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Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Cut Government’s Extravagant Spending on Oil Paintings

Curators’ corner

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Cut Government’s Extravagant Spending on Oil Paintings

Courtesy of UPI/Pat Benic

Courtesy of UPI/Pat Benic

The Responsible Use of Taxpayer Dollars for Portraits Act is in motion.

The bipartisan bill to cap government spending on oil paintings of officials was introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) in December.

Earlier in 2013, ABC News reported that the Obama administration had spent roughly $400,000 on oil portraits of Cabinet members over the previous two years.

In 2008, the Washington Post revealed that the Bush administration had paid individual price tags of up to $50,000 on paintings.

Under the bill, only $20,000 of taxpayer funds would be allowed per piece. For paintings exceeding that sum, officials would have to use “other funds” – presumably their own.

“Hardworking taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for lavish official portraits, especially when government officials spend more on paintings of themselves than some Americans make in a year,” Coburn said, according to UPI. “This bill reins in excessive spending on such portraits and protects taxpayers from funding waste.”

What do you think of Federal funds being used for official’s portraits of themselves? Is $20,000 still too much? Tell us in the comments below.

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