WASHINGTON — The federal government is stepping into the labor mural controversy in Maine, demanding that the state either put the artwork back up at the Department of Labor or repay the cost of the mural.
In a letter first obtained by the Associated Press, Gay Gilbert, a senior U.S. Labor Department official, writes that the federal government appropriated the funds to Maine for the mural.
“We understand, however, that the mural is no longer on display in your headquarters,” writes Gilbert. “Thus, it is no longer being used for an administrative purpose permitted by the Reed Act. Accordingly […] the state must […] return to its UTF [Unemployment Trust Fund] account the amount of the Reed Act funds represented by the mural.”