- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 18, 2013

Portraits of congressional members cost $40,000 a pop and the Republican lawmaker from Louisiana wonders: Why should taxpayers be paying for this?

“At a time of trillion dollar deficits, it is not appropriate to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on official paintings, Rep. Bill Cassidy wrote, in a letter to the House Appropriations Committee chairman, The Hill reported. “If agency administrators, cabinet secretaries or members of Congress feel it necessary to commission official portraits, they should be responsible for paying for them.”

Mr. Cassidy and congressional colleagues are drumming for support for the Eliminating Government-funding Oil-painting Act, or EGO Act, The Hill reported.

The legislation follows media reports that portraits of federal agency heads cost between $20,000 and $40,000, and that President Obama’s administration has spent almost $400,000 on paintings in just two years’ time. The portrait for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack cost upwards of $20,000, The Hill reported. And for Environmental Protection Agency administrator, it was $40,000, The Hill said.

“[Is] it appropriate to spend hundreds of thousands of dollar on official paintings of Lisa Jackson and Tom Vilsack? That’s exactly what’s happening,” Mr. Cassidy wrote, The Hill reported.

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