You Helped Pay The Tab on a $22,000 Portrait of Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack

Or, is it our children who will not only pay for the portrait, but the interest on the loan taken out to pay for it:

It’s not always easy to tell who’s coming or going as the Obama administration starts its second term, but multiple agencies have quietly commissioned artists to paint official portraits of Cabinet secretaries and other top appointees — an expenditure often seen when officials are on the way out the door or already gone.

The Environmental Protection Agency spent nearly $40,000 on a portrait of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, while a painting of Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley will cost $41,200, according to federal purchasing records. The price tag for a 3-by-4-foot oil portrait of Agriculture Department Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack: $22,500.

All told, the government has paid out at least $180,000 for official portraits since last year, according to a review by The Washington Times of spending records at federal agencies and military offices across government.


Meanwhile, over at Reason:

Cafe Press, the online retailer of cheap, personalized t-shirts, coffee mugs, and so much more, has written an open letter to the government with a plan for reducing official portrait costs by as much as 99 percent. Read it here. And if you want to buy a Vilsack-emblazoned work jersey – designed par moi! – go here.


  • Damon Hynes

    Good old Tom Nutsack. The shame of Iowa.

  • Greg Malone


  • Scott Brumley

    It may be time to bring back public hanging.

  • Jan Lanphear

    Okay, call me silly, but…if I-III paid $22K for THAT…I would’ve expected a cow, couple chickens & a pig in the portrait w/ him…just to feel like I got my $’s worth! GRRRR! :J<3

  • Bruce Finkelstein

    He should have gotten a $20 caricature from a DC street artist.

  • Alistair Kelly

    We’re all suckers. These politicians have one person’s interest at the top of their mind all of the time – their own! The non-working faction of our country has begun the process of voting themselves our (the workers) money. It’s going to get worse because these lame politicians have learned that these fish are the ones that will vote them back into office. They are just too happy to make sure they are positioned – through family and friends – to benefit from all of these socialistic programs that they write the rules for.

  • Samara Peterson


  • Tom Fortin

    And THIS is another example of why I refuse to pay ONE CENT of extra unnecessary taxes!!

  • Tolfe Lee Albert

    All the heads of departments get portraits done…countless $22,000’s of dollars wasted…oh, did I mention we taxpayers are footing the bill.

  • Sheryl Molloy

    Enough already!

  • Craig Nichols

    Hey the street corner artist do it for bout 20 dollars, whats vilsacks problem?

  • Tom Allen

    If he was from Illinois we could just wait for his mug shot.

  • L Joyce Watkins

    Wow, is this administration going to call racism or sexism every time they are questioned on a matter, it couldn’t be their incompetence, lack of transparency and more division and secrecy. It’s either blame BUSH or you’re a racist or a sexist and we do whatever we dam well please. What happened to united we stand divided we fall, is no one accountable for anything, what happened to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

    Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as “Holiday Trees” for the 1st time this year. And I bet like last year they will be filled with decorations with Obama’s family on them. This is what you see in countries run by dictators. I was disgusted when I heard Obama in Thailand saying that he asked them to pray for our country on the budget crisis – then said he prays when he is in church – when is the last time you saw this man go to church – I think he has gone about 8 times over 4 years & tries to tell us what a good Christian he is….BS

    Remember…Obama was a “community organizer” (code word = political operative of the left)…he never solved problems he just stirred things up & then sought gov’t funding for his “social justice” causes. Next he got into politics most likely because he figured out that he could be closer to the tax flow stream that way & get power to take whatever money he saw fit…he’s moved by ideology not to be a leader-just read Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals” & you will understand the election we just went through – facts don’t matter, truth doesn’t matter – right-wrong doesn’t matter – only winning matters – & to do so you trash & attack your opponent constantly lying, making it up, manipulation is OK.


    Well Petraeus has spoken today before the House & Senate & they both are saying the same thing. Petraeus has said that CIA briefing said that Al-Qaeda was involved…so now the question should go to Obama & no 1 else…who & why did you change it? And Obama admin & Democrats continue to say that it is just not enough known at this time to say who changed it. I would think that a good government – 1 that is not hiding a lot – would be able to know within a day or so exactly what & who changed or hide what we all knew happened. One day & one day soon (I hope) Obama is going to find out that he is not able to hide everything that shows he is incompetent & LIES when he is caught. As we saw with Petraeus – they are going to start to come out & tell some truths. They want all allow Obama to just keep throwing them under the bus to protect him.
    Republican lawmakers, after struggling for weeks to get answers on the Libya terror attack, ripped into the Obama administration — with 1 congressman claiming officials “lied to the American people.” “This administration has lied to the American people about this tragedy,” “The arrogance & dishonesty in all of this is breathtaking. Let’s not stonewall this issue & cover up mistakes, which seems to be what is going on today.” Obama, in his first post-election press conference called the criticism “outrageous” & told those lawmakers to “go after me.” Graham responded: “Mr President, don’t think for one minute I don’t hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi. I think you failed as commander in chief before, during & after the attack.”

    And did you hear this BP has agreed to pay the U.S. government $4.5 billion in installments over a period of 5 yrs for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes they are to pay government this money – when this money should go to those that lost lives & everything. Why should the government get this money to just spend away with….THIS IS A DISGRACE.

    I ask that everyone call the White house comment line at 202-456-1111 to tell them that we want the Taxpayer money back that is being used for Obama to campaign. Obama has campaigned for 14 months. That’s right for 14 months he has chosen to campaign instead of being in Washington doing what we hired him to do….you know LEAD THE COUNTRY.

    Time to send an email to the Speaker of the House John Boehner also post on his FB page…what ever it takes. His email is Or call him at 202-224-3121. So make your calls to anyone you can think of that could make this request for our money heard. Call you Congressmen & Senators….keep asking until we see someone doing something about this. Did you know that it cost $179,000 per hour for Obama to fly around this country to campaign. So let’s just say 5 hours @ $179,000 = $895,000 and for 400 trips = $358,000,000. Then include the trips for Biden & Clinton trips….the amount goes much higher. His campaign owes the American taxpayer this money and they should be paying it back now – not when he says he doesn’t have any money left. I’m sure that he will try to tell us that so many of his trips were to do his presidential duties…I say BS because he wouldn’t even stay in Washington after 4 Americans were killed.

    Why were the U.S. Ambassador to Libya’s security requests denied? Why are we giving billions of taxpayer dollars to radical nations & possibly enabling terrorist-related groups like the Muslim Brotherhood to stay in power in Egypt?

    Funny that he said this then & then he promised to be transparent…and now look at what he does. He has broken every promise that he made to America. He continues to break the law by NOT upholding the laws & constitution of this country…
    “I’ll unite the people of this great country.” — This is the biggest lie of all —
    He does nothing that he promised….he said he would work with both sides & what do we see after he won reelection – the same. You will give me what I want or I will allow America to go over the fiscal cliff. And while they “talk” what is happening. If you have any money in the market – then you are loosing every day that this continues. HE IS A FAILURE AS PRESIDENT!

    Well look at what we have now. Obama failed on his promise of Hope & Change & now he is failed on his promise of Forward-working with everyone. In fact he has lies to America people every time he opens his mouth. He has spent more & will continue to spend more until we remove him. He tries to tax the millionaires – who are the ones that create jobs – & with the money he would get would only pay for Obama’s spending for 1 week.
    And by the way….this is 1 woman that does not support Obama or anything that he stands for! We will get the truth one day & then he will have to pay. My motto continue to be: “I WILL NOT COMPLY!” So I will continue to sing my song until he is gone…this is the song that we will be singing. Please enjoy & start learning the words.

  • Tony Spina

    Sick to my stomach

  • Jeff Radmer

    For that money, I hope they make look less like a possum.

  • Zelda Rider

    thats nice. i cut my driving back so as to save on gas. so i can eat

  • RoseAnn Vachy Bright

    Nothing new in this Administration or the past 3 also. They in DC have no concept of “running out of money!!

  • Wayne Burkes

    What? Ballsack?

  • Susan Hutchinson

    LOL…we’re paying the tab of all our congress b/c they think they are royalty and can go wherever they want, spend whatever they want on our dime. Will it ever stop. NO

  • Michael Gilbert Beard

    Why don’t we start sending them a bill / taking it out of their check?

  • Jim Herring

    I am pretty handy with a Kodak Instamatic camera with a flash cube. I could have done it for $1.12.

  • Colleen Ortivez

    This kind of stuff is not anything new! This has been going on for years and all of a sudden you act like it is all Obama’s fault! The only way anything is change is by starting from the bottom up. /There is waste in every part of our government. Change needs to start at the local level.

  • Allan Jackson

    As public servants, how about they erect group photos of their constituents instead to remind them and their staffs why they’re there and who the real bosses are? Whenever one of my employees calls me boss, I tell them that the “boss” is everyone outside of the building. Once you’re clear on that, everything else follows.

  • Marty Holtsberg

    No F’n portrait is worth 22K, art is overrated.

  • Rob Dumas

    Almost hard to believe we found ourselves $16 Trillion in debt with decsision making like this. I am certain there are 100 artists right here in the Twin Cities that would have been THRILLED to paint this for $2000, not that I could justify spending that much either.

  • Janet Mesecar

    JERKS !

  • William Baranowski

    How much did the Janet Napolitano one cost?

  • Susan Bates Stead

    I don’t think they even know how to STOP SPENDING. Take a Polaroid……no one cares for you to have a portrait of yourself. It serves NO PURPOSE.

  • David Dobbins

    paid for with food stamps no doubt

  • John Randles

    That’s nothing to compare with the nearly $2,000,000 BHO paid to hide from the public?

  • Brenda Thomason

    Are you sure you want to give him MORE money to waste.

  • Denis Gormley

    time to ‘stimulate’ the polaroid camera industry for these clowns

  • William A Potter

    Do they still post presidental photos in post offices? Think how much wasted money that is if it still being done. Rarely go to PO.

  • Erik Perosky

    thats a fucking dumb ass libber wasting our money

  • Jeffrey C. Miller

    I would have done tjem for free. Of course I would have painted them where they belong, on the bathroom walls. This is unbelievable for a country so far in debt.

  • Deborah Ouille Cothern


  • Nancy Friedl Yahr

    What is u