Issa: Oversight panel thinks White House 'crossed the line' in stimulus promotion

The Ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee continued to charge the Obama administration with peddling propaganda about its economic recovery programs.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Friday on MSNBC that administration claims of jobs saved and created through stimulus spending cannot be proven and therefore are propaganda, which is prohibited under federal law if taxpayer funds are used.

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"Every administration, Republican or Democratic, would like to promote itself, talk about its accomplishments and use government dollars to do it," Issa said. "We just think — our committee in our oversight role — that they've crossed the line."

Oversight Committee Republicans on Monday released a 37-page report spelling out its claims of misconduct by the administration. And Issa has asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate possible violations of federal anti-propaganda laws.

"We accept the fact that some amount of people were employed," Issa said Saturday. "We're a long way — according to the [Inspector General] for the stimulus — we're a long way from getting honest and factual reporting of how many jobs, if any, are actually created or saved by this expenditure."

Issa also dinged the administration for what he claimed was a forcing of stimulus recipients to advertise road projects with highway signs. The White House this week denied that charge with an explanation on its stimulus "Frequently Asked Questions" page.

"The Administration believes that signage is one of several ways to provide the public with full notice of how its tax dollars are being spent and advance the Recovery Act’s goals of openness and transparency," the website reads. "Guidance therefore intends to encourage — but does not require — the use of signage where appropriate and in furtherance of openness and transparency."

But Issa jumped on an Aug. 17 Department of Transportation IG report explaining that the department had ended prior sign requirements as an admission that the administration had acted improperly.

"It's our job to say when it crosses the line and becomes propaganda under the 1952 law," Issa said Friday.  "We believe it has."