WASHINGTON DC – The federal government is spending billions of taxpayer dollars to convey to U.S. taxpayers how wonderful and valuable it is, according to a new report issued today by Illinois-based OpenTheBooks watchdog group.
The comprehensive oversight report on federal agency public relations (PR) spending - OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Self-Promotion, How Federal Agency PR Spending Advances Their Interests Rather Than the Public Interest - reaches back to 2007 spending.
Here's 10 takeaways revealing some details of the $4.34 Billion in federal spending on public relations, OpenTheBooks reports:
- The federal government spent $4.34 billion on public relations in the last seven years.
- U.S. Government ranked 2nd largest Public Relations Firm in the World (based on the number of PR employees).
- 3,092 federal 'Public Affairs Officers' are employed by over 200 federal agencies in FY2014.
- 1,858 'Public Affairs Officers' made at least $100,000 in base salary compensation in FY2014.
- Salaries totaling $2.337 billion and 'performance bonuses' totaling $10.929 million flowed to public affairs officers (FY2007-FY2014). The highest bonus was $35,940 to John T. Burklow at Department of Health and Human Services in 2012.
- Since 2007, PR positions increased in the federal government by 15 percent – an addition of 402 positions – from 2,688 to 3,092. Total PR salary spending by year increased by 22.4 percent despite a long period of freeze and sequester in federal hiring.
- $2.02 billion spent by 139 federal agencies with 2,403 outside PR vendors on 16,249 individual transactions since 2007 – despite 3,092 federal PR employees.
- 47 percent increase in outside PR consulting expenditures under the Obama administration vs. the last two years under the Bush administration.
- Top PR firms in the world reaped millions of dollars: Laughlin, Marinaccio & Owens, Inc. ($87.98M), Young & Rubicam Inc. ($57.5M), Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide Inc. ($47.93M), Fleishman-Hillard, Inc ($42.4M), Gallup ($42.0M), and many more.
- $183,581 (per year) billing by Ketchum ($88/hour, $15,298/month) for 'Intern.' $1.192 million (per year) billing by Boos Allen Hamilton ($525.67/hour, $91,107/month) for 'Executive Manager' – examples of billing rates per their respective federal advertising contracts.