House panel wants details of stimulus ad campaign on MSNBC
September 6, 2012
Leaders of a House panel want a Tennessee public relations firm to turn over records on roughly $2 million in federal stimulus program contracts it won from the Department of Labor, including details of the work it did on a nearly half-million-dollar ad campaign on MSNBC that reported creating no jobs.
Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce also called on the company, McNeely, Pigott & Fox LLC, to turn over information about a $1.5 million stimulus contract awarded to the firm in 2009 for work under the federal Job Corps program, according to a recent letter lawmakers sent to Mike Pigott, a founding partner at the firm.
The committee's letter cited a report last month by The Washington Times on the Labor Department's use of nearly $500,000 in federal stimulus funds to hire the public relations firm. The firm ran more than 100 ads touting Job Corps training in environmentally friendly career areas, which aired on MSNBC programs hosted by Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann in 2009.
In their letter to Mr. Pigott, the lawmakers sought, among other things, information about the public relations strategy for the Labor Department's Job Corps program and any documents or communications relating to the decision to make media purchases on MSNBC.
The letter was signed by four committee members, including the chairman, Rep. John Kline of Minnesota. The public relations firm declined to comment when contacted by The Washington Times and referred all questions to the Department of Labor.
A Labor spokesman said the department is aware of the letter and will respond. Republican committee leaders separately have called on Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis to turn over government records on the decision to spend nearly a half-million dollars in stimulus funds for cable television commercials.
But according to their letter, committee members also are seeking details on a second Labor Department contract for $1.5 million awarded to the public relations firm funded through the stimulus program.