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WASTE WATCH: Tax money spent on government PR

(Cropped Photo: Jericho / Wikipedia / CC BY 3.0)

Almost a billion and a half of our tax dollars paying to change our opinion of the federal government.

A third of that money is going to salaries of government public relations employees.

The middle-range salary of a government worker doing PR is $90,000 a year, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, The Department of Commerce; out of ten agencies, these are the three biggest spenders of public relations money. This totals to $1.4-billion tax dollars spent each year for a decade, according to a 2016 Government Accountability Office report.

It's broken down between advertising contracts/public relations activities and employees’ salaries.

The White House Office of Management and Budget said the job of these 4,900 federal public relations employees is to maintain the image of the government or "promote understanding and favorable relations with the community or public."

So are these employees worth our money?

The Pew Research Center reported tax payers have among the lowest levels of government trust in 50 years with only 19 percent of people saying they trust the government.

The Pew Research Center showed only 20-percent of Americans would describe government programs as being well run.

Altogether, there are almost 5,000 government public relations employees. The Department of Defense has the largest number, while Veterans Affairs has increased their number of PR employees in the past decade, hitting almost 300 in 2014.

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