This staff report by the Committee on Natural Resources' Majority staff's Office of Oversight and Investigations has examined the activities of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, the unprecedented process used to select the proposed memorial's design, the winning design's repeated failure to satisfy all legal requirements, and the unanticipated costs and delays due to controversial elements of the selected design, among other topics. While there is no question President and General Eisenhower is worthy of a memorial honoring his tremendous accomplishments, our oversight has identified significant questions that undermine the viability of the current design and the Memorial Commission's ability to see a memorial to completion. The Majority's investigation found:
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The design continues to fall short of the required design principles that were established in 2006 and the requirements of the Commemorative Works Act. Given these ongoing shortcomings, the design has not yet received the approvals necessary to begin construction.
Approximately $41 million has been spent or obligated so far, including almost $16.4 million for the designer and more than $13.3 million to the multiple parties responsible for managing the design process and providing administrative support.
The process used to select Frank Gehry as the designer substantially deviated from the standard Design Excellence Program, and the factors used to select the designer were weighted in a way that benefited a well-known designer such as Gehry.
The design jury that evaluated the proposals characterized the designs as "mediocre" and found "[n]one of the visions expressed the whole essence of Eisenhower." The jury's recommendation to do an additional round of submissions was ignored, and Gehry's design was still selected. The problems identified in 2009 by the jury remain in the current design proposal.
The criteria necessary for any Memorial design to be approved were clearly laid out as early as 2006, yet the design Gehry continues to propose and the Commission supports fails to meet those required design principles.
The Commission awarded several contracts for support services through sole source selection with no open competition.
Executive Summary * Introduction * Tribute to Dwight D. Eisenhower * Establishment of an Eisenhower Memorial * Summary of Oversight Findings * Longstanding Controversy Surrounding the Design Selection * Overview of Eisenhower Memorial Contracts * Plethora of Other Contracts and Management Support Expenses * More Sole Source Selections * Expensive Design Heightens Need for Fundraising * Ongoing Controversy and Uncertainty about Tapestry Design * Costs for Upkeep of Metal Tapestries Also Unclear * Conclusion * Viability of Memorial Design Remains in Question * Current Design Still Does Not Satisfy Legal Requirements * Costly Exercise and Still no Worthy Tribute * Appendix A: Appropriated Monies * Appendix B: Gehry Contract and Modifications * Appendix C: Gilbane Contract and Modifications