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10 outrageous ways your federal tax dollars are being spent for public relations




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:

  1. The federal government spent $4.34 billion on public relations in the last seven years.   
  2. U.S. Government ranked 2nd largest Public Relations Firm in the World (based on the number of PR employees). 
  3. 3,092 federal 'Public Affairs Officers' are employed by over 200 federal agencies in FY2014.
  4. 1,858 'Public Affairs Officers' made at least $100,000 in base salary compensation in FY2014.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. $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.
  8. 47 percent increase in outside PR consulting expenditures under the Obama administration vs. the last two years under the Bush administration.
  9. 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.
  10. $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.

More federal spending in the report HERE.

Illinois Review
Illinois Review
Founded in 2005, Illinois Review is the leading perspective and source of conservative news, opinion and information in Illinois. Follow Illinois Review on X at @IllinoisReview.


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