Politics

Memorial Day ‘propaganda’ posters glorify Michelle Obama at Labor Dept.

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has authorized new posters featuring first lady Michelle Obama to be placed in elevators throughout the Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C.

These new posters feature a large photo of Michelle Obama and a picture of Solis, along with a few choice quotes about Memorial Day.

“In January, First Lady Michelle Obama joined Secretary Solis to announce proposed revisions to the FMLA that will expand military family leave provisions to support caregivers,” the poster reads. “Through our work, we honor our service members, veterans and military families every day.”

The poster then quotes the first lady saying, “We all have an obligation to serve our troops and veterans as well as they’ve served us.”

Rick Manning, the communications director for conservative group Americans for Limited Government told The Daily Caller that Memorial Day is supposed to be about honoring veterans and remembering fallen American soldiers, not about highlighting the Obama administration’s political agenda.

“Memorial Day is dedicated to honoring those American servicemen and women who have died in the defense of freedom around the world, it is stunning that the wartime Obama Labor Department would choose to ignore the ultimate sacrifice these fallen warriors have paid and instead have tried to make this day of remembrance about them,” Manning said in an email.

Solis’ decision to place posters featuring Michelle Obama throughout DOL headquarters comes as Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch has called for an investigation into what he calls an “overtly political message” with her “poster campaign.”

Hatch said he thinks it’s “vital” to make sure “American taxpayers are not subsidizing partisan political messages, particularly during this contentious election season.” He said it’s also important to “ensure that federal government employees are not subjected [to] political propaganda in the workplace.”

In early April, TheDC first reported that Solis had placed posters in elevators throughout her building featuring a photo of Solis marching in protest alongside Rev. Jesse Jackson and MSNBC television host Rev. Al Sharpton, among others. She was acting as an emissary of the Obama administration protesting against Alabama’s strict new law combating illegal immigration. Solis had her arms locked with Sharpton, and Jackson is a few feet away.

The poster also carried a message for federal government employees — who are traditionally expected to be apolitical in the performance of their duties.

“Whether we take to the streets or simply do our work with integrity and commitment here at the U.S. Department of Labor,” the poster read, above Solis’ signature, “We are all marching toward the same goals: safer workplaces, fair pay, dignity on the job, secure retirement and opportunities to make a better life. I believe in the power of collective action.”

That report sparked Hatch to write to the Labor Department’s Deputy Inspector General Daniel Petrole, asking him to “investigate this matter thoroughly to determine whether the insertion of these posters violates any federal laws, including the Hatch Act, and whether the Secretary’s message has created a hostile work environment for any federal employees who might have differing political views.”

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