Biden Ordered Fed Agencies To Install Nationwide Signage Praising Him Before Election

Joni Ernst says government signs praising Biden amount to 'public financing for the president’s own campaign'
The sign federal agencies are instructed to erect. / Office of Management and Budget
The sign federal agencies are instructed to erect. / Office of Management and Budget

The White House’s order for federal agencies to install thousands of signs along the nation’s highways praising Joe Biden has one Republican senator pressing the administration for more information on what she says is “public financing for the president’s own campaign.”

The Executive Office of the President’s Office of Management and Budget wrote in February 2023 that “Federal awarding agencies are strongly encouraged” to make it a requirement of each grant that the recipient, such as a local government, put up signs based on the “Official Investing in American Emblem Style Guide,” which prescribes signs that say “Project Funded By President Joe Biden’s [Insert Name of Law].”

“The Administration believes that clear and prominent signage on projects is one of several ways to inform taxpayers about how Federal funds from these laws are being spent and advance the goals of accountability and transparency of Federal spending,” it said.

The signs credit Biden for acts passed by Congress, and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) says they amount to using taxpayer money for campaign signs before the November election. She wrote in a Thursday letter to the Office of Management and Budget that it’s absurd to pay for campaign signs with taxpayer money.

“Political campaign signs are not infrastructure. They do nothing to improve our roads or bridges and it’s obvious their real intent is only to pave the way for Biden’s re-election,” she wrote to OMB Director Shalanda D. Young.

She said that even though OMB justifies the signs as “transparency,” they are not in compliance with laws requiring agencies to disclose how much taxpayer money was spent when discussing a project. Complying with that law could have the opposite of the effect Biden hopes for, she wrote.

The administration’s order was a more detailed version of one originally sent out in August 2022, a few months before the midterm elections.

Agencies have complied. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency’s website specifies that “for construction projects funded in whole or in part by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law or Inflation Reduction Act through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recipients must place a sign at construction sites that display the Investing in America emblem and identify the project as a ‘project funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’ or ‘project funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.’”

Biden has been accused of using taxpayer dollars to buy political favor, such as sending emails to college graduates, signed by Biden, telling them that their student loans were forgiven, that his “administration has delivered on that promise,” and asking them to “share your story about what this relief means to you.”

But the language on the signs is even more audacious because, unlike the likely unconstitutional executive action Biden took to forgive loans, presidents do not make laws.

Ernst suggested to OMB in the letter that the administration put up signs to highlight the embarrassments of Biden’s spending.

“Why is there no billboard next to the seven electric vehicle charging stations built over the past two years boasting that they were bought by the Biden administration with $7.5 billion? Such a sign could proudly declare, ‘This billion dollar boondoggle brought to you by President Biden!’” she wrote.

“A similar sign should be posted alongside the route of the 1.3-mile San Francisco rail extension the Biden administration has committed at least $3.4 billion to build, which is only a fraction of the megaproject’s ballooning $8.3 billion price tag. This gravy train is on track to be one of the most expensive transit projects in the world. That certainly makes it qualify as a historical attraction deserving of a sign for public recognition,” Ernst added.

Despite costing $1.2 trillion, the “infrastructure” law has accomplished so little that most Americans don’t even know it exists.

The signs also could violate the Highway Beautification Act, which limits signage on federal highways, according to Ernst. 

The senator asked OMB to disclose the cost of the signs and whether there “was a legal determination made as to whether these taxpayer-funded campaign advertisements and billboards misuse official government resources for political campaign purposes.”

She also pressed the OMB to explain “what actions have been taken or are planned by OMB to enact the provisions of Public Law 118-47 requiring all projects funded by the White House and other agencies and departments with taxpayer dollars to disclose the cost.”

Ernst has successfully inserted those provisions into federal law, and she wrote that “If you check Section 632 of Division B, Title VI of Public Law 118-47, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024 (Public Law 118-47), you will notice the COST Act requirements” requiring OMB to “clearly state… the dollar amount of Federal funds for the project or program” when “issuing statements, press releases, [or] describing projects or programs.”

Ernst said that massive federal spending has led to inflation that has wiped out any benefits of the stimulus package. “Highway construction costs are up nearly 70 percent since Biden became president. Because the dollar isn’t going nearly as far as it once did, the actual amount put towards transportation could be reduced as much as 40 percent over the next five years, according to the administration’s own estimates,” she said in a statement.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Biden Ordered Fed Agencies To Install Nationwide Signage Praising Him Before Election