirement at a ceremony.
Trump’s signature on the measure comes just after his secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, reportedly tried to reallocate funds meant for office furniture to commission portraits of some former HUD secretaries to hang outside his office.