The Department of Labor (DOL) has called a mandatory meeting for DOL employees who could be interviewed as part of an inspector general investigation into the department’s public-relations spending.
Though the session is part of DOL’s routine quarterly meetings, some internal concern has been registered that the meeting could veer into topics that might overlap with the inspector general probe.
Carl Fillichio, senior communications adviser to DOL Secretary Thomas Perez, called a mandatory March 31 meeting for all employees of the agency’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) in Washington, D.C. and six regional DOL OPA offices who will join the meeting by phone. The meeting, which will discuss various issues and “anything else that’s on your minds,” comes just weeks after Republican Sen. Tom Coburn called for an inspector general investigation to probe wasteful spending practices at DOL.
The Daily Caller reported March 11 that DOL inspector general Scott Dahl opened an inquiry into the department’s public-relations spending practices in response to Coburn. “We are currently reviewing the information you provided and will keep your office informed of our progress,” Dahl wrote to Coburn.
Coburn sent a letter to DOL inspector general Scott Dahl requesting an investigation into allegations that DOL hired a public relations firm with a six-figure no-bid contract to promote DOL’s book club. Coburn also cited other revelations from a recent article by journalist Quin Hillyer, including that “the Department allegedly used funds to hire the mascot of the Washington Nationals” for a centennial celebration.
“One of the alleged wasteful spending practices included a Department book club that was spearheaded by the DOL’s public-affairs senior adviser Carl Fillichio,” Coburn wrote in his letter. “According to Mr. Fillichio, this book club was ‘part of the commemoration of the department’s centennial’ and was put into motion by Secretary Perez. Former Secretaries of Labor works were some of the books recommended to read. Most disturbing, is the allegation that the Department hired an outside public relations firm to promote this book club. My office has been told that a firm, Concept Communications, allegedly received a potential no bid contract to the tune of $100,000 to assist in promoting the Department’s book club.”
Fillichio’s meeting will include OPA employees who worked on the various public-relations programs that Coburn wants investigated.
Fillichio’s email, obtained by The Daily Caller, is presented below:
From: Fillichio, Carl – OPA
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2014
To: Fillichio, Carl – OPA; zzOPA-NATIONAL-STAFF GROUP; zzOPA-REGIONAL-STAFF
Subject: Mandatory Quarterly OPA All Employee Meeting
When: Monday, March 31, 2014 2:00 PM-3:00 PM.
Please join me for our first quarterly meeting for all OPA federal employees
where we’ll hear about HR programs you can use; discuss leadership, training,
and innovation; brainstorm about ideas for future quarterly meetings; and talk about anything else that‘s on your minds.
Our regional collegues will join us by phone.