The Playgoer: NEA Grumbling Continues

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Monday, October 05, 2009

NEA Grumbling Continues

Chairman Rocco makes nice with GOP sentaors, still feigning outrage over imagined "propaganda" motives in the NEA's inviting artists to promote volunteerism.

Landesman's response today noted that all NEA staffers get annual ethics training, including warnings against prohibited political activities. But in light of the teleconference controversy, he said, training efforts are being stepped up in a way that dovetails with a memo that special counsels to Obama issued to White House employees because of the brouhaha over the teleconference. That memo outlined the need to "avoid even the appearance of impropriety" when addressing the public about government programs.

Landesman said that the NEA is also reviewing whether "to reinforce" its existing directives to staff members on complying with the laws and conduct standards governing federal agency employees, and whether to stiffen the consequences for violating them.

"Thank you for the opportunity to clarify this matter and assure you of my commitment" to a nonpartisan NEA, Landesman concluded. "I look forward to working with you going forward."

Meanwhile, Rep. Louise Slaughter tells it like it is:
"This is no different than what we went through before, with [the NEA] as a convenient whipping boy, always accusing them of some nefarious thing they haven't done."
Let's hope Rocco gets some darned good charm-dividends out of this unnecessary self-flagellation.

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