Texas senator warns Obama against 'politicization of the NEA' LA Times / Arts September 10, 2009 | 4:00 pm Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) issued an open letter Wednesday asking President Obama to "take the necessary steps to ensure that the NEA and the American arts community it supports remain independent from political manipulation by the White House." Texas senator warns Obama against 'politicization of the NEA'* | Culture Monster | Los Angeles Times Before anyone starts with name calling and nay saying this is what caught my eye: The invitation, Courrielche wrote, said the meeting's agenda was for "a group of artists, producers, promoters, organizers, influencers, marketers, taste-makers, leaders or just plain cool people to join together and work together to promote a more civicly engaged America and celebrate how the arts can be used for a positive change," and "to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda -- health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal." According to Courrielche, Yosi Sergant, who is listed on the NEA's website as communications director, was among those in charge of the teleconference. During the discussion, Courrielche said, the group of about 75 invitees was congratulated for having "played a key role in the election and now Obama was putting out the call of service to help create change." Sergant did not return phone calls or an e-mailed request for comment on Wednesday and Thursday. Sally Gifford, a spokeswoman for the NEA, said Thursday that Sergant is a staff member, but not the communications director. Asked whether he had been demoted in connection with the controversy over the teleconference, Gifford said she couldn't comment on "personnel matters."