America Needs a War on Waste

From OpentheBooks.com:

100 Examples of Federal Taxpayer Abuse

Reading all 100 of these would drive your blood pressure straight through the roof, so feel free to scan a few of them at your leisure to see some the most wasteful and ridiculous ways the government spends our tax dollars. Some of these were included in my post last week about their methods of use it or lose it. My comments are in red.

THE PENTAGON PAYS MORE THAN $1,000 FOR A SINGLE COFFEE CUP

FY2018 | U.S. AIR FORCE | The Pentagon admitted to spending $1,220 on a single coffee cup. According to Travis Air Force Base Website. “In 2016, the 60th Aerial Port Squadron purchased 10 hot cups for $9,630. The price for each cup surged from $693 to $1,220 in 2018 resulting in a total expenditure of $32,000 for 25 cups. That’s a price jump of $527 per cup which leads to some pricey hot water,” (July 2018).

USDA SPENDS MILLIONS SUBSIDIZING CRICKET FARMS FOR HUMANS TO EAT BUGS

FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | According to USAspending.gov search results (May 2, 2017) Bugeater Labs received Department of Agriculture funding. The University of Nebraska Omaha College of Business Administration website published an article on April 28, 2017, titled “Bugeater Foods,” explaining the funding.

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION PAYS TO PUT RUNNING SHRIMP ON A TREADMILL

FY2012-FY2017 | NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION | National Science Foundation (NSF) funded an experiment that tested how sickness impaired shrimp mobility by putting the crustaceans on a treadmill made an uproar in the media and in Congress nearly five years ago. Yet the NSF has once again given tax dollars to the same researchers to put the would-be seafood on a cardiovascular workout regime. The investigators – Louis and Karen Burnett – measure the crustaceans’ responses to low oxygen and high carbon dioxide environments in a variety of ways and would also test their reactions “when performing energetically demanding activities,” according to the award abstract. “The energetically demanding activities will be conducted with the aid of a treadmill, as the technique is effective and will help to make the data comparable to previous studies,” Arriens said.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER PAYMENTS DISTRIBUTED BY 20 FEDERAL AGENCIES – $1.2 TRILLION

FY2004–FY2017 | CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE |Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled “Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief.” Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. In the summary, Hatch writes, “Over the period of FY2004 through FY2017, high priority improper payments have totaled $1.2 trillion.”

MISTAKES & IMPROPER MEDICARE PAYMENTS – $387 BILLION (f we made these kinds of mistakes in the real world, we wouldn’t have jobs)

FY2004–FY2017 | HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES | Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled “Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief.” Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows Medicare (Fee for Service) improper payments amounted to $387 billion between FY2004-FY2017.

USE IT OR LOSE IT SPENDING – $50 BILLION

FINAL WEEK FY2017 | ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES | In the final seven days of fiscal year 2017, 67 federal agencies spent $50 billion to close out their budgets. It was a massive shop-until-you-drop, taxpayer funded spending spree. Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found that roughly one out of every nine dollars in federal contracts disclosed by the executive and military agencies in FY2017 was spent during last week of the fiscal year – between September 24-30, 2017. Eight departments – including the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, State, and Justice – each spent over $1 billion. On September 19, 2018, these findings were published in a piece by Marketplace.

BUYING BOOZE FOR EMBASSIES AROUND THE WORLD – $79,000

FINAL WEEK FY2017 | STATE DEPARTMENT |On October 3, 2018, we published an editorial at Forbes, titled “Use It or Lose It – Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week in Year-End Spending Spree.” Using data compiled by OpenTheBooks.com via the Freedom of Information Act, we quantified $79,000 in alcohol expenditures at the Department of State between September 24 and 30, 2017.

PURCHASING FIDGET SPINNERS – $6,600

FINAL WEEK FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE | On October 3, 2017, we published an editorial at Forbes, titled “Use It or Lose It – Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week in Year-End Spending Spree.” Using data compiled by OpenTheBooks.com via the Freedom of Information Act, we quantified $6,600 in ‘fidget spinner’ expenditures at the Department of Defense between September 24 and 30, 2017. On September 19, 2018, these findings were published in a piece by Marketplace.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER MEDICAID PAYMENTS – $234 BILLION (Again – we’d be fired)

FY2004–FY2017 | HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES |Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled “Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief.” Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows Medicaid improper payments amounted to $234 billion between FY2004-FY2017.

IVY LEAGUE COLLEGES – $42 BILLION

FY2010–2015 | FEDERAL PAYMENTS, SUBSIDIES, TAX–BREAKS | ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES | In March 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Ivy League, Inc. In this report, we quantified all federal payments, subsidies, and tax breaks for the eight Ivy League schools between FY2010-FY2015. The Ivy League schools have $120 billion in accumulated endowment funds. Our findings launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer-Riley titled, Ivy League Doesn’t Need Taxpayer Help. Our findings were also

cited in the Boston Globe as providing research to congress as they instituted a new ‘excessive endowments’ tax in December 2017.

SEX ED FOR PROSTITUTES IN CALIFORNIA – $1.4 MILLION (Don’t they already know how?)

FY2016 | BARBARA LEE | CALIFORNIA–13 | DEMOCRAT |Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 5, the report details the $1.4 million grant to the California Prostitutes Education Project from the Department of Health and Human Services.

COLLEGES OF BEAUTY & COSMETOLOGY – $677.4 MILLION

FY2017–2018 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION |Our upcoming OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Education (expected release date: October 2018) quantifies all FY2017 Department of Education funding flowing to colleges of beauty, hair, and cosmetology. These payments are primarily comprised of student loans and Pell grants. Because of the federal money, we found that these beauty colleges are, many times, charging more tuition than Big Ten Universities.

AVERAGE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE RECEIVES 43 DAYS PAID TIME OFF – $22.6 BILLION

FY2016 | U.S. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp quantified the taxpayer cost of federal employees’ benefits package. In the report, there is a section titled “Time Off and Benefits,” beginning on page 11. The average federal bureaucrat receives 10 holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days. That’s 43 days of paid time off each year.

35,212 FEDERAL LAWYERS – $4.8 BILLION

FY2017 | OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp analyzed the most popular and taxpayer expensive federal employee job titles. On page 16, there is a case study detailing the annual taxpayer cost ($4.8 billion) of employing 35,212 federal lawyers. Only 12,000 of those lawyers are pursuing crime and criminals at the Department of Justice.

3,618 FEDERAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICERS – $368.4 MILLION

FY2017 | 202 FEDERAL AGENCIES | OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT |Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp analyzed the most popular and taxpayer expensive federal employee job titles. On page 17, there is a case study detailing the annual taxpayer cost ($368.4 million) of employing 3,618 federal public affairs officers. There are approximately 5,000 public relations officers employed by all federal agencies, but only 3,618 are disclosed.

160,000 DEFAULTED SBA LOANS – $24.2 BILLION

SINCE 2000 | SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION | In September 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report – Truth in Lending, quantifying the 160,000 defaulted Small Business Administration (SBA) loans doled out between 2000 and 2015, costing taxpayers $24.2 billion. Search all bad loans in your own ZIP Code, or any ZIP Code across America, on our interactive mapping platform.

LUXURY ARTWORK PURCHASES – $20 MILLION

FY2007–FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS |In a joint investigation with COX Media Washington, D.C., OpenTheBooks published an editorial at Forbes on July 26, 2016, titled “The VA’s Luxury Art Obsession.” The editorial exposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ array of luxury artwork purchases over a ten-year period cost taxpayers $20 million. Our story was aired on Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley wrote an oversight letter to then-VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who apologized for the purchases and instituted new rules to stop the purchases on a go-forward basis.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER STUDENT LOANS AND GRANTS – $12 BILLION

FY2016–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION |Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled “Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief.” Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows direct student loans improper payments amounted to $11 billion between FY2016-FY2017. The mistaken payments were in pell grants ($4.4 billion) and student loans ($7.8 billion).

SBA LOANS TO EXCLUSIVE CLUBS (COUNTRY CLUBS, YACHT CLUBS, ETC.) – $161 MILLION

FY2007–FY2013 | SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION | In September 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report – Truth in Lending, detailing examples of the Small Business Administration (SBA) doling out small business loans to country clubs, yacht clubs, golf courses, and other exclusive entities. This continued our oversight we kicked off in 2014 of the SBA.

PURCHASING $800 PENCIL HOLDERS | $7,000 EXECUTIVE DESKS

FY2015 | ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY | On October 1, 2015, our editorial at Forbes titled, “The EPA Spends How Much on Office Furniture? Try $92 Million Over the Past Decade,” revealed $92 million in upscale furniture purchases over a 10-year period at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, we published an OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with further analysis on the agency’s spending records. The Washington Times conferred a ‘golden hammer’ award on the EPA for the purchases described herein.

CIGAR TASTE TEST – $114,375

FY2016 | ROBERT SCOTT | VIRGINIA–3 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 5, the report details the $114,375 grant to Virginia Commonwealth University from the Department of Health and Human Services.

PROFESSIONAL GOLFERS CAREER COLLEGE – $4.5 MILLION (more loans & Pell grants)

FY2014–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | Our upcoming OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Education (expected release date: October 2018) quantifies all FY2017 Department of Education funding flowing to the Professional Golfers Career College. These payments are primarily comprised of student loans and Pell grants.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER FARM SUBSIDY PAYMENTS – $3.7 BILLION

FY2004–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE |Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled “Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief.” Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows USDA Crop Insurance improper payments amounted to $3.7 billion between FY2004-FY2017.

USING E–DIARIES TO COPE WITH MICROAGGRESSIONS – $173,089

FY2016 | ADAM KINZINGER | ILLINOIS–16 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $173,089 grant to Northern Illinois University from the Department of Health and Human Services for these e-diaries.

DANCING WITH 15–FOOT FISH – $10,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES |In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 10, the report details the $10,000 grant to the Collage Dance Theatre in Los Angeles.

MEDITATION BREATHING MOBILE APP – $687,989

FY2016 | JIM CLYBURN | SOUTH CAROLINA–6 | DEMOCRAT |Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $687,989 grant to the Medical University of South Carolina from the Department of Health and Human Services.

FARM SUBSIDIES INTO URBAN AREAS – $626 MILLION

FY2015–2017 | POPULATION OVER 250K | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE |Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, quantifies all federal farm subsidies flowing to urban areas with populations exceeding 250,000 between FY2015-FY2017.

FARM SUBSIDIES INTO AMERICA’S 150 MOST EXPENSIVE ZIP CODES – $4.8 MILLION (So Beverly Hills has farms – who knew?)

FY2017 | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE |Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, quantifies all federal farm subsidies flowing to America’s most expensive ZIP codes according to Forbes between FY2015-FY2017. These ZIP Codes include those in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, CA; Palm Beach, FL; Park City, UT; and many other wealthy areas across America.

389 FARM SUBSIDY RECIPIENTS OF $1 MILLION+ – $667 MILLION

FY2017 | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE |Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, quantifies the number of federal farm subsidy recipients pulling down $1 million or more in fiscal year FY2017 payments. Reviewing those farming entities who received over $1 million during the past 10-years (since 2008), we found over 6,600 entities received up to $23 million. Search our interactive map of all $1 million recipients of federal farm subsidies from over 60 USDA programs displayed by ZIP Code across America.

12 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS COLLECTED FARM SUBSIDY PAYMENTS – $637,059 (This one ought to pizz you off big time – double dipping much?)

FY2017 | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | When conducting research for our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, our team found 12 members of Congress collecting farm subsidy payments in FY2017. These members of congress sit on the agriculture committee, craft farm policy, vote on the subsidies, and then collect the subsidies. Our Honorary Chairman Dr. Tom Coburn, while in congress, complained to the ethics committee.

FUNDING A FREQUENTLY INVESTIGATED CHILDCARE FACILITY IN TEXAS – $5 MILLION

FY2014-2016 | DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES |Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $5 million in federal grant dollars given to the Shiloh Treatment Center in FY2016 alone. NPR investigated this center and allegations of medicating children.

WHERE IT HURTS THE MOST TO BE STUNG BY BEE – $1 MILLION (Seriously??)

FY2015 | NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION | Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona published a report, titled “Twenty Questions: Government Studies That Will Leave You Scratching Your Head.” On page 7, the report details the $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a study asking “Where does it hurt the most to be stung by a bee?”

NON–MILITARY AGENCIES PURCHASE GUNS, AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY–STYLE EQUIPMENT – $2.2 BILLION (Some of you will remember keeping up with these a few years ago)

FY2006–FY2017 | 67 NON–MILITARY FEDERAL AGENCIES | In July 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America, quantifying all non-military federal agency purchases of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment between FY2006-FY2014. On October 20, 2017, we published updated numbers (FY2006-FY2017) in an editorial at Forbes, titled “Why Are Federal Bureaucrats Buying Guns and Ammo? $158 Million Spent by Non-Military Agencies.”

IRS PURCHASE OF GUNS, AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY–STYLE EQUIPMENT – $15.5 MILLION

FY2006–FY2017 | INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE | In July 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America, quantifying all non-military federal agency purchases of guns, ammunition, and military equipment between FY2006-FY2014. On October 20, 2017, we published updated numbers (FY2006-FY2017) in an editorial at Forbes, titled “Why Are Federal Bureaucrats Buying Guns and Ammo? $158 Million Spent by Non-Military Agencies.” In both studies, we quantified all Internal Revenue Service (IRS) purchases of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment.

VA PURCHASE OF GUNS, AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY–STYLE EQUIPMENT – $17.5 MILLION

FY2006–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | In July 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America, quantifying all non-military federal agency purchases of guns, ammunition, and military equipment between FY2006-FY2014. On October 20, 2017, we published updated numbers (FY2006-FY2017) in an editorial at Forbes, titled “Why Are Federal Bureaucrats Buying Guns and Ammo? $158 Million Spent by Non-Military Agencies.” In both studies, we quantified all Veterans Affairs (VA) purchases of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment.

FLEET OF ARMORED VEHICLES – $1.5 MILLION

FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES |On October 3, 2018, we published an editorial at Forbes, titled “Use It or Lose It – Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week in Year-End Spending Spree.” Using data compiled by OpenTheBooks.com via the Freedom of Information Act, we identified a $1.5 million contract between Square One and the Department of Health and Human Services during the week of September 24 through 30, 2018.

TALKING TO SAGUARO CACTUS – $10,000 (at least they didn’t dance with it like they did the fish)

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES |In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 10, the report details the $10,000 grant to the Collage Dance Theatre in Los Angeles. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

USING SOAP OPERAS TO REDUCE HIV IN URBAN BLACK WOMEN – $567,529

FY2016 | MIKE CAPUANO | MASSACHUSETTS–7 | DEMOCRAT |Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $567,529 grant given to Northeastern University from the Department of Health and Human Services.

27’ ARTIFICAL CHRISTMAS TREE – $21,500

FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS |In a joint investigation with COX Media Washington, D.C., OpenTheBooks published an editorial at Forbes on July 26, 2016, titled “The VA’s Luxury Art Obsession.” The editorial exposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ array of luxury artwork purchases over a ten-year period cost taxpayers $20 million, including a 27-foot artificial Christmas tree. Our story was aired on Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley wrote an oversight letter to then-VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who apologized for the purchases and instituted new rules to stop the purchases on a go-forward basis.

STUDY: HOW FACEBOOK AFFECTS ALCOHOL USE – $147,686 (I could have told them that at half the price)

FY2016 | JIM MCDERMOTT | WASHINGTON–7 | DEMOCRAT |Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $147,686 grant given to the University of Washington from the Department of Health and Human Services.

SPACE RACERS: AN ANIMATED CHILDREN’S CARTOON – $2.5 MILLION

FY2016 | MO BROOKS | ALABAMA–5 | REPUBLICAN |Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $2.5 million grant given to the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission from NASA.

~~~~~~~~~

That’s not all of them, but you can click on the link at the top of the page to read the rest of them. If you have any sanity left, I suggest you ignore them.

~Kathy



Categories: Political

Tags: , ,

4 replies

  1. It’s an infuriating list, Kathy. As far as I’m concerned the money was stolen. If the taxpayers unwittingly pay $500 for a cup of coffee that some gov’t Bozo drinks, that means someone took $500 for a cup of coffee and was willing to cheat his fellow citizens. Some are getting rich while others are counting on promises of Social Security and Medicare but are going to be told that the money isn’t there. Meanwhile, our complaints and outrage fall on deaf ears. If you can’t get anyone in congress to agree on cutting ludicrous wealth transfer schemes like those listed above, there is no way around the fact that fiscal ruination is just a matter of time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it is infuriating and no matter how many of us point it out, as Tom Coburn did for years, nothing ever changes, except that the waste grows bigger. They spend like there’s no tomorrow, and at this rate, there might not be.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Too much! It’s what happens when govern,ent is too big and money is flowing and unelected persons are in charge. #DeepState

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, way too much, yet every time they talk about cutting costs, the first thing they come after is Social Security and Medicare. If they’d just cut out all this nonsense and the foreign aid to countries that hate us, we’d be in great shape.

      Liked by 2 people

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