House GOP Wants You to Report Stimulus Signs

By Matt Cover | September 17, 2010 | 4:01 AM EDT

Stimulus sign

( – Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee – led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) are turning to the public in their effort to find out just how many promotional signs were erected using stimulus dollars.

Known as crowd-sourcing, the effort asks the public to take pictures of promotional signs erected along roadways and at other stimulus-funded projects and submit them to the Republican committee staff.

The effort asks people to “be a citizen watchdog” and to help Republicans document what they call “propaganda signs.”

“This project harnesses the American public’s help in getting answers about why the Administration has insisted on wasting potentially $192 million taxpayer dollars on pro-stimulus advertising even as the spending splurge has failed to meet the President’s own sales pitches,” the Committee’s Republican website says.

The picture-gathering campaign is being paired with a new interactive effort by committee Republicans to document the proliferation of stimulus signs. The centerpiece of that effort is an interactive national map that plots the location of each sign – including a picture of each one.

Republicans, sensing an impending electoral wave, are using the stimulus signs to point out that the program funding them – President Obama’s signature Recovery Act – has not achieved its widely touted goals of lowering unemployment and sparking an economic recovery.

“Signs of President Obama's failed $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – also known as the "stimulus" – are popping up all over the country,” a statement on the GOP map Web site reads.

“The White House wants Americans to believe that these taxpayer funded billboards are signs of an improving economy created by government spending instead of the cold, hard reality that more than 14.9 million Americans can't find jobs,” the Web site adds.

The Web site criticizes the signs – which the White House has recommended be erected – as trying to distract the public from the failure of the stimulus program.

“Signs don't put America back to work, but they are being bought and paid for with your tax dollars in an effort to help President Obama and his pro-stimulus spending allies in Washington keep their jobs. This is an outrage and we need your help to hold them accountable.”

While the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board – which is charged with overseeing the implementation of the Recovery Act – declined to comment, Issa said that his effort gives Americans frustrated with Obama’s lack of success a chance to make their voices heard.

“Broken promises about job creation and robust oversight of the $862 billion stimulus have angered many Americans. This project offers concerned and frustrated Americans an opportunity to participate in an oversight project that creates some accountability for efforts to publicly tout a massive spending project that we all know hasn't lived up to the original sales pitch,” Issa said in a statement to