Gov’t Waste

Click HERE for a printable version to send to your representatives and friends.

wastebookThe Congressional Pig Book is CAGW’s (Citizens Against Government Waste ) annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. A “pork” project is a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition.  Read the report HERE.

Feds Subsidized Housing for ‘Nonexistent Tenants’

The Department of Housing and Urban Development spent over $500,000 on apartments for people who “did not exist,” according to the agency’s inspector general.

An audit released last month found that managers of Section 8 housing in Jefferson County, Texas, defrauded the government by stealing the identities of former tenants and falsifying incomes.

Read more HERE.

Feds Spending $32,000 for Poetry Slams, Puppet Shows in Hyderabad

The State Department is spending $32,000 for poetry slams and puppet shows in Hyderabad, India.

The U.S. embassy in India is accepting grant applications for the “Arts for Social Change” project that will involve 20 performances about the environment, tolerance, and other issues.

Read more HERE.

Feds Dole Out $3 Million To Fight “Microaggressions” In Science Fields

The National Science Foundation (NSF) gave out more than three million dollars to fight “implicit bias,” “microaggressions,” and “lack of diversity” in STEM fields this July.

Founded by Congress in 1950, the NSF is a federal agency that seeks to “promote the progress of science” by funding research and collaborating with scientists, according to its website. This month alone, the NSF has funded at least three social-justice themed projects, which together cost taxpayers $3,173,684.

Read more HERE.

$2 Million Obama-Era Program Gets 17 People Jobs

A government-funded job training program that promised to turn hundreds of residents of Kentucky’s coal country into computer coders so far has spent $2 million to place 17 people in tech jobs and may have left others worse off, The Daily Signal has learned.

The program, a private-public partnership between state and federal agencies and Interapt, a Louisville-based software development company, is a product of President Barack Obama’s TechHire Initiative of 2015.

Read more HERE.

Feds Issued $171 Million in Improper Payments to People With More Than One SSN

The Social Security Administration issued nearly $200 million in improper payments by paying people twice for their benefits.

The inspector general for the agency found that individuals with more than one Social Security Number received $171 million, according to a new audit. In many cases, the payments were issued to SSNs held by deceased individuals.

Read more HERE.

Anti-Poverty CEOs Paid $4.8 Million Total In TAX PAYER MONEY

Top officials with 14 anti-poverty nonprofits were paid as much as $869,900 as their organizations were enriched with $900 million of taxpayer money, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s (TheDCNF) Investigative Group has found.

The activist groups received as much as 85 percent of their revenue from federal, state and local governments and collectively spent millions on lobbying, TheDCNF’s analysis found. Also, half of the charities’ CEOs made political contributions – nearly all of which was to Democratic candidates.

Read more HERE.

Sessions Announces ‘Largest Health Care Fraud Takedown’ In American History

Federal prosecutors charged hundreds of people for defrauding health care programs of more than $1 billion Thursday and illegally flooding the black market with opioids.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the offenders ripped off Medicare and Medicaid along with the health insurance program servicing U.S. veterans. The Department of Justice charged 412 people for the fraud, including nearly 300 health care providers, who were also either suspended or banned from federal health care programs over the violations, reports CNBC.

Read more HERE.

‘We Simply Don’t Know’ How Much Medicare Fraud There Is

The Medicare program made at least $60 billion in improper payments last year, and government officials need to address the billing and documentation errors to prevent further waste of taxpayer funds, auditors told Congress Wednesday.

Medicare has an error rate of 10 percent, meaning payments to private health providers are either too high, too low, or completely unwarranted in cases of fraud.

Read more HERE.

IRS Awards Obamacare Premium Tax Credits Without Verifying Citizenship or Lawfully Present Status

The Internal Revenue Service awards Obamacare premium tax credits to individuals without verifying that they are legally present in the United States or checking their citizenship status, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

When individuals purchase health insurance in the Obamacare marketplace, they may be eligible to receive a refundable credit that helps them cover their premium. In order to qualify, an individual must be a citizen of the United States or lawfully present.

Read more HERE.

DOE Officials Let An Employee Charge Taxpayers For His $138K Law Degree

An Energy Department engineer got the agency to foot the $138,000 bill for law school courses that “were unrelated to his position,” according to federal auditors.

The engineer “left the Department for work in the private sector shortly after receiving his law degree in May 2013,” investigators found, because Energy Department officials “had not considered the use of a continued service agreement for this employee despite the fact that he had taken extensive training at considerable cost.”

Read more HERE.

Feds Spend $27,009 on Fireworks Safety Video

The Consumer Product Safety Commission held its annual fireworks safety demonstration on the national mall last Tuesday, where the federal agency blows up dummies and warns of the dangers of sparklers.

The government’s tips this year include: Do not put bottle rockets on top of your head or look directly over a mortar shell. Little girls should also not light their friends’ dresses on fire with a sparkler.

Read more HERE.

EPA-Funded Research Lab Accused Of Fabricating Data On Respiratory Illnesses

Duke University has admitted that one of its lab technicians falsified or fabricated research data on respiratory illnesses that were used to get large grants from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The admission came Sunday in legal filings that respond to a federal whistleblower lawsuit, which the school tried to get dismissed, by former lab analyst Joseph Thomas, according to the Durham Herald-Sun. Thomas claims in his lawsuit that the allegedly fake research data of Erin Potts-Kant, who worked eight years at a Duke medical school lab, was used by the prestigious university and some of its professors to fraudulently obtain federal grants. Thomas also claims Duke tried to hide the alleged fraud.

Read more HERE.

Phones for Dead People: GAO Report Uncovers Massive Fraud in ‘Obamaphone’ Program

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that the infamous “Obamaphone” program, meant to provide low-income Americans phone and internet service, is riddled with waste, fraud, and abuse.

A three-year investigation into the controversial Lifeline Program, requested by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), says some 10.6 million Americans have an Obamaphone and more than 3.8 million or 36 percent of them may not be eligible.

Read More HERE.

Theater That Put On Trump Assassination Play Gets New $100,000 Grant

The Public Theater in New York has received an additional $100,000 grant from the federal government, fresh off its controversy for staging a Julius Caesar production where a Donald Trump lookalike is assassinated.

Just days after controversy over the graphic mock Trump killing began, the National Endowment for the Arts announced its newest round of grants.

Read more HERE.

Center Connected to Rep. Bobby Rush’s Church Has Received $15 Million in Gov’t Grants

A wellness center connected to a church founded by Illinois Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush has received $650,000 in taxpayer-funded government grants in 2017, public records show and has pulled in more than $15 million in grants since 2008.

Rush, who was first elected to Congress in 1992, founded the Beloved Community Christian Church, a non-denominational church located in Chicago, in 2002.

Read more HERE.

EPA Ends $1 Million Taxpayer-Funded Gym Membership Program

The Environmental Protection Agency has ended a nearly $1 million program that provided gym memberships for employees.

The new administration under EPA administrator Scott Pruitt identified the gym memberships as an abuse of taxpayer dollars. Examples of the program’s misuse included $15,000 for gym memberships for 37 EPA scientists in Las Vegas last year.

Read more HERE.

Welfare Fraudsters Allegedly Steal $287,000 from PA Government, Some Using Food Stamps to Buy Heroin

Several people in Pennsylvania were charged with allegedly stealing a total of $287,000 worth of welfare benefits in April, with some of the benefits being used to buy heroin, according to Pennsylvania’s Office of the Inspector General.

The Office of the Inspector General expects to recover a total of $287,659 from the charges filed, mostly from food stamp fraud, Lehigh Valley Live reported.

Read more HERE!

Company Behind Trump Assassination ‘Julius Caesar’ Play Received $30M from Taxpayers

New York City’s Public Theater — the company behind this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, which depicts the assassination and brutal stabbing of a stand-in for President Donald Trump — has received nearly $30 million in federal, state, and city grants since 2009, according to a report.

Data published by OpenTheBooks CEO and Forbes contributor Andrew Andrzejewski reveals that the New York Shakespeare Festival, which appears to be the name of the entity operating Shakespeare in the Park, has received some $4.1 million in federal, state, and city grants in just the past three years.

Click HERE for more!

Obama Program Made $729 Million in Erroneous Payments to Doctors

An Obama administration program to encourage the use of electronic health records made over $729 million in erroneous payments, according to a new audit.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also paid dead doctors for enrolling in its program, the audit, released by the agency’s inspector general Monday, revealed.

Read more HERE.

Feds Spent $412,930 Studying ‘Relationship Between Gender and Glaciers’

The National Science Foundation has spent more than $400,000 on a study that published scientific results on the “relationship between gender and glaciers.”

The paper “Glaciers, gender, and science,” published in January 2016, concluded that “ice is not just ice,” urging scientists to take a “feminist political ecology and feminist postcolonial” approach when they study melting ice caps and climate change.

Read more HERE.

U.S. Made $144 Billion in Improper Payments in 2016

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Improper payments by the federal government are costing taxpayers billions of dollars a year – more than a trillion, if you add them up over the years, Comptroller General Gene Dodaro told the Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday.

“These are payments that should not have been made or were made in the wrong amounts,” Dodaro said in his opening statement.

Read more HERE.

Phoenix Billboard Depicting Trump As A Nazi Was Funded By Taxpayers

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A billboard depicting President Donald Trump as a Nazi in downtown Phoenix, Ariz. was funded with taxpayer dollars, according to Judicial Watch.

The conservative watchdog group obtained records that reveal the controversial billboard was commissioned by an “arts advocate” paid by a U.S. city to “diminish barriers.”

The billboard depicts an angry looking Trump wearing a Russian flag pin on his lapel. The president is shown in front of two mushroom clouds, which are in the shape of laughing clowns, and two dollar symbols that are modified from the Nazi swastika symbol.

The billboard is owned by Beatrice Moore, a longtime art benefactor. The controversial billboard was designed by artist Karen Fiorito, who claimed she has received death threats as a result of her work.

According to records from the city of Phoenix, Moore received thousands of dollars in grants for a program she runs called Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation (GAP), which is where the billboard is located.

The Nazi artwork was debated at an annual local art celebration, Art Detour, that happens to be publicly funded. The event is put on by Artlink, a group founded by Moore with help from the city of Phoenix.

In July 2016, the city of Phoenix granted Moore and her art companies $3,500, and in August 2016, the 2017 Art Detour event received $1,800.

In the documents Judicial Watch obtained, Moore is described by the city as an “artist, community organizer, and arts advocate,” and the public funding for Art Detour was reportedly given to help “diminish barriers.”

Moore commissioned Fiorito for the Trump billboard using “government grant monies,” including the Arizona Commission on the Arts, for artists’ fees.

‘IRS Overpaid More Than 600 Employees Approximately $4.2 Million’

The Internal Revenue Service, which is responsible for collecting federal taxes and enforcing federal tax law, was unable to accurately deal with its own complex rules governing the payment of its own employees and ended up overpaying more than 600 IRS workers about $4,200,000, according to an audit report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The IRS also underpaid more than 900 employees about $2,700,000, according to TIGTA’s estimate.

Read more HERE.

‘Resistance’ Researcher Gets $43,576 From NIH

A new study conducted by the National Institutes of Health on the “health status of gender minorities” is costing taxpayers over $40,000.

A post-doctoral student at Duke University, a self-described member of the “resistance” who believes having a “vagina does not equal woman,” received the funding for the study that was announced on May 1.

Read more HERE.

USAID Employees Spend MILLIONS On Luxury Travel, Documents Reveal

Employees for the government agency spent $18.8 million on luxury plane travel between 2009 and 2013, documents reveal.

The Agency for International Development has had problems in prior years due to employees improperly buying business or first class tickets. A 2016 government audit found that 76 percent of trips analyzed did not meet agency requirements for premium-class travel. USAID employees are allowed to fly business or first class if there are cost savings, they are disabled, the flight is over 14 hours, or no coach accommodation is available.

Read more HERE.

Feds Sent $17 Billion In Disability Payments To Unqualified, Prisoners And The Dead

A Social Security Administration (SSA) audit has discovered nearly $17 billion in overpayments made to beneficiaries between 2003 and 2014. The report sampled 1,532 beneficiaries and found 44.5 percent of them received too much in payments, were no longer disabled, were in prison or had died.

Of the $16.8 billion in erroneous payments, the report found $8.1 billion had been recovered, leaving a net loss for taxpayers of $8.7 billion over the decade the report covered. It also found the “SSA prevented about $8 billion in overpayments” over the same period.

Read more HERE.

Social Security Administration Sends $165 Million To DEAD People

Social Security Administration (SSA) officials paid $165 million in federally funded benefits to dead people, many of whom had died multiple years ago, according to a new SSA Inspector General (IG) report.

The money went to deceased Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (Title II) beneficiaries discovered by cross-checking SSA data with medical claim information from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS).

Read more HERE.

Feds Paid Dead People Millions In Social Security Benefits

Social Security Administration (SSA) officials gave $5.8 million to dead Californians and sent checks living people being listed as dead, a government watchdog reported Tuesday.

“SSA was issuing benefit payments to 83 individuals whose [personally identifiable information] matched that of individuals who died,” the SSA Inspector General (IG) report said.

Read more HEREHERE.

Gov’t Waste: Students Encouraged To Analyze Feelings Of Suicide Bombers

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), at taxpayer expense, is providing teachers with class material that prompts them to compel students to better relate to the thoughts and emotions of would-be suicide bombers and actual terrorists.

If President Donald Trump needed more evidence for why cutting funding to PBS would be a great service to school children and taxpayers, this is it, and I hope he’s reading.

Read more HERE.

$70.3 Million in Medicaid Payments Were Made to Providers With Fraud Allegations

The state of Florida made $70.3 million in Medicaid payments to providers who had fraud allegations against them, according to an audit from the inspector general.

The Office of Medicaid Program Integrity is charged with investigating and auditing providers that are thought to have defrauded or overbilled the state’s Medicaid program. Since 2011, if a provider has a credible fraud allegation, the state must suspend all Medicaid payments to that provider.

Read More HERE.

HUD Watchdog Kept 14 Fraud Reports Hidden From Public

A government watchdog withheld at least 14 reports that revealed department-wide problems that allow fraud and waste at a cabinet-level agency, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s (TheDCNF) Investigative Group has learned.

The reports concern issues plaguing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including felons illegally living in federally-funded homes, tax fraud and millions of dollars sitting in unused bank accounts for years. The department’s 2017 budget is $48.9 billion and it has 8,375 employees.

Read more HERE.

IRS Tax Fraud Prevention Program Costs Taxpayers $18.2 Million, But Doesn’t Work

An Internal Revenue Service program designed to prevent fraud costs taxpayers roughly $18.2 million per year, but doesn’t work, according to the taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

In 1994, in an attempt to catch fraudulent tax returns, the IRS created the Electronic Fraud Detection System. In 2009, the IRS began to modernize this system by working on the Return Review Program to replace it.

Read more HERE.

UC President Napolitano Hid $175 Million While Raising Tuition

The California State Auditor issued a scathing report last week alleging that University of California President and former Obama Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano raised tuitions while her office hid $175 million.

Read more HERE.

Feds Spent $13.5 Million on Vehicles It Doesn’t Know It Needs

The federal government spent $13.5 million on cars and SUVs it has no idea whether it needs, according to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office.

The report found that government workers also billed taxpayers $2.5 million for vehicle upgrades such as heated seats and video entertainment systems.

Read more HERE.

Trump Discovers Obama Was Spending $300 Million on Fake Afghan Soldiers, Gives Pentagon New Orders

Millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars were being foolishly wasted paying for the salaries of non-existent “ghost” soldiers and policemen in Afghanistan under the Obama administration, but no more.

According to the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John Sopko, who recently sat down for an interview with Sharyl Attkinson of Full Measure, the ongoing problem may have been worse than anyone realized, but was being addressed by President Donald Trump’s Pentagon.

Read more HERE.

Ivy League Schools Did Not Disclose $246 Million in Taxpayer Funding, Violating Law

An analysis of over $200 million in research projects conducted by Ivy League institutions found that none disclosed how they spent taxpayer dollars, in violation of federal law.

Senators are now asking the Government Accountability Office to investigate how many federally funded projects are not standing the scrutiny of how taxpayer dollars are spent.

Read more HERE.

Ben Carson Finds $500 BILLION in Fraud-Mismanagement in HUD Audit

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The mainstream media has neglected to report on a BIG find by Dr. Ben Carson. The Trump cabinet is a winning cabinet.

Dr. Carson dug into the agencies records in a sweeping audit wherein he found substantial bookkeeping “errors”, which only prove either the incompetence or the corrupt nature of the previous administration led by former-president, Barack Obama.

The HUD report found $500 in fraud and mismanagement in the government agency.

What We Found

The total amounts of errors corrected in HUD’s notes and consolidated financial statements were $516.4 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively. There were several other unresolved audit matters, which restricted our ability to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to express an opinion. These unresolved audit matters relate to (1) the Office of General Counsel’s refusal to sign the management representation letter, (2) HUD’s improper use of cumulative and first-in, first-out budgetary accounting methods of disbursing community planning and development program funds, (3) the $4.2 billion in nonpooled loan assets from Ginnie Mae’s stand-alone financial statements that we could not audit due to inadequate support, (4) the improper accounting for certain HUD assets and liabilities, and (5) material differences between HUD’s subledger and general ledger accounts. This audit report contains 11 material weaknesses, 7 significant deficiencies, and 5 instances of noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations.

We took a screenshot of the .pdf file that outlines the findings by Dr. Carson and his team:

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So far the Trump administration has had opposition from the left and the mainstream media. This is just another example of the terrible reporting you can find from their mouthpieces.

Critics to Ivy Leagues: ‘Taxpayer gravy train needs to end’

Obama Administration Spent $77 Million to Promote Obamacare in 2016

The Obama administration doled out more than $77 million to promote the former president’s signature health care legislation in what could be its final full year of existence, contracts obtained by The Post on Sunday reveal.

They show the federal government contracted with Democratic-leaning p.r. firm Weber Shandwick to spend $74.15 million on July 28, 2016, and another $3.69 million on Sept. 9, 2016, promoting the plan.

Read more HERE.

Wife of Immigrant D.C. Lawyer Worth $1.5 Million Arrested For Food Stamp, Welfare Fraud

An Arlington, Va., woman allegedly falsified welfare applications to receive more than $100,000 in benefits while her husband raked in $1.5 million salary.

Police say Helen Agbapuruonwu, mother of four, collected food stamps and Medicaid benefits from 2010 to 2016, while here husband, Fidelis Agbapuruonwu, was earning $1.5 million as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., NBC News 4 reports.

Read more HERE.

These Social Security Workers Made Big Money For Alleged Misconduct

Social Security Administration (SSA) officials paid $5.3 million to 46 employees placed on administrative leave — a tool generally used for workers suspected of misconduct — for months or even years, according to a new SSA Inspector General (IG) report.

The agency ultimately terminated 22 of those employees, while eight retired, eight resigned, and seven returned to work between 2009 and 2015, but not before some of them received hundreds of thousands of dollars. The IG, which only analyzed employees who had at least 1,000 hours of paid administrative leave, criticized SSA for failing to document approval from regional commissioners in eight of those cases, contrary to SSA policy.

Read more HERE.

VA Psychiatrist Busted For Charging $200K In Services He Never Provided

A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) psychiatrist has been charged with bilking a health care provider out of $200,000 for services he did not actually provide.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Rochester announced the charges Thursday, which include health care fraud, tax fraud and money laundering, Rochester First reports.

Read more HERE.

Nonprofits Helping Illegal Immigrants Took $291 Million From Taxpayers

Taxpayers funded eight nonprofits that serve, protect or advocate for illegal immigrants with more than $291 million between 2012 to 2016, according to an analysis of federal spending data and tax documents by the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group.

The eight groups — including at least one that endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 — provide a variety of support to illegal aliens, ranging from legal and social services to political advocacy.

Ninety-four percent of the public funds — or, nearly $274 million — came from the federal government, according to data obtained from USAspending.gov and 990 tax forms.

Read more HERE.

Govt Spends $500,000 To Study Why Farmers Don’t Take Federal Money

The Department of Agriculture is spending $500,000 for research into why farmers don’t apply for grants that pay farmers to adopt conservation practices.

The USDA awarded two grants that will “help pinpoint motivators that drive farmers to adopt conservation practices and identify the roadblocks that may get in the way,” according to a Monday press release.

Read more HERE.

$21.8 Million in Obamacare Tax Credits Awarded to Individuals Who Were Not Eligible to Receive Them

The Affordable Care Act exchanges awarded $21.8 million in advance premium tax credits to individuals who were not eligible to receive them, according to an audit from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Advance premium tax credits are awarded to those with low to moderate income to help rein in the cost of purchasing health care insurance on the exchanges.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is responsible for overseeing the Obamacare exchanges which should ensure that an individual who applies for the tax credit has his identity verified and that the individual is eligible to receive the payment.

Read more HERE.

EPA Finds Fun and Creative Ways to Waste Taxpayer Dollars

Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., recently issued a report entitled “The Science of Splurging,” which provides several examples of how the Environmental Protection Agency wastes millions of dollars on meaningless projects, frivolous luxuries, and outright employee fraud.

Click Here for some of the examples…

EPA’s fondness for high-end furniture costs taxpayers $92 million

The federal agency that has the job of protecting the environment doesn’t seem to have too much concern for trees, at least the ones cut down to make furniture.
The Environmental Protection Agency over the past decade has spent a whopping $92.4 million to purchase, rent, install and store office furniture ranging from fancy hickory chairs and a hexagonal wooden table, worth thousands of dollars each, to a simple drawer to store pencils that cost $813.57.

Read more HERE.

Obama-era cash for cronies under House fire

In 2014, the Justice Department settled two cases stemming from the financial crisis against Bank of America and Citigroup worth a combined $23.7 billion, $9.5 billion of which was supposed to go to so-called consumer relief. Shockingly, two of the big winners were the National Council of La Raza and the National Urban League which each scored more than a million dollars from the settlement.

Under the Obama Administration agreements, a good chunk of the massive cash awards ended up being given to third party activist groups as part of the settlement.

Read more HERE.

Comptroller General Declares Medicaid Waste Worse Than Official Estimates

Waste in the federal government’s fastest growing programs — Medicaid and Medicare — is probably much worse than anyone knows, U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro told members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (HOGR) Wednesday.

Medicaid’s improper payment rate — benefits the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) incorrectly pays recipients — is probably higher than the official estimate of 10 percent or $36 billion the Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced in 2015, GAO head Dodaro said in a Wednesday hearing on high-risk federal programs. GAO placed Medicaid on its list of high-risk programs released Wednesday, as it has every year since 2003.

Read more HERE.

US Taxpayers Are Paying Salaries of ‘Tens of Thousands” Of Non-existent Afghan Soldiers And Police

The U.S. government is paying the salaries of “tens of thousands” of non-existent Afghan soldiers, police, teachers and civil servants, a top Pentagon official said Wednesday in reporting on the scale and variety of misspent U.S. money.

John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), said the salaries of “ghost soldiers” is just one of many ways Americans’ money is wasted in Afghanistan – all for rather modest gains.

His comments summarize a SIGAR report that aims to help inform the new Congress and administration of the most pressing reconstruction challenges in 2017 and beyond. Sopko’s message was one American leaders have heard before.

“Including U.S. war funding unrelated to reconstruction, U.S. appropriations for Afghanistan now totals more than three quarters of a trillion dollars — not including the $43.7 billion requested for fiscal year 2017,” he said in a speech before the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

“To date, more than $115 billion of U.S. taxpayer money has been spent, sometimes wisely – too often not. Another $7.5 billion has been appropriated but not yet spent, and international donors have pledged to provide financial support to Afghanistan and its security forces through 2020.”

Despite the huge amounts spent in Afghanistan, conditions are deteriorating.

“As of Aug. 28, 2016, only 63.4 percent of the country’s districts were under Afghan government’s control or influence, a reduction from the 72 percent as of Nov. 27, 2015, Sopko said.

Afghan forces “are generally capable and effective at protecting major population centers, preventing the Taliban from maintaining prolonged control of specific areas and at responding to Taliban attacks.”

But the Afghan military, “a reportedly 320,000-strong force is basically playing ‘whack-a-mole’ following the Taliban around Afghanistan.”

In addition to the military situation, American efforts to curb opium production are failing.

“Although the United States has committed more than $8 billion to counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, the opium trade has grown significantly since the fall of the Taliban. [The U.S.] estimates that as much as 60 percent of the Taliban’s funding comes from poppy production and cultivation.”

Afghanistan’s ‘ghost soldiers’ take scary toll on US taxpayers, says watchdog

The U.S. government is paying the salaries of “tens of thousands” of non-existent Afghan soldiers, police, teachers and civil servants, a top Pentagon official said Wednesday in reporting on the scale and variety of misspent U.S. money.

John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), said the salaries of “ghost soldiers” is just one of many ways Americans’ money is wasted in Afghanistan – all for rather modest gains.

Read more HERE.

Obama Hands Out A $2 Billion Loan To Further His Global Warming Goals

The Obama administration will give $2 billion in loan guarantees to a first-of-a-kind project meant to further the president’s global warming goals in the final weeks before President-elect Donald Trump takes over.

Read more HERE.

Taxpayers Foot Bill for ‘Doggie Hamlet’

The National Endowment for the Arts is spending $30,000 for a series of dance performances, including Doggie Hamlet.

The “conceptual art” features actors yelling and running at sheep in a field in Vermont. Dartmouth College received the funding in the latest round of NEA grants released this month.

The grant was awarded “[t]o support residencies, performances, and related activities at the Hopkins Center.” According to the grant description, “[t]heater and multidisciplinary artists, musicians, composers, choreographers, and dancers will develop and present their projects through residencies. Events and participating artists include Mark Morris Dance Group’s ‘Layla and Majnun’; Dorrance Dance and partners Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely’s ‘The Blues Project’; and choreographer and performance artist Ann Carlson’s ‘Doggie Hamlet.’”

Doggie Hamlet involves several actors joining in a field to scare sheep and walk around wearing sheepskins.

“Doggie Hamlet is a full-length outdoor performance spectacle that weaves dance, music, visual and theatrical elements with aspects from competitive sheep herding trials,” writes Elsie Management, a firm that promotes the performing arts. “The work is performed by four dancers, one boy, one American Sign Language interpreter, two herding dogs and a flock of sheep in a 30 x 50 foot fenced field.”

“Doggie Hamlet recalls the bucolic impression of a landscape painting or a 3D pastoral poem,” the group said. “The sheep, the dogs, the human performers, and the earth’s surface are at once performing as themselves and as living symbols in this work.”

“Through story, motion, site and stillness Doggie Hamlet explores instinct, sentience, attachment, and loss, and is a beautiful and dreamlike spectacle weaving instinct, mystery, and movement into an unusual performance event,” the group concluded.

An early sketch of Doggie Hamlet filmed two years ago shows actors donning sheepskins and lying down in a field.

A more recent performance in Westminster, Vt. this September features no lines from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, only an older man and woman yelling at a sheep dog and a confused herd of sheep.

Carlson, a “postmodern dance pioneer,” has created works such as Animal Dance, where she danced onstage with baby goats, chickens, dogs, bunnies, goldfish, and a tortoise.

The New York Times has called Carlson’s work heartbreaking.

Navy Wasted Millions On $29 A Gallon Fuel For Its ‘Great Green Fleet’

The U.S. Navy has spent more than $58 million on alternative fuels for its “Great Green Fleet,” according to a Senate report on Pentagon waste.

The report, by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s office, found the Navy’s goal of weaning itself off petroleum products has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and did not bring U.S. fleets much closer to getting 40 percent of its energy from alternative sources.

Read more HERE.
Pentagon Spent Over $1 Million Studying Rat Personalities

Sen. John McCain is calling out the ridiculous, frivolous ways the Pentagon spends taxpayer dollars in a his semi-annual “America’s Most Wasted” report released Monday.

“As our Armed Forces confront the most diverse and complex array of national security challenges since the end of World War II under extraordinarily constrained fiscal resources, we simply cannot afford to waste our precious defense dollars on unnecessary or poorly performing programs,” McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said in a statement.

Among the examples the Republican senator gives are weapons programs that fail to meet objectives but still cost billions of dollars. (RELATED: McCain Calls Out $13 Billion Wasted On Ships That Don’t Work)

Here are three examples of Department of Defense projects McCain sees as wasteful in light of the nation’s $19 trillion debt.

Read more HERE.

IRS Employees Spent $1.4 Million of Taxpayer Money on Lavish Travel and Hotels

IRS employees spent $1.4 million in taxpayer funds on lavish travel and hotels, according to a new report from the Senate Finance Committee.

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) and Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), the committee’s chairman and ranking member, respectively, wrote in May 2016 to the IRS and other federal agencies to evaluate their travel policies and practices, asking what the costs of those activities were and whether or not the agencies have done anything to reduce costs.

Read more HERE.

Florida Paid $26.2 Million In Medicaid Benefits To Dead People

The dead don’t need health insurance coverage. But in Florida, private health insurance companies managing the state’s Medicaid program still made money from the dead, according to a report issued Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Auditors with HHS’s Office of Inspector General estimate Florida paid about $26 million over five years to Medicaid insurers for coverage of people who had already died — largely as a result of outdated information in state databases and a lack of collaboration among different agencies.

Read more HERE.

9 Shockingly Stupid Examples Of Federal Government Waste

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma has released the second addition of his “Federal Fumbles” book chronicling waste in the federal government over the past few years.

The report highlights 100 different examples of federal inefficiency and waste in recent years. Here are 11 of the highlights:

1. $200,000 to study old fish bones.

The National Science Foundation awarded a $200,000 grant to assist in the creation of the paper “Fish as a delicacy and a staple: Social status and the daily meal at the 14th to 16th century town of Songo Mnara, Tanzania.” The paper is exactly what it says on the tin: An assessment of the fish bones discovered during archaeological digs at Songo Mnara, in order to see how social status influenced food consumption in the town.

2. $400,000 to dig up Icelandic graves

The small island nation of Iceland has been the subject of millions of dollars in grants. Some of them are scientific, such as a $61,000 grant to study volcanoes, but other awards are decidedly less so. Lankford singles out a grant of more than $480,000 to study religion on the island, specifically the role religion played in the development of political power between 870 and 1300. A great deal of this grant was to finance the location and digging up of Christian graves in Iceland.

“Iceland is certainly an important NATO ally and friend to the U.S.,” Lankford’s report says. “But that friendship does not require adding to our national debt to study the country’s 12th-century cemeteries.”

3. $1.3 million to discourage teenage tanning

Since 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have directed $1.3 million towards efforts attempting to convince moms to prevent their daughters from tanning.

“The grantee hopes to prove a social media campaign can lead to decreasing mothers’ permissiveness for daughters’ using tanning beds and cause more mothers to support bans on teenage
tanning,” the report says. “Upon receipt of funding, the grantee promised to develop social media campaigns on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube to reach mothers.”

Despite the ambitious premise and heavy funding, the report notes the NIH has produced no metrics about how many people it hopes the campaign will reach.

4. $477,000 for anti-chewing tobacco text messages.

Noting that chewing tobacco use is particularly high among men in certain rural communities, and rural users have a harder time accessing other forms of intervention, the NIH hit on a stupendous way of discouraging the habit: Text messages from the government.

A $477,000 grant approved by the National Cancer Institute was used to fund a pilot program that would do just that: Enroll rural chewing tobacco users and test whether occasional text message interventions would help them quit.

5. $412,000 for a paper about a feminist approach to glaciology

Lankford highlights the role federal funding played in the creation of a legendary academic paper espousing a feminist approach to glaciology, the study of glaciers.

“Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions,” the paper says. That sentence is baffling enough, but what’s even more baffling in Lankford’s book is that the NSF paid $412,000 to Dr. Mark Carey to produce it.

6. $90,000 to explore gender roles in Shakespeare

Lankford doesn’t deny that William Shakespeare is an incredible playwright. But the Bard’s skill with a pen, he says, hardly justifies a $90,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to fund an all-male production of The Taming of the Shrew, coupled with an all-female production of As You Like It. The two productions each ran for about a month, and were justified as efforts to examine issues like “gender roles,” “sexuality,” and “ethnicity” within Shakespeare’s text.

7. $120,000 to study how court rulings made people feel.

Do you ever see a Supreme Court ruling, or even a local criminal case, that makes you feel angry, astonished, sad, or simply perturbed? Well, the NSF really wanted to know about that sort of thing. So it approved a $120,000 grant that would survey 1,000 people regarding their feelings about a particular Supreme Court case, to see whether any long-term “psychological impacts” emanated from the Court’s decision.

8. $300,000 on an exhibit of medieval smells

A $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities financed a traveling exhibition on the Middle Ages that included, among other things, an effort to immerse visitors in authentic medieval smells.

“While some people may be interested in an exhibit of medieval smells, it is not the responsibility of every hard-working taxpayer to fund olfactory experiences,” the report bluntly says.

9. $5,000 on Snuggies

Lankford highlighted a small but still particularly appalling example of wasteful federal spending at the University of Washington. As an NSF audit revealed earlier this year, researchers at the school wasted about $5,000 buying totally unnecessary products, including dozens of custom and embroidered Snuggie robes. The Snuggies were just the chief highlight from a catalog of more extensive waste, including a $23,000 trip to Hawaii researchers tried to bill to the NSF simply because they worked on an NSF project in their free time.

Read more HERE.

Hillary’s State Department Wasted $620 Million On Failed Projects

The U.S. Department of State wasted nearly $620 million on unused or failed projects and spent nearly $10 million on useless purchases while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, according to a report from the Republican National Committee (RNC) released Thursday.

As Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump battle it out during the last two weeks of the presidential election, the GOP is making the case that “Hillary Clinton was a terrible steward of our taxpayer money, and can’t be trusted as President,” according to the RNC’s report.

Read more HERE.

State Dept. Awarded $461M In No-Strings-Attached Middle East Grants

Department of State officials can’t say if any of the $461 million in Middle Eastern economic and social development grants they awarded worked because they failed to include metrics for determining success and failure, according to a new State Department Office of Inspector General (IG) report.

“Although the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) cited anecdotal successes for the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program, it could not provide systematic evidence of MEPI’s success or provide useful information to decision-makers managing the multimillion-dollar program,” the IG said.

Read more HERE.

US Taxpayers Are Paying Salaries of ‘Tens of Thousands” Of Non-existent Afghan Soldiers And Police

The U.S. government is paying the salaries of “tens of thousands” of non-existent Afghan soldiers, police, teachers and civil servants, a top Pentagon official said Wednesday in reporting on the scale and variety of misspent U.S. money.

John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), said the salaries of “ghost soldiers” is just one of many ways Americans’ money is wasted in Afghanistan – all for rather modest gains.

His comments summarize a SIGAR report that aims to help inform the new Congress and administration of the most pressing reconstruction challenges in 2017 and beyond. Sopko’s message was one American leaders have heard before.

“Including U.S. war funding unrelated to reconstruction, U.S. appropriations for Afghanistan now totals more than three quarters of a trillion dollars — not including the $43.7 billion requested for fiscal year 2017,” he said in a speech before the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

“To date, more than $115 billion of U.S. taxpayer money has been spent, sometimes wisely – too often not. Another $7.5 billion has been appropriated but not yet spent, and international donors have pledged to provide financial support to Afghanistan and its security forces through 2020.”

Despite the huge amounts spent in Afghanistan, conditions are deteriorating.

“As of Aug. 28, 2016, only 63.4 percent of the country’s districts were under Afghan government’s control or influence, a reduction from the 72 percent as of Nov. 27, 2015, Sopko said.

Afghan forces “are generally capable and effective at protecting major population centers, preventing the Taliban from maintaining prolonged control of specific areas and at responding to Taliban attacks.”

But the Afghan military, “a reportedly 320,000-strong force is basically playing ‘whack-a-mole’ following the Taliban around Afghanistan.”

In addition to the military situation, American efforts to curb opium production are failing.

“Although the United States has committed more than $8 billion to counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, the opium trade has grown significantly since the fall of the Taliban. [The U.S.] estimates that as much as 60 percent of the Taliban’s funding comes from poppy production and cultivation.”

Afghanistan’s ‘ghost soldiers’ take scary toll on US taxpayers, says watchdog

The U.S. government is paying the salaries of “tens of thousands” of non-existent Afghan soldiers, police, teachers and civil servants, a top Pentagon official said Wednesday in reporting on the scale and variety of misspent U.S. money.

John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), said the salaries of “ghost soldiers” is just one of many ways Americans’ money is wasted in Afghanistan – all for rather modest gains.

Read more HERE.

Obama Hands Out A $2 Billion Loan To Further His Global Warming Goals

The Obama administration will give $2 billion in loan guarantees to a first-of-a-kind project meant to further the president’s global warming goals in the final weeks before President-elect Donald Trump takes over.

Read more HERE.

Taxpayers Foot Bill for ‘Doggie Hamlet’

The National Endowment for the Arts is spending $30,000 for a series of dance performances, including Doggie Hamlet.

The “conceptual art” features actors yelling and running at sheep in a field in Vermont. Dartmouth College received the funding in the latest round of NEA grants released this month.

The grant was awarded “[t]o support residencies, performances, and related activities at the Hopkins Center.” According to the grant description, “[t]heater and multidisciplinary artists, musicians, composers, choreographers, and dancers will develop and present their projects through residencies. Events and participating artists include Mark Morris Dance Group’s ‘Layla and Majnun’; Dorrance Dance and partners Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely’s ‘The Blues Project’; and choreographer and performance artist Ann Carlson’s ‘Doggie Hamlet.’”

Doggie Hamlet involves several actors joining in a field to scare sheep and walk around wearing sheepskins.

“Doggie Hamlet is a full-length outdoor performance spectacle that weaves dance, music, visual and theatrical elements with aspects from competitive sheep herding trials,” writes Elsie Management, a firm that promotes the performing arts. “The work is performed by four dancers, one boy, one American Sign Language interpreter, two herding dogs and a flock of sheep in a 30 x 50 foot fenced field.”

“Doggie Hamlet recalls the bucolic impression of a landscape painting or a 3D pastoral poem,” the group said. “The sheep, the dogs, the human performers, and the earth’s surface are at once performing as themselves and as living symbols in this work.”

“Through story, motion, site and stillness Doggie Hamlet explores instinct, sentience, attachment, and loss, and is a beautiful and dreamlike spectacle weaving instinct, mystery, and movement into an unusual performance event,” the group concluded.

An early sketch of Doggie Hamlet filmed two years ago shows actors donning sheepskins and lying down in a field.

A more recent performance in Westminster, Vt. this September features no lines from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, only an older man and woman yelling at a sheep dog and a confused herd of sheep.

Carlson, a “postmodern dance pioneer,” has created works such as Animal Dance, where she danced onstage with baby goats, chickens, dogs, bunnies, goldfish, and a tortoise.

The New York Times has called Carlson’s work heartbreaking.

Navy Wasted Millions On $29 A Gallon Fuel For Its ‘Great Green Fleet’

The U.S. Navy has spent more than $58 million on alternative fuels for its “Great Green Fleet,” according to a Senate report on Pentagon waste.

The report, by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s office, found the Navy’s goal of weaning itself off petroleum products has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and did not bring U.S. fleets much closer to getting 40 percent of its energy from alternative sources.

Read more HERE.

Pentagon Spent Over $1 Million Studying Rat Personalities

Sen. John McCain is calling out the ridiculous, frivolous ways the Pentagon spends taxpayer dollars in a his semi-annual “America’s Most Wasted” report released Monday.

“As our Armed Forces confront the most diverse and complex array of national security challenges since the end of World War II under extraordinarily constrained fiscal resources, we simply cannot afford to waste our precious defense dollars on unnecessary or poorly performing programs,” McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said in a statement.

Among the examples the Republican senator gives are weapons programs that fail to meet objectives but still cost billions of dollars. (RELATED: McCain Calls Out $13 Billion Wasted On Ships That Don’t Work)

Here are three examples of Department of Defense projects McCain sees as wasteful in light of the nation’s $19 trillion debt.

Read more HERE.

IRS Employees Spent $1.4 Million of Taxpayer Money on Lavish Travel and Hotels

IRS employees spent $1.4 million in taxpayer funds on lavish travel and hotels, according to a new report from the Senate Finance Committee.

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) and Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), the committee’s chairman and ranking member, respectively, wrote in May 2016 to the IRS and other federal agencies to evaluate their travel policies and practices, asking what the costs of those activities were and whether or not the agencies have done anything to reduce costs.

Read more HERE.

Florida Paid $26.2 Million In Medicaid Benefits To Dead People

The dead don’t need health insurance coverage. But in Florida, private health insurance companies managing the state’s Medicaid program still made money from the dead, according to a report issued Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Auditors with HHS’s Office of Inspector General estimate Florida paid about $26 million over five years to Medicaid insurers for coverage of people who had already died — largely as a result of outdated information in state databases and a lack of collaboration among different agencies.

Read more HERE.

9 Shockingly Stupid Examples Of Federal Government Waste

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma has released the second addition of his “Federal Fumbles” book chronicling waste in the federal government over the past few years.

The report highlights 100 different examples of federal inefficiency and waste in recent years. Here are 11 of the highlights:

1. $200,000 to study old fish bones.

The National Science Foundation awarded a $200,000 grant to assist in the creation of the paper “Fish as a delicacy and a staple: Social status and the daily meal at the 14th to 16th century town of Songo Mnara, Tanzania.” The paper is exactly what it says on the tin: An assessment of the fish bones discovered during archaeological digs at Songo Mnara, in order to see how social status influenced food consumption in the town.

2. $400,000 to dig up Icelandic graves

The small island nation of Iceland has been the subject of millions of dollars in grants. Some of them are scientific, such as a $61,000 grant to study volcanoes, but other awards are decidedly less so. Lankford singles out a grant of more than $480,000 to study religion on the island, specifically the role religion played in the development of political power between 870 and 1300. A great deal of this grant was to finance the location and digging up of Christian graves in Iceland.

“Iceland is certainly an important NATO ally and friend to the U.S.,” Lankford’s report says. “But that friendship does not require adding to our national debt to study the country’s 12th-century cemeteries.”

3. $1.3 million to discourage teenage tanning

Since 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have directed $1.3 million towards efforts attempting to convince moms to prevent their daughters from tanning.

“The grantee hopes to prove a social media campaign can lead to decreasing mothers’ permissiveness for daughters’ using tanning beds and cause more mothers to support bans on teenage
tanning,” the report says. “Upon receipt of funding, the grantee promised to develop social media campaigns on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube to reach mothers.”

Despite the ambitious premise and heavy funding, the report notes the NIH has produced no metrics about how many people it hopes the campaign will reach.

4. $477,000 for anti-chewing tobacco text messages.

Noting that chewing tobacco use is particularly high among men in certain rural communities, and rural users have a harder time accessing other forms of intervention, the NIH hit on a stupendous way of discouraging the habit: Text messages from the government.

A $477,000 grant approved by the National Cancer Institute was used to fund a pilot program that would do just that: Enroll rural chewing tobacco users and test whether occasional text message interventions would help them quit.

5. $412,000 for a paper about a feminist approach to glaciology

Lankford highlights the role federal funding played in the creation of a legendary academic paper espousing a feminist approach to glaciology, the study of glaciers.

“Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions,” the paper says. That sentence is baffling enough, but what’s even more baffling in Lankford’s book is that the NSF paid $412,000 to Dr. Mark Carey to produce it.

6. $90,000 to explore gender roles in Shakespeare

Lankford doesn’t deny that William Shakespeare is an incredible playwright. But the Bard’s skill with a pen, he says, hardly justifies a $90,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to fund an all-male production of The Taming of the Shrew, coupled with an all-female production of As You Like It. The two productions each ran for about a month, and were justified as efforts to examine issues like “gender roles,” “sexuality,” and “ethnicity” within Shakespeare’s text.

7. $120,000 to study how court rulings made people feel.

Do you ever see a Supreme Court ruling, or even a local criminal case, that makes you feel angry, astonished, sad, or simply perturbed? Well, the NSF really wanted to know about that sort of thing. So it approved a $120,000 grant that would survey 1,000 people regarding their feelings about a particular Supreme Court case, to see whether any long-term “psychological impacts” emanated from the Court’s decision.

8. $300,000 on an exhibit of medieval smells

A $300,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities financed a traveling exhibition on the Middle Ages that included, among other things, an effort to immerse visitors in authentic medieval smells.

“While some people may be interested in an exhibit of medieval smells, it is not the responsibility of every hard-working taxpayer to fund olfactory experiences,” the report bluntly says.

9. $5,000 on Snuggies

Lankford highlighted a small but still particularly appalling example of wasteful federal spending at the University of Washington. As an NSF audit revealed earlier this year, researchers at the school wasted about $5,000 buying totally unnecessary products, including dozens of custom and embroidered Snuggie robes. The Snuggies were just the chief highlight from a catalog of more extensive waste, including a $23,000 trip to Hawaii researchers tried to bill to the NSF simply because they worked on an NSF project in their free time.

Read more HERE.

Hillary’s State Department Wasted $620 Million On Failed Projects

The U.S. Department of State wasted nearly $620 million on unused or failed projects and spent nearly $10 million on useless purchases while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, according to a report from the Republican National Committee (RNC) released Thursday.

As Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump battle it out during the last two weeks of the presidential election, the GOP is making the case that “Hillary Clinton was a terrible steward of our taxpayer money, and can’t be trusted as President,” according to the RNC’s report.

Read more HERE.

State Dept. Awarded $461M In No-Strings-Attached Middle East Grants

Department of State officials can’t say if any of the $461 million in Middle Eastern economic and social development grants they awarded worked because they failed to include metrics for determining success and failure, according to a new State Department Office of Inspector General (IG) report.

“Although the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) cited anecdotal successes for the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program, it could not provide systematic evidence of MEPI’s success or provide useful information to decision-makers managing the multimillion-dollar program,” the IG said.

Read more HERE.

Feds Give $1,131,595 in Grants to Goat Cheese Producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program has given $1,131,595 of taxpayer funds to producers of goat cheese.

According to the 2016 VAPG program description, among those given funds was Goat Milk Stuff, LLC of Indiana, receiving $250,000 “to process goat milk into cheeses, pasteurized milk, yogurt, and other milk products.”

Gothberg Farms LLC of Washington was given $134,000 “to process and market farmstead cheeses made from goat milk.”

Read more HERE.

Feds Award Over $9M For Wine, Rum and More

The federal government is giving out $9,213,303 in taxpayer funds to wineries, distilleries and orchards producing hard cider through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Value Added Producer grants (VAPG) program.

The recently released list of the 2016 VAPG awards includes $7,417,459 for those producing, marketing, and packaging wine.

According to the USDA program description, among those included in the $7,417,459 is a $250,000 grant to Caduceus Cellars of Arizona for “to help increase the customer base and market share for bottled wines.”

Read more HERE.

States Did Not Enforce Work Requirements for Food Stamp Recipients

States did not always enforce work requirements for food stamp recipients before giving them benefits because doing so was “too burdensome” for them, according to an audit from the Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General.

The Food and Nutrition Service established work requirements for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program participants who are able-bodied adults without dependents, fall in the age range of 18 to 49, and are not disabled. These individuals are required to work 20 hours or more each week or participate in a qualifying work activity.

Read more HERE!

Taxpayer Tab For Obama Trip That Included Golf With Tiger Woods: $3.6 Million

Taxpayers shelled out millions of dollars in 2013 when the golf-addicted President Obama took Air Force One to Florida on vacation and played a round of golf with Tiger Woods, according to a new government study.

From Feb. 15-18 in 2013, the president went on a four day trip that included an official speech in Chicago and some leisure time in Palm Beach, Florida.

According to a forthcoming report by the Government Accountability Office that was obtained early by The Daily Caller, the government spent a total of $3.6 million to fly, protect and support the president during this trip to Illinois and Florida.

Read more HERE!

Social Security Paid Dead Government Workers $1.7 Million

The Social Security Administration has paid dead federal workers $1.7 million in recent years, with the deceased receiving benefits an average of seven years after their death, according to an agency watchdog.

An audit released by the agency’s inspector general Monday revealed that the Social Security Administration had not crosschecked beneficiaries’ deaths with the Office of Personnel Management, which manages federal employees.

Missing just 35 deaths cost taxpayers $1.7 million.

Read more HERE.

Here’s $49,577,386 That Could Have Gone to Zika Relief

The National Institutes of Health has spent more on exercise programs for refugees, anti-tobacco video games, weight-loss programs for truckers, and studies on gay hook up apps than it has to fight the Zika virus.

The Department of Health and Human Services is warning that its funding to fight the Zika virus in the United States will be exhausted by September, sending a letter to Congress this week saying “additional funding is needed.” HHS has so far received $374 million for domestic Zika relief, including $47 million specifically for the NIH.

However, the Washington Free Beacon has uncovered $49,577,386 worth of questionable NIH studies since the Zika epidemic began in the beginning of 2015.

Read more HERE.

USDA Awards $746,827 to Improve ‘Shopping Practices of Adolescents’

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced Thursday six universities have been awarded nearly $3.8 million in funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for programs designed to help fight obesity.

The USDA’s program descriptions for the six grants include:

–$746,827 to the University of Kentucky for the testing of the program “Smart Shopping.” According to the program description, Smart Shopping is “aimed at improving the shopping practices of adolescents with the ultimate goal of increasing fruit and vegetable intake.”

Read more HERE.

Kill The Deniers. Yep This Is A Title Of An Actual Play, Funded By Taxpayer Grant

Kill The Greenies. That’s the title of my new play which I hope to be touring later this summer round all the usual arts festivals. There’s just one problem: I can’t seem to get the grant funding.

It really wouldn’t take much. I’ve calculated, roughly, the amount I need to motivate me to get out of bed and spend the afternoon I reckon it would take me to dash off the outline of the script would be around $15,000.

Read More HERE.

Taxpayers Are Footing Bill for Solar Project That Doesn’t Work

As every ten-year-old who ever got a sweater for a birthday present has been told, “It’s the thought that counts.” That seems to be the guiding principle at the Department of Energy and the California Public Utilities Commission when it comes to solar power.

The latest example is the $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar thermal plant in California. (Note: Solar thermal plants do not use solar panels to directly convert sunshine to electricity, they use sunshine to boil water that then drives conventional turbines.)

Read more HERE.

Taxpayers Fund Job Bank for Dem, Clinton Groups

Taxpayers are funding a website where federal employees can find work electing Democratic candidates and organizing advocacy campaigns in support of left-wing legislation, a review of the website reveals.

Employers currently listing jobs on the site include a Democratic campaign vendor, groups that have financed the cycle’s largest pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC, activist organizations lobbying Congress for environmental regulations, and an arm of the Clinton family’s network of charitable groups.

Read more HERE.

Obama-Backed Solar Plant Could Be Shut Down For Not Producing Enough Energy

California regulators may force a massive solar thermal power plant in the Mojave Desert to shut down after years of under-producing electricity — not to mention the plant was blinding pilots flying over the area and incinerating birds.

Read more HERE.

Obamacare Insurers Could Get Billions From Controversial Government Fund

A $5 billion lawsuit filed by a nonprofit insurer against the Obama administration for a program implemented under Obamacare is raising questions about the use of a fund available for settlements with the government and whether Congress can, and should, intervene.

According to legal experts, if the Obama administration decided to settle its class action lawsuit with Health Republic Insurance of Oregon, one of 23 co-ops started under Obamacare, and other insurers for all or part of the $5 billion it’s seeking, the money would come from the Judgment Fund, an indefinite appropriation created by Congress and administered by the Department of Treasury.

Read more HERE.

Feminism And Icebergs: A New Low In ‘Climate Science’

Congratulations, taxpayers of America: You’ve just spent $412,930 on a “scientific” paper on the “relationship between gender and glaciers.”

That’s what the National Science Foundation dropped on “Glaciers, gender and science,” 10,000-plus words of gobbledygook from University of Oregon prof Mark Carey.

Sure, that’s roughly 40 bucks a word — but many of them are big words.

Read more HERE.

University Used Taxpayer Funding to Buy Snuggies

The University of Washington used federal grant funding to buy thousands of dollars worth of custom embroidered Snuggies.

Taxpayer-funded National Science Foundation grants were used to purchase Snuggies, pottery, and a trip to Hawaii. The agency’s inspector general audited the University of Washington and found millions in unallowable salary costs, and numerous examples of “unreasonable transactions” from funds intended for scientific research.

The audit, released last month, identified $8,821 charged to five separate grants on unallowable promotional items and gifts, including personalized Snuggie blankets.

Read more HERE.

Biden’s One-Night Visit to Mexico City Cost $538,528 for Hotels Alone

Vice President Joe Biden’s hotel tab for his recent one-night stay in Mexico City cost taxpayers more than $500,000.

Biden, who attended an annual economic summit with Mexican leaders, stayed at the luxury Intercontinental Presidente Hotel. Biden led a delegation attending the summit that included Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

The trip called for 260 hotel rooms and meeting spaces, according to a State Department contract. The total hotel tab was $538,528.65.

The government said the trip costs were justified due to security concerns and last-minute planning.

“In addition to supporting a large delegation within a short time frame, last minute and frequent changes of itineraries for supporting personnel often result in significant changes in how Posts work with the vendors,” the State Department said. “With the exception of a few trips, contracts are not permitted to be signed until the Department of State (Post) has written confirmation from all supporting agencies, which enables collection of funds from said agencies in the event of cancellation.”

“These unique Senior High-Level USG [U.S. government] VIP travel requirements result in only a single or a very limited number of responsible sources with no other supplies or services capable of satisfying agency requirement,” they added.

Biden spent only one night in Mexico City, according to the White House schedule. He departed Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 24, and was in Mexico on Thursday to attend meetings for the summit. By Friday, he was in Utah for a “roundtable on cancer.”

News reports on what was accomplished at the economic summit are scarce, except for reporting on Biden feeling the need to “almost” apologize to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto for some of Donald Trump’s remarks on immigration. No press pool for the Vice President was filed during the trip.

The Intercontinental Presidente Hotel where Biden stayed is described as a “luxury hotel tower with sweeping city views.”

“Forty-two stories high, this cosmopolitan Mexico City hotel puts the city at your feet,” reads the description of the hotel’s website. “Located in the thriving Polanco district, you’re immersed in a Mexican experience that’s uniquely local yet international.”

The hotel has “world class” rain showers and blackout blinds. Executive rooms and suites are “comfortable and luxurious” and have televisions in the bathroom.

The Intercontinental Presidente also offers numerous spa treatments, including steam bathing, massages, beauty treatments, body scrubs, body wraps, foot reflexology, manicures and pedicures, and waxing.

While Millions Lose Their Insurance and Doctor, Millions Paying Thousands Per Year In Premiums, Deductibles and Co-Pays…This Comes To Light

Watchdog Finds Billions in Possible Fraudulent Obamacare Payments

The federal government has failed to properly monitor enrollee eligibility for Obamacare, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). As a result, the government has made billions of dollars in Obamacare subsidy payments to individuals that may have been committing fraud.

As the report notes, the system used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relies on data sent by three government agencies – the IRS, SSA, and DHS – to check eligibility for Obamacare. However, the system used by CMS is unable to verify many inconsistencies in the data.

This inability to properly verify enrollment has meant billions of dollars have been sent out to enrollees without verifying whether the applicants were fraudulent.

“According to GAO analysis of CMS data, about 431,000 applications from the 2014 enrollment period, with about $1.7 billion in associated subsidies for 2014, still had unresolved inconsistencies as of April 2015—several months after close of the coverage year.”

Read more HERE.

Illegal immigrants benefited from up to $750M in ObamaCare subsidies

Illegal immigrants and individuals with unclear legal status wrongly benefited from up to $750 million in ObamaCare subsidies and the government is struggling to recoup the money, according to a new Senate report obtained by Fox News.

The report, produced by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, examined Affordable Care Act tax credits meant to defray the cost of insurance premiums. It found that as of June 2015, “the Administration awarded approximately $750 million in tax credits on behalf of individuals who were later determined to be ineligible because they failed to verify their citizenship, status as a national, or legal presence.”

Read more HERE.

Feds Lag On Watchdog’s Reforms Worth $1.9 Billion

Taxpayers could see at least $1.9 billion saved if the Department of Transportation would stop ignoring its independent watchdog’s reform recommendations.

The department that regulates America’s mobility has neglected nearly 600 suggestions from Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III, even though the department would save nearly $2 billion by following 29 of the most significant of those recommendations. The department’s annual budget in 2015 was $95 billion.

Read more HERE.

Obama Family’s October Weekend Fundraising Getaway to San Diego Cost Taxpayers $2,001,468.90 in Travel Expenses Alone

Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that the October 2015 Columbus Day getaway enjoyed by President Barack Obama and his family cost taxpayers $969,783.90 in flight expenses alone. The documents regarding the Obama travel expenses came in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request first filed on October 13, 2015.

Read more HERE.

Obama Administration Wants To Spend $4 Billion On Self-Driving Cars

President Barack Obama’s 2016 budget will call for spending $4 billion on a self-driving car initiative.

The plan comes in response to Department of Transportation calling for “unified national regulations on self-driving cars,” USA Today reports.

“We ask ourselves, ‘what if human error could be eliminated?’,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at the Detroit Auto Show this past week.

The White House’s proposal would stretch across 10 years, during which car makers will be encouraged to conduct on-road trial runs.

Additionally, the Department of Transportation has said “it will consider granting exemptions from regulations to automakers for up to 2,500 self-driving vehicles for on-road, real-world testing.

None of Obama’s past budgets has become law.

10 Of The Worst Ways Uncle Sam Wasted Your Money In 2015

While many Americans are making hopeful New Year’s resolutions for 2016 like losing weight, learning a new skill or saving more money, federal agency officials could focus on being more productive with the trillions of tax dollars they collect every year. There is no shortage of ways to do so.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), for example, claims federal officials could save $80 billion a year by implementing the cost-saving measure they propose every week. But agencies don’t follow through with most of those suggestions, and there’s more waste out there than GAO detects.

From solar-powered beer to President Barack Obama’s Hawaii vacation, here are the top 10 wasteful expenditures of 2015:

10. Space camp for Pakistani teenagers — $250,000
The Department of State spent $250,000 to send 24 Pakistani teenagers to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, so they could practice their English skills, according to the latest “Waste Report” by Kentucky’s Republican Sen. Rand Paul.

“Space Camp to learn English?,” Paul wrote. “By that standard, doing almost anything in an English-speaking country like the U.S. must qualify. Why not a trip to an amusement park?”

9. Hawaii’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit costs 10 times more than it recovers
Hawaii’s federally funded Medicaid Fraud Control Unit costs 10 times more to operate than its agents recover from Medicaid fraud investigations.

The unit reclaimed about $337,000 from 2011 to 2013, but spent $3.9 million running its operations in that same time period, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

“On the basis of our findings, OIG is concerned about the unit’s ability to carry out its statutory functions and meet program requirements,” the HHS IG said.

8. Empty buildings: $1.7 billion
Americans are spending $1.7 billion each year to maintain empty federal buildings, the Office of Management and Budget estimates. That’s about $53 per person in the U.S., per year. OMB claims there could be as many as 55,000 vacant or underutilized federal properties in the country.

7. Smokey Bear Laundromat: $25,000
The U.S. Forest Service spent $25,000 building a Smokey Bear Laundromat at the Lincoln National Forest in Ruidoso, New Mexico, when the closest privately owned laundromat was a mere one-fifth of a mile away. The price tag only includes the facility costs, not the washers and dryers, according to Paul’s Waste Report.

“Maybe you have anguished over a coffee stain on your pants or prayed an errant blotch of marinara sauce would come out of a white shirt,” Paul said. “Well, it seems the U.S. Forest Service is concerned about laundry too, which is why earlier this year they spent almost $25,000 to build the Smokey Bear Laundromat at the Lincoln National Forest in Ruidoso, New Mexico.”

6. Injecting monkeys with cocaine and other experiments: $150 million
Federal bureaucrats spent $150 million on “scientifically unjustifiable” experiments on animals, according to a report from Animal Justice Project USA and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Included in the $150 million was a $249,000 grant to the University of Kentucky to determine whether monkey behavior changes when they are injected with cocaine. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also gave $1.6 million to the University of California, Santa Barbara, to see if female rats are more likely to become addicted to cocaine than male rats.

5. Solar-powered beer: $200,000
The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave grants totaling about $200,000 to a handful of breweries to make beer while using solar panels, according to Sen. Jeff Flake’s Wastebook. Flake is a Republican from Arizona.

The lucky taxpayer-funded breweries include Bitter Root Brewing in Montana, Short’s Brewery in Michigan, the Snake River Brewing Company in Wyoming, and Maine Beer Company in Maine.

4. Obama’s Hawaii vacation: $3.7 million+
President Barack Obama’s annual trip to Hawaii with his family will cost taxpayers $3.7 million in airfare alone, since it takes $206,000 per hour to fly Air Force One, according to Judicial Watch. Last year, the first family’s vacation cost $8 million in total, according to documents obtained by the non-profit government watchdog group.

3. Afghanistan’s useless $43 million gas station
A $500,000 gas station project begun in 2011 in Afghanistan turned into a $42.7 million natural gas station — 8,000 percent over budget — by the time contractors finished the job, according to a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Special Inspector General John Sopko called the project “ill-conceived.” People in Afghanistan have little use for the station, since it costs about $700 to convert a car for natural gas use in a country where the average annual income is $690.

2. Salaries and pensions for VA employees who did unspeakable things on the job
The top watchdog responsible for overseeing Veterans Affairs masturbated in a glass conference room over multiple days in 2009, according to police reports and teachers who said they observed the whole thing.

But a federal prosecutor declined to charge then-Acting Inspector General Jon Wooditch. The former watchdog was being paid $172,000, plus bonuses and benefits, at the time. He is now retired with his full pension. The VA IG recently refused to release the investigative report on Wooditch, citing the Freedom of Information Act’s privacy exception.

Another VA employee, Frederick Kevin Harris, is still on the payroll at a Louisiana VA hospital as he awaits manslaughter charges in the death of a 70-year-old military veteran who died of an apparent beating. An internal investigation absolved Harris of any wrongdoing, but Louisiana prosecutors claim witnesses saw Harris hitting the man.

1. Animas River spill: $28 billion
Taxpayers could fork over as much as $28 billion to clean up the Animas and San Juan rivers after an Environmental Protection Agency contractor spilled millions of gallons of toxic waste under circumstances that remain less than fully understood.

Yellow mine waste has spread hundreds of miles downriver since the initial spill in August, and experts say it could take decades to clean up the mess left throughout the Navajo Nation. The EPA helped send 185 people to prison in 2015 over environmental-related crimes, but has yet to punish anyone over the spill that’s wreaked havoc on an entire region’s environment.

NOAA’s Mismanaged Satellite Programs To Cost Taxpayers $22 Billion

index.pngGovernment auditors slammed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Thursday for spending billions of dollars on critical satellite systems that have suffered huge delays and technical challenges.

The Government Accountability Office says NOAA environmental satellite systems are “critical to the United States’ ability to maintain the continuity of data required for weather forecasting.” NOAA was supposed to have launched $10.9 billion Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R back March 2016, but now the satellite system will launch months later than was planned.

GAO found the “the decision to delay the launch was due to poor schedule performance over the last few years (losing more than 10 days a month on average), recent technical issues with key components, and little schedule margin as the program entered integration testing.”

Auditors noted the “October 2016 launch date may also be delayed if additional technical challenges arise or if schedule performance remains poor.”

But that’s not all. NOAA’s also having problems with its $11.3 billion Joint Polar Satellite System program that’s scheduled to launch in March 2017. GAO found that while NOAA is making progress on the project it “has experienced technical issues that have affected internal schedule deadlines.”

These technical issues include “an issue with debris in an instrument’s subsystem that delayed its delivery by approximately 8 months, and faces key risks in the remainder of development.”

NOAA signed contracts to build the GOES-R system in 2012 based on a $1.4 billion design from Lockheed Martin, but the project’s price tag has grown dramatically — now closing in on $11 billion over the lifetime of the project.

A Commerce Department inspector general report from June found that NOAA’s GOES-R satellite system was supposed to launch in October 2014, but delays could leave “GOES on-orbit constellation without a backup satellite for 29 months out of a 33-month period from April 2015 to January 2018.”

NOAA satellites are important tools for weather forecasters and climate monitoring, and government agencies are in the midst of replacing older satellites that are at the end of their lifespans.

Agencies, however, have had huge problems getting satellites ready for launch in the coming years, and auditors have taken notice. GAO notes “these programs have troubled legacies of cost increases, missed milestones, technical problems, and management challenges that have resulted in reduced functionality and major delays to planned launch dates over time.”

GAO says “a polar satellite data gap would result in less accurate and timely weather forecasts and warnings of extreme events, such as hurricanes, storm surges, and floods.” This could place “lives, property, and our nation’s critical infrastructures in danger.”

GAO found in January that NOAA’s polar satellite programs cost increased $222 million since 2013 — a rate of growth GAO found to be unsustainable.

Half of this cost increase is “attributable to three main sensors: the Cross Track Infrared Sounder; the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder; and the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite,” reported Space News.

Stanford Employees Padded Their Salaries With $124K From Taxpayers

Two senior Stanford University employees padded their paychecks with $124,000 in taxpayer funds given to the school as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus program, according to a recent audit by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“[W]e noted $124,279 of senior personnel salary charges that exceed the NSF two-month salary limit,” according to a report by the National Science Foundation’s inspector general. The IG’s report also documented “$44,508 for unreasonable and unallowable travel expenses; $84,197 in allocation of costs that were not adequately supported or appeared to be based on an arbitrary estimate; $72,375 for improperly charged or inadequately documented costs; and $12,018 for a cost transfer related to a potential cost overrun on another NSF award.”

Read more HERE.

VA Execs Demoted, But Get To Keep Their Jobs And Fraud Money

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) executives Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves, both implicated in a fraudulent scheme which netted $400,000, were demoted, but not fired, and will keep taxpayer money.

Despite the inspector general making criminal referrals regarding the actions of Rubens and Graves, VA will not take any action to recover the fraudulently-obtained funds. Although Rubens and Graves have been demoted to general employee status, they still each make over $100,000 per year. To make matters worse, Graves was awarded a bonus of over $8,000 this year.

Read more HERE.

Obama’s 2015 Golf And Family Vacations Cost Taxpayers $3,115,688 — On Airfare Alone

President Obama racked up quite a few frequent flier miles in 2015.

A Tuesday report from Judicial Watch claims that Obama took three “unnecessary” golf and family vacations this past year, and American taxpayers footed the bill.

According to the new information, the travels to just Palm Springs in June, New York City in July and Martha’s Vineyard in August cost a cool $3,115,688.70.

June 20, 2015 (golf trip Palm Springs) — 10.6 hours in the air cost taxpayers $2,187,172.20

July 18, 2015 (took Sasha and Malia to NYC) — 1.5 hours in the air cost taxpayers $309,505.50

August 7, 2015 (family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard) 3 hours in the air cost taxpayers $619,011

Additionally, the report stated that “the total known expenses for travel by the Obamas and Bidens are currently $70,563,336.75.”

“President Obama evidently cares not one whit about the costs to beleaguered taxpayers for his personal and political travel,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Why would any public servant think it appropriate to use an Air Force plane (and an army of law enforcement) to take his daughters sightseeing in New York? Barack Obama is enamored with the presidency’s trappings of power and taxpayers are left holding the tab.”

Another Promise Broken:

‘Colossal waste’: DOD slammed for $43M, US-funded gas station in Afghanistan

It might be the world’s most expensive gas station — not to mention a gross misuse of taxpayer money, according to a top government watchdog.

The Department of Defense spent $43 million to build a gas station in Afghanistan that should have cost roughly $500,000, the lead oversight team monitoring U.S. spending in Afghanistan has found. The discovery came as part of a broader investigation into allegations of criminal activity within the DOD’s premiere program to kick-start the Afghan economy.

Read more HERE.

Scientist Who Called For RICO Charges Against ‘Climate Deniers’ Spent $500k Grant Money On Himself

Climate scientist Jagadish Shukla is now under congressional investigation.

On Monday, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology sent a letter to the attorney for the decorated George Mason University climate dynamics professor, calling for financial details regarding the Institute of Global Environment and Society, which Shukla heads.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said the committee is conducting an investigation into a series of grants “worth millions of dollars” into nonprofits established by Shukla and by what Smith’s letter calls “an egregious use of taxpayer money.”

Judicial Watch Obtains Records Revealing Obama’s February, March 2015 Golf Vacations and Fundraisers Cost Taxpayers $4,436,245.50 in Travel Expenses Alone

Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that Barack Obama’s February and March 2015 travel for golf vacations and fundraisers totaled $4,436,245.50 in taxpayer-funded transportation expenses. The documents regarding the Obama travel expenses came in response to two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by Judicial Watch.

To date, the Secret Service has not provided requested information, as required by FOIA, regarding security costs.

Using the Air Force’s official cost estimate of $206,337 per hour, the newly released records obtained by Judicial Watch show:

  • Obama’s February 14, 2015, golf outing to Palm Springs required a five-hour flight, costing taxpayers a total of $1,031,685.
  • Transportation for Obama’s February 19 day trip to Chicago cost taxpayers $619,011.00.
  • Transportation for Obama’s March 2015 fundraising trip to Los Angeles cost taxpayers $1,980,835.20.
  • Obama’s March 28, 2015, golf outing to Palm city required a 3.9-houright, costing taxpayers $804,870.30.

Read more HERE.

$3.25 Trillion: Government Collects Record-High Taxes in Fiscal Year 2015

The federal government collected a record amount of taxes in fiscal year 2015, totaling $3.25 trillion in revenue, according to the latest monthly Treasury Department statement. The federal government ran a deficit of $438 billion despite the record revenue.

Read more HERE.

Feds Spend $60,000 for Play About First Gay President Who Fights Zombies in WH Basement

The National Endowment for the Arts gave $60,000 for the production of a play about the first openly gay president of the United States who has to fight zombies in the basement, and who has a cheating First Man.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) highlighted the grant for “Zombie: The American” in his running series meant to expose wasteful spending.

Read more HERE.

IRS Did Not Stop Felons from Preparing Tax Returns

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not stop felons from preparing tax returns, according to an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

Tax return preparers are required to register with the IRS to get a preparer tax identification number before they can prepare any tax returns. In order to do so, they must apply and provide personal information such as their Social Security number, information about their business, professional credentials and whether or not they have had any past felony convictions.

Read more HERE.

Obamacare’s Failed New York Co-Op Drew Most Consumer Complaints

Health Republic of New York, the largest Obamacare co-op in the country, was ranked as the worst health insurance company in complaints in 2014, according to the New York State Department of Financial Services.

State regulators ordered Health Republic Friday to stop writing insurance policies as it was no longer qualified to provide health insurance policies under New York state standards. Health Republic is the sixth of 23 health insurance co-ops funded by Obamacare since 2011 at a cost of $2.4 billion.

Read more HERE.

USDA Wasted $6.2 Million on Cars It Doesn’t Use

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) spent $6.2 million on cars the agency does not need, according to a new audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Due to poor monitoring of vehicle logs the USDA has thousands of cars that are underused. The audit also identified $1.2 million in questionable fuel purchases by employees.

Read more HERE.

EPA’s fondness for high-end furniture costs taxpayers $92 million

The federal agency that has the job of protecting the environment doesn’t seem to have too much concern for trees, at least the ones cut down to make furniture.

The Environmental Protection Agency over the past decade has spent a whopping $92.4 million to purchase, rent, install and store office furniture ranging from fancy hickory chairs and a hexagonal wooden table, worth thousands of dollars each, to a simple drawer to store pencils that cost $813.57.

Read more HERE.


Feds Demand Payback From Stimulus-Backed Energy Company

The stimulus may be six years old, but the government is still dealing with its fallout. The federal government is now demanding a power company pay back millions of dollars in stimulus funds it got for a project it apparently never did.

North American Power Group was given $7.8 million by the government to research carbon sequestration, which included drilling a deep well in Two Elk, Wyo., to study the geology. To date, no well has been drilled and no jobs have been created, according to WyoFile.com.

Read more HERE.

HHS execs doing good and living large, flying first class around the world

Helping America’s poor, aged and sick is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ reason for being, but hundreds of its top officials are traveling in style and luxury at taxpayer expense.

Records obtained by the Washington Examiner under the Freedom of Information Act show that HHS executives spent $31 million taking 7,000 first class and business class flights between 2009 and 2013, including 253 trips for which a one-way ticket cost more than $15,000.

Half the records listed the price of a coach ticket for comparison. For that portion alone, the upgrade boosted the cost by almost $14 million, from $4.9 million to $18.5 million.

Obama’s Hawaii vacation is over, now it’s time for taxpayers to pay massive tab

President Barack Obama and his family just spent their Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Kailua. Now it’s time for taxpayers to pick up the tab.

While the Obamas and friends who accompany them pay for their own private vacation home rentals on or near Kailua Beach, taxpayers foot a multimillion dollar tab for everything from a stand-by ambulance to the fuel for Air Force One.

Local taxpayers pick up the bill for Honolulu Police Department escorts who guard Obama, first lady Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha around the clock. Figures just released by HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu show HPD spent $277,000 on overtime costs this year during the president’s 16-day vacation. That’s $16,000 less than in 2013, but $60,000 more than in 2012.

USDA Misspent $2.4 Billion on Food Stamps This Year

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued over $2.4 billion in improper payments on food stamps in fiscal year 2014, according to a new audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

In a report detailing the agency’s financial statements for the year, the OIG accounted for improper payments made from the most high-risk Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs.

The OIG said the government has been building up the food “safety net” for decades, adding programs so that now one in four Americans now receive federal food assistance.

Read more HERE.

U.S. pledges $3 billion toward global climate fund

The White House pledged late Friday that the U.S. will donate $3 billion to help poor countries adapt to the effects of global warming — the second high-profile announcement on climate change to come this week during President Barack Obama’s trip abroad.

The promised money for a multibillion-dollar Green Climate Fund will lend momentum to Obama’s hopes for reaching an international climate change agreement next year.

Read more HERE.

IG: $2B in disability claims approved by mistake

A small group of Social Security judges have improperly approved disability claims for nearly 25,000 people who didn’t qualify, costing taxpayers $2 billion over the past seven years, government investigators conclude in a report being released Monday.

The price tag will grow by nearly $300 million next year because many of these people are still getting benefits, the report said.

Read more HERE.

Medicare paid for meds after patients were dead

Call it drugs for the departed: A quirky bureaucratic rule led Medicare’s prescription drug program to pay for costly medications even after the patients were dead.

That head-scratching policy is now getting a second look.

A report released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general said the Medicare rule allows payment for prescriptions filled up to 32 days after a patient’s death — at odds with the program’s basic principles, not to mention common sense.

“Drugs for deceased beneficiaries are clearly not medically indicated, which is a requirement for (Medicare) coverage,” the IG report said. It urged immediate changes to eliminate or restrict the payment policy.

Medicare said it’s working on a fix.

Read more HERE.

Federal Government Made $20 Billion in Secret Purchases in Recent Months

Stage Production for 18-Minute Obama Speech Cost $94,360

The stage, drapes, and sound system for an 18-minute speech by President Barack Obama cost taxpayers nearly $100,000.

“Elite Productions,” the go-to company for prominent Democratic politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, put on the set for Obama’s speech to troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., on Sept. 17. The company provided “stage, drapery, and audio/visual equipment,” according to a contract document made public by the Air Force last week.

Read more HERE.

GAO: Feds Spent $3.7 Billion On Obamacare But Aren’t Sure Where It Went

The Obama administration hasn’t kept track of the $3.7 billion it spent last year on Obamacare and other federal health programs’ implementation, according to a federal audit.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency charged with implementing the health-care law, spent a boatload of money on building and advertising Obamacare exchanges, but it doesn’t have data to show what money it spent on what efforts — or what parts of it were effective.

Read more HERE.

U.S. Gov’t Loans $64.5M for Wind Farm–in Uruguay
The Export-Import Bank of the United States is giving a $64.5 million direct loan to a company in Uruguay for the purchase of wind turbines made by a Spanish company at one of its plants in Pennsylvania, according to the bank.

The $64.5 million direct loan to Astidey S.A. , in Montevideo, Uruguay” is for “the purchase of U.S.-manufactured wind-turbine generators being exported by Gamesa Technology Corporation Inc., headquartered in Feasterville-Trevose, Penn.,” reads the July 10 press release from the Ex-Im Bank.

Read more HERE.

Government made $100B in improper payments

The U.S. government is making roughly $100 billion in improper payments every year thanks to a combination of fraud, clerical errors and insufficient IRS enforcement, according to testimony at a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

“The amounts here are absolutely staggering,” Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said.

Read more HERE.

GAO: Medicaid Made $14.4 Billion in ‘Improper Payments’

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) determined that the Medicaid program doled out $14.4 billion in improper payments in fiscal year 2013, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Currently, the Medicaid program provides health care coverage to about 71.7 million individuals at an annual cost of about $431.1 billion. Because of the program’s large size, the GAO states it is vulnerable to improper payments.

Read more HERE.

Are modern U.S. embassies becoming too costly to build?

Building beautiful embassies comes at a cost.

In London, a modern glass structure nicknamed “the cube” will house the new U.S. Embassy when it opens in early 2017.

Six months into construction, however, CBS News learned the $1 billion project is already $100 million more expensive than initial estimates.

Read more HERE.

CBS: Obama State Dept. Wasting Millions on Embassy Aesthetics at Cost of Security Upgrades

On the June 4 episode of CBS This Morning, anchor Nancy Cordes devoted more than five minutes to a segment about the rising costs of building American embassies overseas. Instead of rebuilding embassies according to the straightforward standards of the Bush administration, she found, the State Department under Obama has jeopardized the safety of its consulates by embarking on lengthy and expensive renovations. By contrast, the competition at ABC and NBC failed to devote any resources to covering this revelation.

Read more HERE.

Medicare Made $6.7 Billion Wrong Payments In 2010 On Office Visits Alone

Medicare paid $6.7 billion wrong payments in 2010 for office visits and patient evaluations alone, according to an inspector general report released Thursday.

The improper payments make up 21 percent of all such Medicare spending on evaluation and management services, which totaled $32.3 billion that year. Just doctor office visits, emergency room assessments and inpatient hospital evaluations make up the evaluation and management services category — which consumed nearly 30 percent of all Medicare Part B payments in 2010.

Read more HERE.

Political TV ads on health law total $445M

A new analysis finds the nation’s health care overhaul deserves a place in advertising history as the focus of extraordinarily high spending on negative political TV ads that have gone largely unanswered by the law’s supporters.

The report, released Friday by nonpartisan analysts Kantar Media CMAG, estimates that $445 million was spent on political TV ads mentioning the law since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Spending on negative ads outpaced positive ones by more than 15 to 1.

Outside of Social Security and Medicare, “no other law has come close to these amounts, much less within such a short period of time,” said Elizabeth Wilner of Kantar Media. “It speaks to the intensity of the opposition among the ACA’s political critics” and their belief that the health care issue will benefit their party in this year’s elections, she said.

As the November midterm elections approach, the picture looks much the same, Wilner said, although a few pro-Democratic ads are countering with messages supporting the health law and a few pro-Republican ads have gone from a flat-out call for repeal to a message of replacing the law with “free-market solutions.”

In the 2014 congressional races, 85 percent of the anti-Obama ads were also anti-“Obamacare” ads, the analysis found. In some competitive races, 100 percent of the pro-Republican TV ads aimed at Democrats contained anti-health law messages.

Over the four years, an estimated $418 million was spent on 880,000 negative TV spots focusing on the law, compared to $27 million on 58,000 positive spots, according to the analysis. Nearly all of the spending was on local TV stations, in races ranging from state offices such as treasurer and governor to Congress and the presidential election.

The analysis is the first attempt to quantify the spending, said Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health, who wasn’t involved in the Kantar research.

“That is an extraordinary amount of money,” Blendon said. “It’s not just $20 checks.”

Blendon said the advertising assault on the law draws on lessons Republicans learned during the Clinton administration about harnessing “the ambivalence the middle class has about big reform” to win midterm elections. More than other issues such as immigration, opposition to the Affordable Care Act unites Republicans and independent conservatives.

The Kantar system captures and counts ads and spending in all 210 TV markets and on national broadcast and cable; then analysts code the ads for content and messages.

Wilner, who presented the report Friday at a national meeting of public opinion researchers, said this will be the third consecutive election cycle in which the health care law has been a top issue in TV advertising, but it’s the first one in which Americans have actual experience with the law as implemented.

With 8 million Americans choosing health plans on the new insurance markets, Democrats now have the opportunity to talk about the law’s benefits, said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. “It’s easier to pivot to real positives about the law. You can say, ‘Do you want to cancel 8 million people’s insurance?'”

The analysis also counted other spending last fall and winter on health law TV ads by insurance companies, states and the federal government, which increased the total to $700 million.

“Within the span of the enrollment period, nearly as much money was spent on ads trying to sign people up for coverage as was spent over the past four years on ads trying to scare people away,” Wilner said. But now that the enrollment period has ended, “they’ve left the field, and absent any big push by the law’s political supporters, the critics have it to themselves again all the way to this fall.”

GAO: Pentagon’s Finances Are a Mess

The Pentagon has roughly $7.2 billion in excess equipment, gave out more than $1 billion in improper payments, and wasted billions on a system for the Air Force to account for its inventory, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

According to a GAO report released Tuesday, the Department of Defense (DOD) faces “serious and continuing deficiencies,” including the inability to account for their total assets.

“Long-standing weaknesses in the Department of Defense’s (DOD) financial management adversely affect the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of its operations,” the report said.

Highlights from the report included:

Data from the end of fiscal year 2009 showed that of the about $94.5 billion in on-hand inventory, 9.4 percent, or about $8.8 billion, was excess. DOD’s most recent fiscal year-end data from September 2013, showed that of the about $98.9 billion in on-hand inventory, 7.3 percent was considered excess.
Data from the end of fiscal year 2009 through 2013 showed that the department had reduced its percentage of on-order excess inventory from $13.6 billion to about $10.2 billion, from 9.5 to 7.9 percent, with $812 million considered as excess.
In December 2012, DOD canceled the Air Force’s Expeditionary Combat Support System after having spent more than a billion dollars and missing multiple milestones, including failure to achieve deployment within 5 years of obligating funds. The system was to provide the Air Force with a single, integrated logistics system that was to control and account for about $36 billion of inventory. We issued several reports on this system and found that among other things, the program was not fully following best practices for developing reliable schedules and cost estimates.

In addition, the GAO found that DOD has paid over $1 billion in improper payments for years. The government watchdog said it fears that the total is much higher, since the agency “does not know the extent of its improper payments because of flaws in its estimating methodology.”

ObamaCare Contractor Wasting Taxpayer Dollars, Employees Spend Most Days Doing Nothing

Pentagon Paid $150 Per Gallon for Green Jet Fuel

The Department of Defense paid $150 per gallon for alternative jet fuel made from algae, more than 64 times the current market price for standard carbon-based fuels, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The Government Accountability Office noted in its report that a Pentagon official reported paying “about $150 per gallon for 1,500 gallons of alternative jet fuel derived from algal oil.”

GAO’s report examined the financial challenges facing increased purchases and use of alternative jet fuels by federal agencies. “Currently, the price for alternative jet fuels exceeds that of conventional jet fuel,” the report noted.

Read more HERE.

Golden Hammer: Job Corps used debit cards for clothes, phones, not travel

Since 1964, the Job Corps has spent millions of dollars providing education and vocational training to the nation’s youth.

And since 2011, federal employees and the students they’re training have been using that money to pay for cellphone bills, trips to the hairdressers, clothing, electronics and other personal expenses.

It’s all thanks to prepaid debit cards the government provides to students to help them pay for tickets and baggage fees while traveling to official Job Corps events. But the cards are being abused for personal gain, according to a report released Tuesday by the Labor Department’s inspector general.

Read more HERE.

Obama-Biden vacation tab reaches $40 million — $2.9 million alone for two Obama 2014 golf outings

606x404-4e0261b4eace2c72c858ea44925f2130The travel costs for vacations taken by the first family and the Bidens have reached over $40 million with the Air Force’s revelation that two golf outings by President Obama this year cost $2.9 million, according to the taxpayer watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The group said that the Air Force provided documents and records that put the price of the first family’s trip to Key Largo, Fla., in March at $885,683 just for flying Air Force One. The travel costs to golf in Palm Springs, Calif., in February, where the president also met with King Abdullah II of Jordan, was $2,066,594, said the Air Force documents, according to Judicial Watch.
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Judicial Watch has been filing repeated Freedom of Information Act requests for travel costs and the Air Force has provided many documents during the administration.

So far, Judicial Watch said that it has tabulated vacation travel costs, mostly just Air Force jet time, at over $40 million. Far more money is spent on accommodations, communications, rooms and cars for staff, security and U.S. Secret Service protection, Navy and Coast Guard ships offshore and the prepositioning of cars and helicopters, but those costs are not usually revealed.

“It is clear that the Obamas continually abuse the perks of the president’s office at taxpayer expense,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement to Secrets. “And it is particularly interesting that Obama has chosen to take not one but two luxury vacations back-to-back while inveighing against ‘income equality.’ President Obama’s waste of the hard-earned tax dollars of working Americans on unnecessary luxury travel is an abuse of office.”

Editor’s note: Judicial Watch is representing the Washington Examiner in the newspaper’s federal lawsuit seeking access to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau records under FOIA.

Below is the full release provided by Judicial Watch:

Judicial Watch Obtains Records Revealing Obama’s 2014 Palm Springs and Key Largo Golf Outings Cost Taxpayers $2,952,278 for Flight Expenses Alone

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today, it has obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that President Obama’s February 2014 Palm Springs, California, and March 2014 Key Largo, Florida, golf outings cost the taxpayers $2,952,278 for flight expenses alone.

According to the Department of Air Force documents, the flights to and from, Palm Springs for the February 17 – 20, 2014 trip totaled 9.8 hours at $210,877 an hour, which comes to a total of $2,066,594.60 in flight expenses. The records came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of request filed on February 18, 2014.

Also according to the Department of Air Force documents, the total cost for flights to and from Key Largo, Florida for the March 7 – 9 trip totaled 4.2 hours at $210,877, which comes to a total of $885,683.40 for flight in expenses. The records came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act request filed on March 10, 2014.

Though the administration billed the President’s Day weekend trip to California as an effort to highlight the state’s severe water drought, the White House official schedule showed the president spent just four hours at three drought-related events on the afternoon of Friday, February 14. He then spent much of the next three days playing golf at some of Coachella Valley, California’s, most exclusive golf courses, which, according to Fox News, “consume roughly 17 percent of all water there, and one quarter of the water pumped out of the region’s at-risk groundwater aquifer.” Each course uses nearly 1 million gallons of water a day.

During March 7 – 9, the First Family spent Spring Break at Key Largo, Florida’s, exclusive Ocean Reef Club, where members must have a minimum net worth of $35 million to join. According to its website, “the Club boasts two championship 18-hole courses, a rarity in the Florida Keys … a salon and spa, more than a dozen restaurants, a 175-slip marina, a private airport, and so much more.” The costly Spring Break vacation took place on the heels of Obama’s State of the Union Address in which he focused on income inequality.

According to records obtained by Judicial Watch, through FOIA requests and subsequent lawsuits, the Obamas and Bidens have spent more than $40 million taxpayer dollars on trips since 2009, beginning with the Obamas’ much-publicized New York City “date night” in 2009 up through the president’s most recent Palm Springs and Key Largo golf outings. The most lavish expenditure so far on record was for the Obamas’ 2013 Africa trip and Honolulu vacation, which cost taxpayers $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses alone. The single largest expense for accommodations was for Michelle Obama’s side-trip to Dublin, Ireland, during the 2013 G-8 conference in Belfast, when she and her entourage booked 30 rooms at the five-star Shelbourne Hotel, with the first lady staying in the 1500 square-foot Princess Grace suite at a cost of $3,500 a night. The total cost to taxpayers for the Obamas’ Ireland trip was $7,921,638.66.

Michelle Obama 2-Day Hotel Stay in China Costs $222K

Michelle Obama wrapped up her March visit to China with a stop in Chengdu, arriving on March 25 and departing for the United States on the following day. But that one leg of the trip alone required about 900 room nights, ranging from 21 rooms beginning on March 13 for the advance team to a peak of 144 rooms when the first lady herself was at the hotel.

The documents prepared in support of the stay estimated the cost at around 1,393,500 yuan (RMB), or $222,000 at current exchange rates:

Bier pic 3

USDA Made $6.2 Billion in Improper Payments Last Year

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made $6.2 billion in improper payments in 2013, according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The OIG released an audit earlier this month that found that at least $416 million in waste could have been avoided if the agency had met its reduction targets mandated by the Improper Payment Information Act (IPIA). In fact, the USDA has failed to comply with the law for a third consecutive year.

Read more HERE.

$251,000: Taxpayer Cost for FLOTUS, Daughters Side Trips in Dublin, and $3,300-Per Night Hotel Room

When President Barack Obama attended the G-8 summit in Ireland last June 17-18, first lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, went on the trip but made sightseeing visits in Dublin, attended a production of Riverdance, and toured a national park, activities that cost U.S. taxpayers $251,161.86, according to Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group.

Click HERE for a break down of costs…if you can stomach it.

Guess How Much Obama’s One Day Trip To Brussels Cost Us?

In late March, President Obama took a week-long trip through Europe which included a stop of less than 24 hours in Brussels, Belgium for meetings with the European Union and NATO. The president stayed at The Hotel, a twenty-seven story hotel in the center of the city. The estimated cost for the president’s stay, including about two weeks for an advance team, was $1,522,646.36.

Read more HERE.

State Department Misplaced $6B Under Hillary Clinton

The State Department misplaced and lost some $6 billion due to the improper filing of contracts during the past six years, mainly during the tenure of former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, according to a newly released Inspector General report.

The $6 billion in unaccounted funds poses a “significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” according to the report.

Read more HERE.


$4,887,083 USDA Grant For The University Of Tennessee, Knoxville’s “Get Fruved” Project

IG: SSA Sent Estimated $1 Million in Improper Payments to Prisoners

As the report states, “Studies SSA conducted identified SSI recipients who had their entitlement based on applications before January 1, 2000, and appeared to be insured for, but were not receiving, DI benefits. The Agency categorized these individuals as SDW cases. As of September 30, 2010, SSA reported a total estimated SDW liability of $173 million due the public.”

Read more HERE.

25 charged in largest health care fraud bust in D.C. history

More than 20 people have been arrested in what federal prosectors are calling the largest healthcare fraud takedown in the history of the District of Columbia.

Read more HERE.

Obama stimulus funds spent on DC dog parks

Washington, D.C. is not only home to many of the nation’s wealthiest zip codes, but it also where you can find some of the plushest dog parks.

The capitol’s elite pooches can thank President Barack Obama’s stimulus package for their green AstroTurf parks.

The conservative group Americans for Tax Reform noted in a press release that the Capitol Hill Marion Park received a whopping $90,825 in stimulus funds. The mountains of taxpayer dollars made the doggy playground one of the “Best Places to Hang With Your Dog in the DC Area,” according to the local CBS news affiliate.

Read more HERE.


60 Completely Outrageous Ways The U.S. Government Is Wasting Money

Is there anyone better at wasting money then the U.S. government? Despite the sequester and all of the talk about “deep cutbacks”, the federal government continues to waste money in some of the most outrageous ways imaginable. For example, does the U.S. government really have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to study the size and shape of the reproductive organs of ducks? Does the U.S. government really have to spend 1.5 million dollars to study why so many lesbians are overweight? There is so much waste that could still be cut out of the federal budget, and yet the very small sequester cuts that just happened are being described as “catastrophic” by many of our politicians. But you know what? The federal government will still spend more money in fiscal year 2013 than it did in fiscal year 2012 even after the sequester cuts are factored in. So if this is how much whining our politicians will do even though government spending is still going up, what would they do if we were actually forced to start living within our means at some point? That is something to think about. In any event, please show this article to anyone that believes that the U.S. government is actually “tightening the belt”. Sadly, the truth is that the federal government is still wasting our money in some of the most frivolous ways that you could possibly imagine.

Read more HERE.

Millions in farm subsidies flow freely to DC residents who don’t actually farm

Washington, D.C., doesn’t have many farms, or farmers. Yet thousands of residents in and around the nation’s capital receive millions of dollars every year in federal farm subsidies, including working-class residents in Southeast, wealthy lobbyists on K Street and well-connected lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Read more HERE.

Americans Spent $7.45B in 3 Years Helping Other Countries Deal With ‘Climate Change’

American taxpayers spent $7.45 billion to help developing countries cope with climate change in fiscal years 2010 through 2012, according to a federal government report submitted to the United Nations on a subject that Secretary of State John Kerry described as “a truly life-and-death challenge.”

Read more HERE.


IRS paid millions to tax delinquents

While federal law largely prohibits agencies from contracting with businesses that have federal tax debt, vendors doing business with the nation’s tax collecting body owe the government hundreds of millions of dollars.

In an audit released Wednesday, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that while the majority of the IRS’s vendors were in line with their federal taxes, 1,168 IRS vendors owed a combined federal tax debt of $589 million.

Read more HERE.

EPA warned of ex-official’s illegal salary, bonuses in 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency was warned as early as July 2010 that a senior executive who claimed to be a CIA agent was collecting pay and bonuses not allowed by law but took no action for years, according to a new report from the agency’s inspector general.

Auditors warned EPA administrators that continuing “retention bonuses” for John C. Beale, which were not authorized, had pushed his salary above the legal maximum.

Read more HERE.

Millions of dollars of farm subsidies were given to city dwellers including over $100,000 to Louis Farrakhan in Hyde Park!
farm subsidy report
Click here, to see the Open the Books interactive “Chicago, IL Farm Subsidy Heat Map”

Adam Andrzejewski and Open the Books just completed and released a new report called, “The Federal Transfer Report- Farm Subsidies & The Big Dogs”
Within the report, the group discovered this…

Case Study Example: Three Year Economic Savings Program, Inc., Hyde Park, 60615
A non-profit organization called Three Year Economic Savings Program, Inc received 19 payments totaling $103,529 (2008-11).

FARRAKHAN

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) shows the organization as located at the residence of The Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan. As the top recipient of farm subsidies in the Hyde Park neighborhood, it ranked twelfth amongst all Chicago recipients. The Illinois Secretary of State website has the entity’s status as “Not Good Standing,” clink here. Through the website muhammadfarms.com, the organization is still accepting donations.

Additionally- “Three Year Economic Savings Program, Inc.” received a $26,367 “commodity loan” issued by the USDA, Commodity Credit Corporation Fund: to improve & stabilize farm income, assist with a better balance between supply and demand of the commodities. This loan was signed for on November 17, 2008 during the last days of the George W. Bush administration.

The report also shows that millions of dollars in Federal Farm Subsidies are flowing into major American urban areas- where there are no farms…

Examples from the Open the Books report:

1. Three Year Economic Savings Program, Inc- a charity-arm of The Nation of Islam based in Chicago, received farm subsidies at the home address of Minister Louis Farrakhan.

2. New York based National Audubon Society received $960,000 – including a New York based tobacco subsidy.

3. Executives at U.S. Department of Agriculture and lobbyists in Washington, D.C. the people who created and manage these transfers, participate in the subsidy largess.

4. Elected U.S. Senators and Representatives received hundreds of thousands of dollars in farms subsidies.

1.7 Million In Taxpayer Dollars Going To Union Front Group Astroturfing #FastFoodStrikers Protest

The Restaurant Opportunities Center, a union front and ACORN knockoff, is extending its reach by working with other groups to stage protests in 100 cities Thursday.

In a push for a higher minimum wage and more union members, ROC is also hiring a national campaign director to shepherd the center’s multimillion-dollar budget, partially plumped by taxpayer dollars.

Read more HERE.

Audit: IRS Could Issue Up to $2.3 Billion in Fraudulent Tax Refunds Each Year

The IRS could issue nearly $2.3 billion in fraudulent tax returns to individuals who forge tax identification numbers each year, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

An audit released on Thursday found that the tax agency routinely issues refunds to business accounts with fabricated Employer Identification Numbers (EINs).

Read more HERE.

US State Department spends $1 MILLION on a single granite sculpture to decorate new embassy in London

The U.S. Department of State will spend $2.5 million next year on art to decorate its embassies, it was revealed Tuesday. The agency’s 2013 spending included $1 million for a single granite sculpture set to adorn the new American Embassy in London.

It’s part of the State Department’s ‘Art In Embassies’ program, which has 16 government employees curating art exhibits at diplomatic stations all over the world.

The State Department writes that the program ‘provides exhibitions to represent American art abroad.’ The $1 million art award will go to Sean Scully, an Irish-born artist who emigrated to the U.S. at age 30, and whose work resembles stacked piles of paving stones..

Read more HERE.

10 Ways Disability Fraud Has Cost Taxpayers Millions

Incompetence at the Social Security Administration (SSA) has cost taxpayers millions, according to a new report that highlights cases of easily identifiable fraud in the program.

The report, released Tuesday by the nonprofit advocacy organization Our Generation, documented 10 examples of fraud in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, totaling $8,321,190.

Read more HERE.

TSA Spent $900 Million on Behavior Detection Officers Who Detected 0 Terrorists

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spent approximately $900 million over the last 5 years for behavior detection officers to identify high-risk passengers but, so far, according to the General Accountability Office (GAO), only 0.59% of the passengers flagged were arrested and among those not one was charged with terrorism – zero. Read more HERE.

Chinese buying bankrupt Fisker at taxpayer loss, gov says it could have been worse

The green automaker Fisker Automotive filed for bankruptcy last week as the Obama administration sold off the financially troubled firm’s loan guarantee for a $139 million loss.

Read more HERE.

During chilly November, feds jet off to Caribbean resort at taxpayer expense

A group of federal officials skipped chilly Washington this month for a taxpayer-funded trip to the Virgin Islands in the name of protecting the world’s coral reef.

The organizer, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, isn’t saying much about the total cost or reasons for the trip or why officials chose the St. Croix beachfront resort Buccaneer Hotel (made famous by an episode of TV’s “The Bachelor”) as their destination.

Read more HERE.

Obama Admin Illegally Pays Out $29 Million For Prescriptions, $91 Million For Other Healthcare For Illegals

I don’t get my prescriptions paid for, but yes, let’s pay for prescriptions for illegal aliens, even though it is against the law. The Aministration doesn’t want to check because it has always been its aim to provide all care for illegals for free. Check this article commenting on that aim way back in 2008.

CMS, the agency that did this, also has a critical role in Obamacare as well. Oh goody.

Via Judicial Watch:

As if it weren’t bad enough that American taxpayers annually dole out huge sums to educate, incarcerate and medically treat illegal immigrants, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spent tens of millions of dollars to give them free prescription drugs.

In all, CMS, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), blew $29 million to cover Medicare Part D prescription drugs for 4,139 “unlawfully present” individuals that did not qualify for the benefit, according to an HHS Inspector General report. This occurred during a two-year period between 2009 and 2011, according to the agency watchdog.

If you think that’s bad, earlier this year CMS paid $91.6 million to health care providers to cover 2,600 ineligible illegal aliens. A 1996 law specifically prohibits illegal immigrants from getting federal healthcare benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid yet it continues to occur, despite audits exposing the violations. How? Because CMS doesn’t have policies and procedures that could enable it to detect such “improper payments,” according to an HHS Inspector General report released in January.

That means Americans will likely continue paying exorbitant amounts to provide illegal aliens with services banned by federal law. The prescription scandal involves Medicare Part D, a voluntary program that requires qualified beneficiaries to enroll in the federally approved prescription drug plan by completing paperwork.

Supposedly CMS uses information from the Social Security Administration to verify eligibility, but the new audit reveals this: “CMS did not have a policy addressing payments for unlawfully present beneficiaries under Medicare Part D that was equivalent to the existing policy that covers payments for these beneficiaries under Parts A and B.” That means the agency doesn’t have “internal controls to identify and disenroll unlawfully present beneficiaries.”

In a nutshell, it appears that the Health Department’s watchdog is essentially saying that there’s nothing the feds can do about this. The lost money cannot be recovered and the inspector general simply suggests the obvious; to “develop and implement controls to ensure that Medicare does not pay for prescription drugs for unlawfully present beneficiaries.”

Three ritzy Eric Holder events cost a staggering $400,000 in awards alone

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog blasted the U.S. Marshals Service for excessive spending on “swag,” but the attorney general spent half as much on just three events.

Internal documents reveal that award spending for the Annual Attorney General Awards Ceremony — headed by Attorney General Eric Holder — more than doubled between 2009 and 2011, coming to a total of over $410,000 in the course of just three ceremonies.

Read more Here.

IRS refunded $4B to identity thieves

The Internal Revenue Service issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds last year to people using stolen identities, with some of the money going to addresses in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ireland, according to a Treasury report released Thursday.

The IRS sent a total of 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania, and 343 refunds went to a lone address in Shanghai.

Read more HERE.

Feds Spent $29 Million on Prescription Drugs for 4,139 Illegal Aliens

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spent almost $29 million to cover Medicare Part D prescription drugs for 4,139 individuals “unlawfully present” in the U.S. and thus ineligible to receive federal health care benefits, according to an audit by Daniel Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health & Human Services.

Read more HERE.

Postal Service Overpaid Truckers $61.5 Million for Their Gas

The United States Postal Service overpaid trucking contractors $61.5 million through its Voyager Card Program, which allows drivers to expense their gas on a credit card.

According to the inspector general, the Postal Service failed to identify fuel overpayments by contractors on Highway Contract Routes (HCR), which covers more than 17,000 drivers.

Read more HERE.

Medicare paid millions to dead patients, illegal immigrants, probe finds

Medicare paid $23 million for dead patients in 2011 and $29 million for drug benefits for illegal immigrants from 2009 to 2011, according to a report Thursday from the Health and Human Services inspector general.

The investigators said Medicare has safeguards to try to stop payments to dead patients, but it still ended up sending out the $23 million anyway.

Read more HERE.

IRS wastes billions in bogus claims for Earned Income Tax Credit

The Internal Revenue Service paid up to $13.6 billion in bogus claims for the Earned Income Tax Credit last year and as much as $132.6 billion over the past decade, according to an internal audit that already has some members of Congress questioning how the agency will be able to administer Obamacare.

Read more HERE.

Feds Paid Prisoners $1 million in Disability Payments

The Social Security Administration (SSA) gave more than $1 million in improper disability benefits to 440 prisoners, according to the inspector general.

The Inspector General for the SSA (IG) based its report on a sample of 100 beneficiaries, and found that one-fourth had improperly received disability while they were incarcerated.

Read more HERE.

Feds Spend $84K on Eco-Friendly Exit Signs for Bowling Alley, Rec Center

Days before the government “shutdown” started, the Air Force contracted for an $84,380 upgrade on its ‘Exit’ signs for the Bowling Center, Recreation Center and other buildings on the Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station in Goose Creek, S.C.

Read more HERE.

IRS failed to account for $67 million in ‘indirect’ Obamacare implementation costs

The IRS is one of the key agencies responsible for the implementation and enforcement of Obamacare. From Fiscal Year 2010 to FY 2012 the IRS received $488 million from the Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund (HIRIF) — managed by the Department of Health and Human Services — to cover costs incurred to implement the president’s signature health care law.

Read more HERE.

FDA Spending $182,814 to ‘Better Understand’ Social Media

The agency awarded $182,814 to IB5k, a company billing itself as “the People Who Brought You Obama ’08,” to provide “comprehensive coverage” of the FDA’s social media websites.

Read more HERE.

$3.8M: Labor Dept. Employees Made Unauthorized Charges At Hilton, Target, Chick-fil-A

U.S. Department of Labor employees racked up an estimated $3.8 million in unauthorized or undocumented expenses over the past two and a half years, including charges at Hilton Naples Grande Beach Resort, Wal-Mart, Target and Chick-fil-A, according to an Inspector General (OIG) audit released earlier this month.

Read more HERE.

Labor Department to Spend $1 Million to Increase Gender Equality in Work – in Morocco

The purpose of the grant is “to help build the capacity of civil society organizations, including non-governmental organizations and trade unions, in the Kingdom of Morocco to address working women’s issues and empower women to more fully exercise their labor rights.”

Read more HERE.

U.S. Paying $25K to Make Park Benches from Garbage for Tijuana

According to an EPA press release, the agency joined the San Diego Center for Civic Engagement in awarding $45,000 to 4Walls International for the construction of park spaces that will use trash pulled from the Tijuana River Valley as building materials.

Read more HERE.

Feds Give Smithsonian $443,010 to Study Tree Biodiversity – in China

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $443,010 grant to study tree biodiversity in China. The grant – which funds the project from April 30, 2013 to Aug. 31, 2015 – is designed to “establish an international research coordination network that combines two existing forest networks in the United States with a set of forest plots in China, to advance understanding of how tree biodiversity determines the functional aspects of forests and to test hypotheses concerning the resilience of forests to global change.”

Read more HERE.

State Dept. to Spend $450K for Green Jobs–in Morocco

The State Department through its Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs plans to spend $450,000 to create green jobs in Morocco.

Read more HERE.

Social Security Wrongfully Paid $1.3 Billion In Disability

The Government Accountability Office says that the Social Security Administration made about $1.3 billion in payments over two years to about 36,000 people who were believed to be working, while claiming they were disabled.

The GAO arrived at this number by comparing names on the National Directory of New Hires and people on disability insurance.

Read more HERE.

State Dep’t Employee, Husband Defraud Government of $53 Million Through Lucrative Construction Contracts

A State Department employee and her husband have pleaded guilty to fraudulently acquiring $53 million in lucrative contracts, according to the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Read more HERE.

Feds Spending $2.2 Million to Study Lesbian Obesity

The federal government has spent $2.2 million studying why three quarters of lesbians are obese despite sequestration-mandated budget cuts that critics warned could “delay progress in medical breakthroughs.”

Read more HERE.

Bad: Obama Funding $313 Million In Home Mortgages – Worse: For Palestinians In The West Bank

And yet the Palestinians still hate our guts.

Via CNS News:

The U.S. government will fund $313 million in home mortgages for Palestinians living on the West Bank, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Monday.

The U.S. will also guarantee $110 million in loans to small- and medium-sized businesses located on the West Bank.

The mortgage and business-loan activities will be conducted by the federal Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). “OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution,” says OPIC’s website. “OPIC provides financial products, such as loans and guaranties; political risk insurance; and support for investment funds, all of which help American businesses expand into emerging markets.”

The GAO report released Tuesday described some of the actions OPIC is taking in the emerging market of the Palestinian territories.

Keep reading…

15 Ridiculous Ways the Government is Spending Your Money

Video games, robotic nannies, and caviar — your tax dollars supported all of these this year.

Sound ridiculous? We think so too. All across America , families balance their budgets, rein in spending, and pay down their debts. If Americans can do it, why can’t the federal government?

Heritage’s budgetary experts have updated our Federal Spending by the Numbers special report and are available to explain exactly how Washington spent $3.5 trillion of taxpayer dollars in fiscal 2013. (About $27,700 for every American household)

Check out these 15 examples of the ridiculous spending that is driving America toward a $17 trillion national debt.

1. GATHERING DUST: The Transportation Security Administration let 5,700 pieces of unused security equipment worth $184 million sit in storage in a Dallas, Texas, warehouse, which costs $3.5 million annually to lease and manage. Taxpayers lost another $23 million in depreciation costs, because most of the 472 carry-on baggage screening machines had been housed there for nine months or more. That’s a lot of money!

2. DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY: The National Science Foundation used part of a half-million dollar grant to develop a video game that simulates a high school prom.

3. BIRD IS THE WORD: The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research spent $300,000 on a study that concluded the first bird on Earth probably had black feathers.

4. CAFÉ CAR: Taxpayer-funded Amtrak recovered only 44 cents of every dollar of its food and beverage costs on long-distance routes, which already annually lose money.

5. SO MUCH FOR ROBOT NANNIES: The Office of Naval Research spent $450,000 on a study that determined unintelligent robots do not have the ability to maintain a baby’s attention.

6. RENOVATIONS ON A PRESIDENTIAL SCALE: The Oval Office is getting a facelift. While it’s out of commission, the President will need a pseudo-Oval Office, right? $376 million will go to an Oval Office renovation and plans to construct a second office for the President to use during the renovation.

7. FELLAS, GET YOUR GUNS: Do you think this guy appears taller, stronger, and manlier? The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research spent $681,387 on a study to confirm that he does—when he’s carrying a firearm.

8. THAT’S ILLOGICAL, CAPTAIN: The Internal Revenue Service spent $4.1 million on a lavish conference in 2010 for 2,609 of its employees in Anaheim , California . Expenses included $50,000 for line-dancing and “Star Trek” parody videos, $135,350 for outside speakers, $64,000 in conference “swag” for the employees, plus free meals, cocktails, and hotel suite upgrades.

9. DOUBLE DIPPERS: In 2010, 117,000 people who double-dipped into Social Security’s disability insurance program and the federal unemployment insurance program received $850 million in cash benefits.

10. GET IN THE HOLE! Did you know that golfers who imagine that the hole is bigger boost their confidence and accuracy? Thanks to the National Science Foundation, Purdue University , and $350,000 in taxpayer money, now you do.

11. MORE THAN POTATOES: In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture spent $300,000 on activities promoting caviar produced in Idaho .

12. IT’S THE UNLIMITED ICE CREAM: The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $149,992 grant to researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey who are trying to eliminate the infamous “freshman 15” by studying college students’ on-campus dining selections.

13. GIRL POWER? A $100,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts funded a video game that depicts a female superhero sent to save planet Earth from climate changes allegedly caused by social issues that affect women.

14. SO THAT’S WHAT “TRANSPARENCY” MEANS: Have you ever visited USASpending.gov? It’s a website dedicated to unveiling government spending. The Department of Health and Human Services failed to report $800 billion in spending on time. So much for “government transparency.”

15. WELL, THEY CAN’T WORK…: 1,000 prisoners like these in Pennsylvania collected weekly unemployment benefits over a four-month period, costing taxpayers $7 million. Thank you, poor oversight!

$78K Fed Study: Did ‘Climate Change’ Cause Decline of the Mayan Civilization?

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is giving nearly $78,000 of taxpayer funds to the Trustees of Boston University to study whether “climate change” was a primary cause for the decline of the Mayan civilization in Guatemala between 1000 BC and 900 AD.

Read more HERE.

$1M NIH Grant To Reduce HIV, Domestic Violence in Dar es Salaam , Tanzania

A $1 million study to reduce gender-based violence and the risk of contracting the HIV virus among Tanzanian men is being funded by The National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Read more HERE.

U.S. Spending $653K to ‘Reduce Tobacco Use’ Among Brazilian Women

The National Institutes of Health is funding a program to convince female “light-smokers” in Brazil to kick their bad habit, at a cost to American taxpayers of $653,190.

Read more HERE.

$2M Labor Dept. Grant to Improve Labor Laws in Georgia…The Republic, Not the State

The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking at least one partner for a $2 million federal grant intended to improve compliance with labor laws in Georgia…as in The Democratic Republic of Georgia, located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, not the U.S. state.

Read more HERE.

Federal Workers Got $155M in Tax Dollars to Work for Labor Unions

Federal employees were paid more than $155 million of taxpayer dollars in 2011 for spending more than 3.4 million hours of “official time” on labor union activities that fell outside their assigned government duties, according to a survey by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Read more HERE.

Feds Devote $2.25 Million to Study Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor Diseasesecuredownload

The National Science Foundation will spend $2.25 million to study the emergence, transmission and evolution of facial tumor disease in Tasmanian devils.

“Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are considered a grand challenge in the environmental sciences for the 21st century because of their effects on human, wildlife and agricultural health,” the grant description stated. “Infectious diseases are now listed as the sixth leading cause of species extinctions, and an EID has caused the endangerment of the iconic Tasmanian devil.

Read more HERE.

$2.44M Fed Study: ‘Deportation and Loneliness’ Led Former Illegals to Use Drugs, Whores

An ongoing federally funded research project that has cost taxpayers $2.44 million has concluded, among other things, that “deportation and loneliness” led former illegal aliens in Tijuana, Mexico to use drugs and patronize prostitutes.

Read more HERE.

Social Security Paid 1,546 Dead People $31 Million — Deceased Collected Benefits Up to 20 Years

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has paid at least 1,546 dead people $31 million, with some of the deceased receiving benefits for 20 years.

According to a June 21 audit by the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, 2,475 beneficiaries had a recorded date of death in Social Security’s own database. The IG determined that “at least” 1,546 of these individuals were in fact dead and still receiving benefits, totaling $30,956,695 through May 2012.

Read more HERE.

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