The Washington Post

Call for permanent portrait ban revived

As former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s portrait secured its place on the hallway wall outside the secretary’s agency office, a Democratic senator renewed her effort to limit how much the federal government can spend on costly oil paintings of federal officials.

After the Loop reported this week that Chertoff’s portrait cost the agency $30,500 and was in the works several years, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) re-upped a bill she introduced in December that would not completely ban taxpayer-funded portraits, but cap the price tag at $20,000 a pop. It stipulates that federal funds only be used for “officials in line for the presidency,” which allows cabinet secretaries to keep one of the perks of the job.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright raises her arms at the unveiling of her official portrait as the 64th Secretary of State at the State Department in Washington, Monday, April 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson) Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright raises her arms at the unveiling of her official portrait as the 64th Secretary of State at the State Department in Washington, Monday, April 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Any official seeking a more expensive replication of him or herself could use private dollars.

“With all due respect to former Secretary Chertoff and his service, this is exactly the type of government spending our country can do without,” Shaheen said. “The federal government should pay for these types of portraits in a way that protects taxpayers instead of wasting their money.”

The fiscal 2014 omnibus spending bill forbid all spending on portraits for the year, but it was not a permanent ban.

Loop efforts to obtain a photo of the Chertoff portrait from DHS were not immediately successful.

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
Republicans debated Saturday night. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says...
Rarely has the division between Trump and party elites been more apparent. Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a bet that standing his ground is better than backing down. Drawing boos from the audience, Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters was the unanswerable question.
GOP candidates react to Justice Scalia's death
Quoted
I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.
Sen. Marco Rubio, attacking Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday night's very heated GOP debate in South Carolina. Soon after, Cruz went on a tirade in Spanish.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

March 6: Democratic debate

on CNN, in Flint, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read

politics

in-the-loop

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.