Rep. Scott DesJarlais votes to stop illegal “Covert Propaganda” at Fed agencies

Thursday, March 9, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Under the Obama administration, federal agencies violated laws prohibiting them from organizing publicity campaigns for some of the former President’s most controversial initiatives, as well as laws prohibiting unauthorized expenditures.

Today, Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D., voted for the latest in a series of House bills to stop agency misconduct and overreach. The Regulatory Integrity Act would forbid civil service bureaucrats from organizing “covert propaganda” and require transparent record-keeping of public communications.

In 2015, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using public funds, conducted illegal campaigns in support of the agency’s Waters of the United States rule, which would have dramatically expanded federal control of local waterways, typically a state concern.

Rep. DesJarlais (TN-04) explained that agency personnel, acting anonymously to manipulate public sentiment, hired expensive P.R. firms to create third-party websites and social media, “a disturbing trend of government secrecy and partisanship that undermines confidence in our civil service.”

In another high-profile case, the Department of Homeland Security failed to follow proper procedure for public notification and comment, when adopting former President Barack Obama’s expansion of work permits and other benefits of U.S. citizenship to illegal aliens. As a result, federal courts halted the de-facto amnesty program.

The Regulatory Integrity Act would require agencies to publish more detail of forthcoming rules and regulations. In the current 115th Congress, Rep. DesJarlais, a member of the House Oversight and Government Accountability Committee, has voted for a number of bills to rein in federal agencies, including one to protect Tennessee’s mining industry, which President Donald Trump signed into law.

This week, the new President issued an order to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review the previous administration’s stance on the Waters of the U.S. rule, a policy shift Tennessee farmers and ranchers in Rep. DesJarlais’ rural congressional district have said will protect the local economy and good-paying jobs.

“Americans’ economic optimism is surging, because Republicans in Congress and the White House, who received a mandate to change business-as-usual in Washington, are taking our mission seriously, acting quickly to overturn some of the Obama Administration’s worst ideas,” said Rep. DesJarlais, a member of the House Agriculture Committee.

“I’m just as committed to upholding our Constitution and the highest standards for a civil service that seems more interested in growing its own power than opportunities for Tennesseans.”

This article was submitted by Brendan Thomas, communications director, Rep. Scott Desjarlais, M.D., Tennessee’s 4th District Congressman.