Sen. Tom Coburn has asked the inspector general of the U.S. Dept. of Labor to probe "wasteful spending," including a six-figure PR pact with a Maryland firm to promote a book club for the department's centennial.
In a letter to the Labor IG, the Oklahoma Republican cited a National Review article – "Wasteful High Jinks at the Labor Department," Feb. 6 – that highlighted a $100K PR pact with Concepts Communications to promote a book club led by Carl Fillichio, senior adviser for PA and communications and chairman of the centennial program.
"Most disturbing, is the allegation that the Department hired an outside public relations firm to promote this book club," Coburn wrote in a letter released to the Daily Caller.
The report erroneously said the pact was a no-bid contract. It was awarded following an RFP process.
The Labor Dept. ran a "Books that Shaped Work in America" campaign last year, an online push highlighting books recommended by current and former agency staffers and asking for suggestions from the public.
Fillichio told the NR that the club is a "terrific way for the American public to learn about not only the history of the department but the resources available from the department for the general public."
Bethesda, Md.-based Concepts has handled several government accounts, including the Depts. Of Labor, Defense, Justice and Environmental Protection Agency, among others.