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Single Article: Toward Generalizing about Congressional Control over Agency PR: The Failure of Spending Limits on Pentagon PR, 1951-1959

Author: MORDECAI LEE
Published in PAQ, Vol. 36 No. 3

Government agencies use public relations (PR) to promote their standing with public opinion as a way to achieve autonomy. In turn, Congress has engaged in multiple efforts to control agency PR. This article examines a heretofore unreported major effort by Congress in the 1950s to control military PR spending, as well as a minor follow-up in the 1970s and -80s. The previous literature has documented the relative ineffectiveness of other Congressional efforts to control agency PR. This historical recounting confirms the generalizations of the extant literature, namely that legislative efforts to control agency PR are largely ineffective. This confirmation contributes to increased documentation of patterns of governing authority in the literature of American Political Development.

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