House Republicans demand answers from Kennedy Center after it lays off workers, despite stimulus money

by Jordyn Pair · Apr 7th, 2020 4:09 pm

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are wanting answers after the Kennedy Center announced it was furloughing employees, even after it accepted $25 million from the coronavirus stimulus package.

"These layoffs, whether temporary or not, are counter to the spirit of the CARES Act and are concerning to Congress," GOP representatives said in a letter to Kennedy Center Director Timothy O'Leary sent on Tuesday. "...If the Kennedy Center is required to furlough its employees, it should return a portion of money Democrats fought so hard to secure."

The letter — signed by Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Carol Miller (R-WV), Mark Green (R-TN), Greg Steube (R-FL), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), and Fred Keller (R-PA) — demands the center explain "any and all furloughs, layoffs, or reductions in pay," as well as provide a plan to prevent similar measures going forward and a "delineated explanation of expenses" for the center.

The center previously said it was using $12,750,000 for employee pay, $7,500,000 for employee benefits, $1,750,000 for artists' contracts and fees, $1 million for rent and utilities, $750,000 for information technology, $250,000 for IT improvements, $250,000 for cleaning, and $750,000 for "Other Admin Expenses."

"The public's perception is that the Kennedy Center leadership took taxpayer funding and left their employees holding the bag," Gibbs said in a statement. "Congress, and more importantly the public, deserves answers to the questionable decisions made to furlough employees after receiving funding to prevent that."


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