May 17, 2013
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) and Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) sent letters to the National Park Service, General Services Administration, and Eisenhower Memorial Commission seeking information about the activities and costs associated with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission and the current design and construction of the planned presidential Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The current plan for the Memorial, created by architecture firm Gehry Partners, LLP, has faced intense scrutiny for both a poor, flawed design and potential construction and maintenance costs. Subcommittee Chairman Bishop has introduced legislation, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Completion Act, that would implement a new design competition and eliminate nearly $100 million in future funding the Commission has said would be needed to build the Memorial as currently designed The bill would also provide a three-year extension of the site designation approved by Congress in 2006, which included a seven-year sunset on the site.
At a Subcommittee hearing last March, Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Eisenhower, expressed concern that the cost, scale, and design of the planned Memorial are not in keeping with President Eisenhower’s values and do not enjoy a consensus of support.
Since 1999, Congress has appropriated $63 million in taxpayer funds for the design of the Memorial and operations of the Commission, and the Commission has requested an additional $51 million in Fiscal Year 2014 to begin construction.
“Many outstanding questions remain about the accounting of millions of taxpayer dollars, and a full accounting of the funds is necessary before we can move forward with this project in any way. Right now, the accountability of the Commission and the integrity of the process remains in question, and I look forward to the responses to these letters. The bottom line is that the Eisenhower Memorial must be an appropriate and fitting tribute to one of our nation's greatest leaders and it must be done the right way,” said Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop.
In the letters, the Chairmen seek specific information on how appropriated funds for the Memorial and Commission have already been spent and clarification on the costs and future liabilities that could result if the Commission were to move forward with the current design.
“Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars have already been spent on a design that is inherently flawed and does not even have the support of President Eisenhower’s family. These letters seek to hold these agencies and the Commission accountable and provide greater clarity of how this money has been spent. Meanwhile, I will continue to work with Rep. Bishop to move forward with his legislation to seek a new design and build consensus around constructing an appropriate memorial for President Eisenhower,” said Chairman Doc Hastings.
- Click here to view the letter to National Park Service.
- Click here to view the letter to the General Services Administration.
- Click here to view the letter to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.