Joni Ernst Unveils SWAG Act to Cut Wasteful Government Spending on Fidget Spinners, Mascots, Koozies

(INSET: The Department of Energy [DOE] mascot "The Green Reaper") WASHINGTON, DC - July 11: Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) speaks during a Commerce Committee hearing on paid family leave July 11, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Legislators are hoping to add a paid family leave component to the …
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty, DOE via Muckrock.com

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) unveiled her new bill to rein in government agency public relations and advertising spending on mascots, koozies, and fidget spinners Tuesday on Breitbart News Daily.

Ernst, the vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, told Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily host Alex Marlow about her new legislation to rein in government agencies’ advertising budget. The bill, known as the Stop Wasteful Advertising by the Government (SWAG) Act, prohibits the federal government from spending money to create a “mascot” to promote an agency, as well as producing swag such as fidget spinners, koozies, and mascots.

“I am rolling out a new bill in my efforts to hold the federal government more accountable and watch our spending,” Ernst said. “It is called the SWAG Act. It is the Stop Wasteful Advertising by the Government Act, and what a lot of folks don’t realize is that the federal government spends over $1.4 billion on public relations and advertising campaigns. That is twice the amount that is dedicated to breast cancer research, and while I’m all about the mascots and things like that of course as an Iowa State Cyclone fan and you know what? For the federal government, there’s really no justifications spending a quarter of a million dollars in taxpayer money on mascots and millions more on swag.”

“So what the bill will do is that it will prohibit agencies from purchasing and distributing swag, like coloring books, koozies, fidget spinners, and of course, creating their own mascots,” the Iowa senator added.

The SWAG Act will also require agencies to disclose spending on public relations and advertising spending.

Government agencies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on tote bags and other swag, which includes:

  • $605,000 for coloring books
  • $60,000 for key chains
  • $33,000 for snuggies
  • $17,000 for koozies
  • $16,000 for fidget spinners

The government’s advertising budget does not merely amount to freebies; the State Department spent $630,000 to purchase fake Facebook fans and paid for social media influencers on a two-week trip across the world to promote American values. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spent roughly $10,000 producing zombie apocalypse survival guides.

Marlow noted that the Department of Energy (DOE) spent $5,000 on a mascot called the “Green Reaper.”

“Your heart breaks that this is what our country is spending” taxpayers’ money on, Marlow said.

“We don’t need the Green Reaper. We don’t need to be spending upwards of $605,000 on coloring books, you know; this is not what we should be spending on as a federal government,” Ernst said.

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 6:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M. Eastern.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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