Portraits of Senate leaders are almost always paid for with taxpayer money, at a cost of up to $70,000 each. By contrast, portraits of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush – unveiled on Friday [December 19] – were paid for with private donations.Government waste knows no bounds.
In the Senate, portraits traditionally are commissioned for the majority and minority leaders, and former members who have been out of the Senate for 25 years who are chosen by a special commission of the Senate Rules Committee, said Donald Ritchie, the Senate historian.
The funds for those paintings come from a taxpayer-funded curator’s budget....
...[T]he tradition of portraiture of U.S. government officials goes back more than 200 years and...many lawmakers think the tradition is a way to maintain continuity between offices.
Many federal agencies also commission portraits for their top officials, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget...