A congressional subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on the controversial design proposed for the Eisenhower Memorial, a sign that opponents -- which includes the Eisenhower family -- might be gaining steam in their quest for a new design.
The U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands announced Monday that it was holding an oversight hearing on the Eisenhower Memorial, which it has jurisdiction over because the memorial is on park property next to the National Mall.
"As currently designed it doesn't reflect the President and General Eisenhower, so we are just looking to see if this is a good use of federal money and oversight in general," said Crystal Feldman, a subcommittee spokeswoman.
The hearing is scheduled for March 20 and Feldman said the Eisenhowers will be among those invited to testify on the memorial designed by famed architect Frank Gehry. The family has said it finds the main theme of the memorial, his depiction as a barefoot boy from Kansas, offensive to his legacy as a two-term president and a supreme commander during World War II.
Additionally, the National Park Service, the National Capital Planning Commission and the Eisenhower Memorial Commission -- which selected Gehry -- will be invited, she said.
The National Civic Art Society, an outspoken opponent of the design featuring 80-foot-tall stainless steel-woven tapestries, will also be asked to speak.
Eric Wind, the secretary and chairman emeritus of the society, said he was "encouraged" by the hearing. Last month the society published a report on the memorial that asserts the process to select the memorial's architect was tailor-made for Gehry.
"Our research has uncovered a number of inconsistencies in the record and we are excited to explain that to Congress," Wind said.
And the inquiry might not stop at the subcommittee -- last week Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sent a letter to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission requesting copies of the architectural designs and "a detailed description of the process leading to acceptance" of Gehry's design, including a breakdown of all related votes.
Issa, who chairs the House of Representatives' principal investigative committee, also asked the memorial commission to preserve all documents related to the design. A staffer for the congressman called it a "good indication" that more serious questions could come.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., was the first representative to issue a letter asking the planning commission for a delay in approving the memorial. Last week, Reps. Dan Lungren, R- Calif., and Aaron Schock, R-Ill., penned a joint letter to the commission echoing Wolf's protest.