Congress, Angry At Smithsonian's Deal With Showtime, Cuts Its Budget
One of the effects of the controversial deal between the Smithsonian Institution and Showtime has been a cut of $5.3 million from the museum's proposed budget, the Washington Post reported today (Friday). The newspaper said that N. Carolina Congressman Charles H. Taylor, who chairs the subcommittee that oversees the government's contribution to the Smithsonian's budget, has sent a letter to Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small, expressing disapproval of the deal. The subcommittee has also included language in the appropriation bill forbidding the Smithsonian from entering any new contract that would "limit access by the public." Taylor further expressed indignation over not being consulted about the deal with Showtime. Wisconsin Congressman David R. Obey, the ranking minority member of the full House Appropriations Committee, told the Post: "No matter what Mr. Small is paid, and he is paid an exorbitant rate for someone running a public institution, he does not have the right to virtually sell the Smithsonian collections."