They say "knowledge is power," but does it have to be so expensive?

Ask the U.S. Department of Labor, which spent $100,000 promoting a book club that may or may not have made agency employees smarter.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wants Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to account for that expense and others that the California Republican views as frivolous.

Documents released Tuesday by the committee described Labor Department spending between 2009 and the present that, besides the book club, included nearly $25,000 in entry fees for public relations contests.

The department submitted 168 contest entries at a cost of $2,300 per application; 83 of the entries were given awards, according to Issa in a letter to Perez.

The department began displaying posters in 23 elevators in its Washington headquarters in 2009 that were officially described as an "effective method of communicating with employees."

The posters cost more than $600,000, according to Issa.

The department also spent an undisclosed amount of taxpayer money to hire the Washington Nationals mascot for an employee event, as well as what Issa called an "inordinate amount of time and money" on an internal publication for employees called Frances magazine.

The "Frances" reference is to Frances Perkins, who was secretary of labor under President Franklin Roosevelt from 1933 until 1945.

Read the Issa letter to Perez here.