Statement on Federal Audiovisual Aids and Publications

April 20, 1981

Today, I'm asking the heads of all Federal departments and agencies to impose an immediate moratorium on the production and procurement of new audiovisual aids and Government publications. The Federal Government is spending too much money on public relations, publicity, and advertising. Much of this waste consists of unnecessary and expensive films, magazines, and pamphlets.

I am keeping the pledge I made to this country to cut out wasteful spending by the Federal Government. While we have a duty to keep the citizens of this country accurately and fully informed about government programs and activities, we should not use this as a license to produce films, pamphlets, and magazines that do not truly serve the public interest.

Over the past few months, many of you have sent examples to us of publications and pamphlets, most of them unsolicited, that you felt were useless and a waste of the taxpayers' dollars. We are grateful for this contribution to our efforts to eliminate waste in this area. Additionally, some Federal agencies have already conducted their own reviews of public relations activity. Their investigations indicate that there is potential for significant savings from a review of this type in all our departments and agencies.

I am asking the heads of agencies and departments to impose a government-wide moratorium on these activities so that a comprehensive review of current and planned spending may be conducted. I am asking the head of each department and agency to develop specific plans to prevent abuses in the future. I have instructed the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to issue procedures and guidelines to carry out the directive, to assist agencies in developing plans, and to monitor the savings. I am requesting that all departments and agencies begin their reviews immediately and report their progress and plans no later than July 15, 1981.

During these difficult economic times, we cannot afford to waste time and money on activities that have limited benefit to the people of this country. Controlling spending on public relations, publicity, and advertising is an important contribution to our overall goal of cutting out waste in the Federal Government.