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Waste Watch: A Ride on Your Dime Part 2
Watch Part 1 of this two-part special report.
Mass transit across the country is subsidized with tax dollars. It always has been, and probably always will be. Springfield is no different. However, nearly all of the Springfield Mass Transit District's budget comes from three tax sources.
The system struggles to put people on its buses. But as we said in Part 1 of our story, there's a definite need for transit here. Our question was whether it needs to be this large.
Now, in Part 2 of A Ride on Your Dime, we look to see if there's wasteful spending by the SMTD, and we examine whether the head of the transit system, whose salary comes from your tax dollars, is qualified to run the SMTD.
According to the SMTD's own stats from the last three years, just 8 percent of those yearly budgets came form the fare box. Federal, state, and Sangamon County taxes covered the other 91 percent.
Those same stats show that on average, six out of every 10 bus seats go empty.
It appears there is a small but dedicated ridership that depends on the buses because they have no other way to get around. So yes, there is a need for public transportation here. But does it need to be this large? ABC Newschannel 20's Vince DeMentri posed this question to SMTD Managing Director Frank Squires.
"I'm thinking," he said after a pause. "I'm not--I'm thinking--I want to give you an answer here. Just a good 10-second soundbite here. Repeat your question one more time?"
So we did.
"No, I am not going to say that we're--let me start again," Squires said.
When he did, Squires spent the next several minutes comparing the SMTD to larger transit systems like Chicago's. But he never did answer the question.
So we looked to see if there were places to trim the fat. According to Squires, the SMTD has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last 15 years to belong to state and national associations that lobby on behalf of all mass transit. We asked Squires if he could point to one thing that any of these groups did that benefits the SMTD directly.
"These are associations, Vince, that the district has belonged to since I was a board member 14 years ago," he said.
"So because you belong to it for 14 years, you just continue to do it without thinking that, 'Hey, maybe this is cost we can do without?,'" we asked him.
"Vince, I will have to bring that before the board," he said. "The board makes the decisions as to what we belong to and what we don't belong to."
From 2007 to 2012, the SMTD spent $150,000 to belong to a group known as Q5. It's the economic arm of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Its mission is job growth and retention.
We asked Squires how Q5 helped put people on buses.
"If Q5 and the partnership of Q5 can help create more jobs in this town on all economic levels, that will increase--create a need for more ridership, and they can start to use the bus," he said.
"But they haven't?," we asked.
Squires did not answer.
In fact, in its first five years, Q5 didn't come close to its job creation goals. The SMTD just re-upped its contract with Q5 for more than $150,000 over the next five years.
Squires has been the SMTD's top man since last September. He recently retired as an investigator with the Department of Corrections. He has no hands-on transit or management experience. He did spend the last 14 years on the board that oversees the SMTD--the last five of those as chairman.
There are seven board members. All are appointed by the Sangamon County Board of Supervisors.
We asked Squires what qualifies him to run the show.
"What I bring to the board as a board member was, I grew up in the city of Springfield," he said after a pause. "I rode the bus as a kid. I'm well aware of things--of the bus district. Come over here, I lend my life experience, work experience, to working for the district."
As chairman, Squires was unanimously approved for the director's job by the remaining board members. There was no job search conducted. That made us wonder--how did Squires' Department of Corrections experience make him board-worthy?
"I was appointed to the board," he said.
We asked him how.
"I was appointed to the board by the then-county board chairman," he said.
We asked him who that was.
"That was my mother," he said.
We then asked Squires if he thought his appointment to the board by his mother was nepotism. He said he didn't think it applied.
Squires' salary is $102,000.
Several viewers went to Facebook to comment on Part 1 of this story.
James Caruso of Rochester wrote, "You could run a half-hour Waste Watch program every day in this city/state. This is excellent reporting! It's about time our state legislature and local services are exposed for their wasteful spending."
Kellie Cravens of Springfield wrote, "I seriously disliked the angle and attitude you approached SMTD. Not really interested in watching this kind of story. How did they become so awful? Unnecessary pointless drama. I felt sorry for the SMTD rep. Pretty cheap shot."
We appreciate all of your comments.
Our approach to the story was simple. In these tight budget times, the SMTD spends tens of millions of tax dollars on a service used by a small percentage of people.
No one is arguing we need bus service here. But does it need to be this large? And who is in charge of those millions of tax dollars?
As for Vince's interview with Squires, Squires knew we were going to talk to him about the SMTD's low ridership, its funding, and its spending. He had two weeks to prepare for that interview.
Watch Part 1 of this two-part special report.
Watch Vince DeMentri's interview with Frank Squires in its entirety.
Share your comments on this story on our Facebook page.
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- WH to Furlough Assistant Chef "Even White House chefs could be feeling the pain of government budget cuts," reports the AP.
- Overlapping wind energy initiatives spark claims of waste, as IRS increases tax credit A recent government report shows billions in taxpayer dollars are being swept away by pricey wind energy initiatives that often overlap, even as the IRS moves to up the value of a popular tax credit.
- 5 Govt Videos Every Bit as Terrible as the IRS Star Trek Parody...and You Paid For Them! Just how rotten and outrageous is the IRS' notorious Star Trek training video that cost $60,000 to produce? It's so bad the William Shatner - the man, the myth, the legend who played the interplanetary poon hound Capt. James T. Kirk on the original series - is appalled.
- EPA Settlement: Company Must Spend $76,952 to Replace Light Bulbs As part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Collins Inc. of Clinton, Iowa has agreed to a “re-lamping” of its facility with low-mercury fixtures at a projected cost of $76,952.
- Federal Govt. Spends $2.1 Million to Study 'What Animals Really Think,' Link to Humans The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $2.1 million grant over five years for a research project titled, “Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think.”
- $30,000 Federal Study Aims to 'Increase Intake of Tap Water' Among Latino Youth U.S. taxpayers are funding a $30,000 study aimed at getting Latino youth to increase their "intake of tap water" and decrease their intake of sugary drinks.
- Military IT projects wracked with delays, increased costs, GAO finds A U.S. government watchdog agency has found that nearly half of 14 large ongoing military IT projects are over budget and more than half are behind schedule.
- Federal Times: DoD still swamped by excess parts For almost a quarter-century, the Government Accountability Office has said the military’s management of equipment and parts stockpiles is one of the government programs most vulnerable to waste, fraud and mismanagement.
- U.S. News: How Taxpayer Money Gets Lost in the Wind In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to eliminate federal programs that are "excess weight." If the president still wants to keep this promise, he could start by tackling federal subsidies for wind energy, which a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says are rife with wasteful spending.
- Few Senators sacrifice pay following sequester budget cuts Only a few senators are planning to forfeit a portion of their salaries to charity or the U.S. Treasury while sequestration is in effect, according to a survey conducted by The Hill.
- HHS Report Shows Tens of Millions Lost in Medicare Overpayment A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General shows nearly $70 million lost in Medicare overpayments to suppliers of durable medical equipment – most of which will go unrecovered.
- Senator Tom Coburn's Call for Action Against "AWOL" Federal Employees US Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has called on the federal human resources department to take action against federal employees who are not doing their job.
- Washington Examiner: Groups led by inside trader, child abuser got Obamacare co-op loans Federal officials approved Obamacare loans totaling $127 million last year to groups led by individuals whose backgrounds included an insider trading conviction and another with a long history of child sexual abuse, The Washington Examiner has learned.
- Tax Freedom Day 2013 is April 18 -- Five Days Later than Last Year April 18 will be Tax Freedom Day, the day when Americans have worked enough to pay all of their federal and state taxes for 2013 – a round total of $4.22 trillion, according to an analysis done by the Tax Foundation.
- U.S. House panel moves to fire workers with overdue tax liens; union protests budget cuts During a period when federal employees face a third year of the freeze on their basic pay rates and furloughs that could swipe up to 20 percent of their pay, a House committee is going after the tiny percentage of feds with federal tax liens.
- Failed Iowa entrepreneur awarded $112 million for Obamacare co-ops Federal officials awarded $112 million to fund new Obamacare health insurance cooperatives in Iowa and Nebraska to a group whose politically connected chief financial officer recorded at least three business flops since 2009.
- Anti-Waste Senator Coburn: Fire federal emplyees who are ‘paid to do nothing’ Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, says that federal employees who don’t do their jobs should be laid off before critical employees like food inspectors and air traffic controllers are furloughed due to sequestration.
- Colorado lawmakers aghast at state agency’s ‘shopping spree’ Colorado state lawmakers reviewing an audit of how the Department of Revenue ran its medical marijuana enforcement program half-jokingly called for oxygen Wednesday when they learned of what one senator called a “shopping spree” for expensive furniture, unnecessary electronics and a fleet of cars that went largely unused.
- 'Wasteful Spending' Poll: Few Agree On What Government Waste Is, Most Want To Cut It Polls repeatedly show that while Americans want to cut government spending in the abstract, they oppose nearly all the specific cuts needed to actually balance the budget. But there's one thing Americans agree that Washington can cut: waste.
- IRS Concedes Star Trek Parody Video Was Waste of Taxpayer Money The video, which was filmed in the IRS’s Maryland studio, makes use of an elaborate set and costumes to depict a scene in which the spaceship is hurtling toward the planet “Notax.”
- Federal government still pays veterans benefits to children of Civil War veterans An Associated Press analysis of federal payment records found that the government is still making monthly payments to relatives of Civil War veterans -- 148 years after the conflict ended.
- Unemployed, Illegal Immigrant Uses His Video Game Habits to Earn "Deferred Action" An unemployed illegal immigrant who has spent the last few years playing video games reportedly used records of his playing time to apply for and receive President Obama’s “deferred action” status.
- Taxpayer money finances IRS "Star Trek" parody According to a statement from the IRS, the "Star Trek" video was created to open a 2010 IRS training and leadership conference.
- Biden's One-Night Paris Hotel Tab: $585,000.50 As it turns out, Vice President Joe Biden's London stay in February was not the most expensive part of his trip. A government document released on February 14, 2013 shows that the contract for the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand came in at $585,000.50.
- NY May Give NBC Tax Credits to Move "Tonight Show" to NYC This comes as the show may get a new host in the move.
- Government still on the air despite sequester. The federal government placed 22,195 spots on radio last week. That’s despite the sequester’s mandatory across-the-board budget cuts.
- U.S. Spending $227,437 to Study How National Geographic Depicted Animals
- Senator presses USDA for more info on non-citizen food stamp use, participation rates
- Senate Democrats block effort to end USDA/Mexico food stamp promotion partnership Democrats prevented an effort to block funds for the Agriculture Department’s “partnership” with the Mexican government, which is aimed at promoting nutrition assistance programs among Mexican Americans, Mexican nationals and migrant communities in America.
- FL Moves to Ban EBT Card Use at Strip Clubs Florida lawmakers are considering legislation that would ban those receiving government assistance from using their electronic benefits (EBT) cards at strip clubs, casinos, liquor stores, and gun stores.
- Reporter Challenges Cost of Obama Golf Outings After Sequester Cuts Close White House Tours White House Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to entertain a question from ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl regarding the cost of one of President Barack Obama’s common golf outings.
- $1.8M Federal Grant Helped D.C. Make Fruits and Vegetables Available at Work The municipal government of Washington, D.C. received a $1.8 million federal Community Transformation Grant in 2012 to promote healthy lifestyles in the city.
- Feds pay for study on why lesbians are fat A Harvard-affiliated hospital will study why so many lesbians are overweight, thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the federal government.
- ‘Oz’ film costs Michigan taxpayers $40 million Thanks to Michigan’s film subsidies, the production of Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” forced the state to pay nearly $40 million to Hollywooders critics consider the Wicked Witch of the West.
- Redundant federal inspections of labs working with anthrax wasting tax dollars Although difficult to estimate a federal watchdog warns waste due to overlapping anthrax lab inspections could be 'significant'
- Medicare paid $5.1B for poor nursing home care Medicare paid billions in taxpayer dollars to nursing homes nationwide that were not meeting basic requirements to look after their residents, government investigators have found.
- REPORT: John Paulson May Move To Puerto Rico To Avoid A Gigantic Tax Bill According to Bloomberg's Stephanie Ruhle, Katherine Burton, and Zachary Mider, hedge fund manager John Paulson is considering leaving New York to go to Puerto Rico, where a tax loophole would let him reduce taxes on the $9.5 billion he has in his own hedge fund.
- Pentagon slammed on spending to help allies, blames lack of 'maturity' A Pentagon program to help U.S. allies spent $20 million without goals, guidelines or sometimes approval, watchdog says
- Town With only 2,100 Residents Racks up $1.5M in Fines in One Month All Because of Two New ‘Scam’ Traffic Cams Elmwood Place is a village in Ohio with only about 2,100 residents. In September of last year, the town just north of Cincinnati had two traffic cameras installed to nab speeding drivers, mostly as they made their way to I-75 .
- CA Councilman Proposes Email Tax To Fund Postal Service A Berkeley city councilman has suggested that a tax on email may be wise way to help fund the United States Postal Service, according to the blog Berkeleyside.
- Maine governor takes on USDA to fight food stamp fraud Maine Gov. Paul LePage blasted the United States Department of Agriculture for denying his request for a waiver to allow the state to require food stamp recipients to provide photo identification when using their electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards as way to cut down on fraud.
- New Phone App Tracks Government Waste Federal spending seems more outrageous when it hits close to home, and now smart phone users are able to monitor government waste instantly with the “Open the Books” mobile phone application.
- Fiscal hawks say government waste, unspent funds could offset sequester Republican Sen. Tom Coburn has identified several programs at the Pentagon he'd set aside, including a video called "grill sergeants" in which the instructors show their favorite recipes; money for a plan to send a space ship to another solar system; funds to find advancements in beef jerky from France; and $6 billion on questionable research, including what lessons about democracy and decision-making could be learned -- from fish.
- A watery waste of taxpayers’ money TO MISSOURI lawmakers, it’s a common-sense community development project. To what seems like almost everyone else, it’s a bizarre waste of taxpayer money and an ecological disaster that a few members of Congress refuse to drop.
- Obscure, unaccountable federal green energy lab targeted for spending cuts A secret green-energy lab in Colorado stands to lose up to $17 million in federal funding, but that won't be enough to satisfy members of Congress who want to defund it altogether.
- High-flying Holder: Report shows AG, FBI director used luxury jets for personal travel Two high-tech luxury jets that the FBI convinced Congress were needed for the fight against global terrorism have instead been used to ferry around Attorney General Eric Holder and his predecessors, as well as FBI Director Robert Mueller, according to a government report released this week.
- Why Should Taxpayers Give Big Banks $83 Billion a Year? On television, in interviews and in meetings with investors, executives of the biggest U.S. banks -- notably JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon -- make the case that size is a competitive advantage. It helps them lower costs and vie for customers on an international scale. Limiting it, they warn, would impair profitability and weaken the country’s position in global finance.
- People with $7,000 on Food Stamp Cards Will state audit accounts of people with excess money on food stamp cards?
- Rand Paul returns surplus operating budget Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he will send a $600,000 check to the U.S. Treasury, returning the part of his operating budget as a senator that was not spent.
- Insurer with NY's 'worst' record of complaints gets $340M Obamacare loan A health insurance company headed by an old friend from when President Obama was an Illinois state senator got a $340 million federal loan to establish Obamacare co-ops in New York, New Jersey and Oregon despite having a chronic record of consumer and regulatory complaints.
- Medicare, Congress waste $334 million by overpaying for infusion drugs Because Congress locked some drug costs at 2003 prices, Medicare has wasted $334 million dollars over the last six years by failing to buy medication at the best possible discount, according to a new investigation that reinforces just how prevalent waste and abuse are inside the government's main health program for senior citizens.
- Contractor Whose Company Got Nearly $500M in IRS Contracts Says He Didn't Have Personal Relationship With IRS Staffer Braulio Castillo, owner of Signet Computers, told CNSNews.com today he did not have a personal relationship with any Internal Revenue Service employee after the Associated Press reported that the House Oversight Committee was investigating whether a personal relationship between an IRS employee and Castillo "produced a series of government contracts worth about $500 million."
- House GOP majority leader calls World of Warcraft research grant 'government waste' "The National Science Foundation spent $1.2 million paying seniors to play World of Warcraft to study the impact it had on their brain," reads the statement from Rep. Eric Cantor, calling the "pay to play video games" study an example of government waste.
- IRS Audit: Agency wastes taxpayer cash on Blackberrys and aircards Everyone always wants the latest technology, but a government auditor said Tuesday that the IRS wasted millions of dollars on BlackBerrys and wireless modem aircards that employees don’t need or even use.
- IRS Audit; Read the Inspector General's Report
- NH Lawmakers voting on free ski passes for themselves The pass costs others $79. Lawmakers would ski for free.
- 10 Biggest Risks That Threaten Taxpayer Dollars Climate change is a new addition to the 30 “high” risks confronting federal government finances, according toa report issued by the Government Accountability Office. The risk list—updated for each session of Congress—targets programs with “greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or the need for transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges.”
- Waste: Biggest Porker of 2012? See the Nominees Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) announced the nominees for its 2012 Porker of the Year. People may cast their ballots for the candidate they think was the most reprehensible Porker in 2012 in an online poll at www.cagw.org
- $7.3 million Afghan police headquarters funded by U.S. sits unused Only 12 people are using an Afghan police compound with a capacity of 175 people, and they don't have keys for most buildings
- Administration Will Spend $1.8B to Build 20-Mile Railroad on 30-Mile-Wide Island The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that $1.55 billion in new federal tax dollars will be allocated for the first-ever Hawaiian Transit Rail system on the island of Oahu, which will serve downtown Honolulu, at a total federal and state cost of $5.1 billion.
- "Obama Phones": Millions Improperly Claimed U.S. Phone Subsidies The U.S. government spent about $2.2 billion last year to provide phones to low-income Americans, but a Wall Street Journal review of the program shows that a large number of those who received the phones haven't proved they are eligible to receive them.
- VA spends $273 million on glitchy digital system that has slowed veterans claims VA's effort at digitizing paperwork is so badly bungled that veterans' claims are taking four times longer to fill out, investigators find
- IRS cracking down on ID theft, tax fraud With tax filing season heating up, the Internal Revenue Service is mounting an aggressive crackdown against identity theft and tax refund fraud.
- Government is wasteful enough that sequestration is acceptable, witnesses say House hearing exploring ways to curb waste and duplication in government showcased an apparent consensus that there may be little harm in allowing the roughly 8 percent across-the-board agency spending cuts scheduled to kick in March 1 to actually take effect.
- Watchdog: Fannie, Freddie may have lost over $3B A federal watchdog has found that government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may have lost more than $3 billion from big banks' alleged rigging of a key interest rate.
- How Many Times Can You Delay Spending Cuts? Atleast Twice According to the White House President Obama urged lawmakers to again delay the automatic, governmentwide spending cuts before they take effect on March 1.
- Agencies in One State Lobby Lawmakers with Tax Dollars There’s no shortage of lobbyists making their cases around Harrisburg, but some may be getting paid with taxpayer dollars.
- Reporting government waste or fraud in NC? There's an app for that
- Energy-Cutting Measures Working So Well That Utility Customers Now Facing New Fees Last week, some customers of an Arizona utility company were a shocked by the notice they received along with their monthly bill. The bill stuffer informed them in the coming months they would see a new charge in light of the success of energy efficiency measures.
- Report: Gov't allowed high pay at bailed-out firms A government report criticized the U.S. Treasury Department for approving "excessive" salaries and raises at firms that received taxpayer-funded bailouts during the financial crisis.
- Twitter May Get Tax Break for Giving Away Promoted Tweets They're called "charitable contributions" and companies will get big breaks.
- Maryland Co. creates $150k post for bus studies Some government officials and residents question the necessity of the position and whether a person who oversees two studies should receive such a big paycheck
- US Wasted Millions Of Dollars On Afghan Police Cars That Don't Exist The U.S. unnecessarily paid $6.3 million on contracts for Afghan police vehicles from April 2011 to September 2012.
- http://washingtonexaminer.com/around-the-watchdogs-taxpayers-protection-alliance-probes-gsa-green-group-ties/article/2519036 Officials with the Taxpayer Protection Alliance want to know more about the relationship between the General Services Administration and the U.S. Green Building Council, and whether the latter is profiting from their connections.
- Lawmaker on Bill Clinton’s taxpayer-funded TV: ‘Do you really need Showtime in your office?’ Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says all the still-living former presidents of the United States “should be embarrassed” for spending taxpayer money on their offices when they are all millionaires.
- You're Paying for Bill Clinton's Cinemax (See the bill) That’s just one eyebrow-raising expense a former occupant of the White House has been allowed to put on the taxpayer tab every year, even though every living ex-president is quite wealthy.
- Watchdog sees pork in Sandy relief bill The House of Representatives today passed a package of more than $50 billion in Hurricane Sandy relief that will provide immediate aid to disaster-stricken areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, despite a flood of Republican opposition.
- Gas Tax: New pay-per-mile scheme would boost taxes 250 percent An on-again, off-again move by the Obama administration to scrap the federal gas tax in favor of a pay-per-mile fee would boost the tab to Americans as high as 250%,
- OK Governor spends half-a-million out of state Half-a-million tax dollars in Oklahoma.. sent out of state. A State Representative calls the Governor a hypocrite for turning back millions of Federal dollars, and now using money he says we don't have.(From our sister station in OKC)
- Charlotte Observer: New state tests waste tax dollars The barrage of new state tests being rolled out this year is “an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars” that won’t help kids, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Heath Morrison said.
- Second VA official quits after wasteful conferences spotlighted Another top Department of Veterans Affairs official has resigned in the wake of Inspector-General reports criticizing two "Patton parody" employee training conferences, The Washington Examiner has learned.
- Planned Parenthood received $542.4 million in government grants and reimbursements from 2011 to 2012 Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report for 2011-2012, released Monday, reveals that the abortion and women’s health provider received $542.4 million from taxpayers in government grants and reimbursements — constituting 45 percent of the organization’s revenue.
- The Fiscal Times: 12 Incredible Examples of Government Waste This Year ....and you paid for them all.
- Despite informal ban, Congress shows earmarks alive and well with Hawaii center The East-West Center - long targeted for defunding - was protected by Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye, even after his death
- Welfare recipients take out cash at strip clubs, liquor stores and X-rated shops Results of an investigation into a database of 200 million Electronic Benefit Transfer records from January 2011 to July 2012.
- Hollywood Gets Tax Incentive Extension in Cliff Deal Section 317 of the freshly approved legislation includes an extension for "special expensing rules for certain film and television productions." Congress first enacted production tax incentives favorable to the domestic entertainment industry in 2004, and extended them in 2008, but the deal was meant to expire in 2011.
- 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Includes 'NASCAR Tax Credit' The "fiscal cliff" deal reached by the Senate and the White House on New Year's Eve, and passed in legislative form by the Senate early New Year's Day, includes many giveaways to special interests--including an extension of a perk enjoyed by "motorsports entertainment complexes" otherwise known as the "NASCAR tax credit."
- Obama Returns to Hawaii at an Added Cost of Over $3 Million In a move that is rich in irony, President Obama agreed Tuesday night to sign an emergency deficit reduction bill that does almost nothing to rein in spending and then jetted out to Hawaii to resume his vacation at an extra cost of more than $3 million to taxpayers.
- More Free Phones on Your Dime; California Steps Up It could be largest expansion of federal program that already costs $1.75 billion and benefits carriers like Carlos Slim's Tracfone
- Taxpayers funding 35 six-figure union chiefs at Transportation Department Thirty five federal employees with the U.S. Department of Transportation are being paid tax-funded salaries averaging more than $135,000 annually, but they don't do work for the public. They work full-time for unions.
- 'Sandy Bill' Becomes Mini Auto Bailout The legislation to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy has been turned into something of a mini auto bailout, according to those familiar with the Obama administration's request. The request includes millions of dollars worth of cars, to be paid for by the federal government.
- Hate All This Talk About Raising Tax Rates? Here Are 15 Countries with No Income Taxes Whatsoever On the table in today’s political debate is the concept of raising taxes on some, or even all Americans (should the fiscal cliff kick in). If this bothers you, here are eleven countries that you would (hopefully) never, ever have to worry about paying an income tax in.
- IRS aims to clarify investment income tax under healthcare law The Internal Revenue Service has released new rules for investment income taxes on capital gains and dividends earned by high-income individuals that passed Congress as part of the 2010 healthcare reform law.
- 5 More Ways The U.S. Government Wastes Your Money With exploding debt, you might think your representatives in Washington appreciate the need to crack down on wasteful spending. As this article will demonstrate, that's wishful thinking.
- Why Congress Might Abandon the Debt Ceiling Ezra Klein points out that Senate GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed chucking out the debt ceiling in the summer of 2011.
- Black Friday: Treasury Borrowed $211.69 Per U.S. Household on Day After Thanksgiving The U.S. Treasury increased the net debt of the United States $24,327,048,384.38 on the day after Thanksgiving, which equals approximately $211.69 for each of the nation’s 114,916,000 households.
- Government spent more than $16 billion on advertising, marketing in last decade The government has spent more than $16 billion over the last decade on outside advertising, marketing and public relations contractors, feeding a cottage industry of inside-the-Beltway and Madison Avenue firms that help federal agencies burnish their images and tailor their messages, an investigation by the Washington Guardian and Northwestern University's Medill News Service has found.
- State Department: Andrew W.K. Won't Party In Bahrain On Government Dime Andrew W.K., whom NPR Music described as the "long-haired, wild-eyed, keyboard-pounding, sublimely over-the-top party-rocker," won't be taking his party to Bahrain. At least not on the government's dime.
- Harbor to nowhere: Stimulus-funded Alaska harbor project without road access In what seems like a reprisal of the “Bridge to Nowhere” fiasco, Alaska’s federally funded small-boat harbor in the village of Akutan is completed — but there is no road to get there.
- Government paid $1.5 billion unnecessarily to nursing facilities Medicare, Medicaid win a Hammer after probe finds they were billed for therapy at nursing facilities that was exaggerated or unnecessary
- FHA projected to exhaust reserves, could need bailout The Federal Housing Administration, which has played a crucial role in stabilizing the housing market, said it ended September with $16.3 billion in projected losses -- a possible prelude to a taxpayer bailout.
- Pentagon slammed for spending money on breweries, dinosaur study Sen. Tom Coburn, a fiscal conservative, says Pentagon is spending too much on frivolous non-defense items
- Watchdog: Coburn report IDs $68 billion in DOD spending cuts The Pentagon is squandering billions of dollars annually on everything from its own brand of beef jerky and microbreweries to religious debates involving mythical Klingons from the TV show "Star Trek," according to a scathing report on military spending issued today by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
- Rules fail to restrain big-spending VA officials Big-spending U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials got star treatment when they planned a $6.1 million pair of controversial human resources training conferences in Orlando last year.
- Quarter-billion-dollar stimulus grant creates just 400 jobs Battery maker A123 Systems vowed thousands of new jobs when it received a nearly quarter-billion-dollar stimulus grant in late 2009, but federal job-tracking figures show only a few hundred positions were created before the company joined a growing list of federally backed energy businesses that ended in bankruptcy.
- Spending on White House dinners soars under Obama President Obama has spent far more lavishly on White House state dinners than previous chief executives, including nearly $1 million on a 2010 dinner for Mexico's president, according to documents obtained by The Washington Examiner.
- Tennessee 'Greenbelt Law' Helps Wealthiest Reap Tax Breaks, From Wynona Judd To Billy Ray Cyrus Country music royalty including Billy Ray Cyrus and The Judd's are among a star studded list of of wealthy Tennesseans who are reportedly taking advantage of loopholes in their tax code in order to claim huge breaks on estates and undeveloped land.
- Bored workers play cards at clean energy firm that got federal funds Workers at a Michigan electric car battery making firm that got millions of federal economic recovery funds have so little to do that they sit around playing cards, watching movies and reading magazines.
- Wastebook 2012: Government Wasting Your Money? Read the entire report from OK Senator Tiom Coburn.
- Annual "Wastebook" Released Highlighting 100 Cases of Tax Dollar Waste Robotic squirrels, Martian food and more caviar. All these are government projects being paid for with your tax dollars.
- TARP cost $24 billion, says CBO Originally projected to have made a profit for taxpayers, a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the Troubled Asset Relief Program instead cost $24 billion.
- Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Firms Subpoenaed by Federal Watchdog The Treasury Department’s top watchdog has opened an investigation into a popular grant program that helped finance a host of green energy projects, according to a recent SEC filing by one of the companies under investigation.
- Fraud, Waste, and Abuse In Government-Run Medical Programs A report prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) providesconclusive evidence of overbilling fraud on a massive scale ...
- Dept. of Transportation Subcontractors Arrested In Connection With Grate Thefts Along I-95 According to PennDOT, they have been “mysteriously disappearing” over the last year, putting drivers in danger.
- REPORT: Feds paid $40M to firms tied to Sen. Claire McCaskill's husband... Businesses affiliated with the husband of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill received almost $40 million of federal subsidies for low-income housing developments during her first five years in office.
- Biden’s claim that the Romney tax plan would raise Social Security taxes Cue the scary music. Having repeatedly — misleadingly — beaten up the GOP presidential ticket for its plan to overhaul Medicare, Vice President Biden traveled to Florida last week to allege that Mitt Romney plans to raise taxes on Social Security benefits.
- Report: Billions spent on more than 1,500 solar projects A Government Accountability Office report shows that there were 65 federal initiatives to support solar technology in 2010 and 2011.
- Sources, documents suggest government-subsidized Abound Solar was selling faulty product Seven months after calling themselves the “anti-Solyndra,” the Colorado-based solar panel manufacturer Abound Solar announced it was filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, arguing that cheap Chinese solar panels flooding the market caused their demise.
- VA employees turned Orlando conferences into taxpayer funded vacations Events costs taxpayers more than $6 million while federal workers took free massages, limo rides, helicopter tours and Rockettes show tickets
- Debt Jumped $1.2759T in FY 2012; Up $10,855 Per Household in Just 12 Months; Beats 2011 That means the federal government borrowed approximately an additional $10,855 for each household in the United States just over the past twelve months.
- Almost 2,400 people in millionaire homes received unemployment benefits in 2009 Almost 2,400 people who received unemployment insurance in 2009 lived in households with annual incomes of $1 million or more, according to the Congressional Research Service.
- Amtrack Shows Government Waste At Work: The 16 Dollar Hamburger Your Taxes Fund In a nation where Barbie says that "math is hard," people still have the math skills to understand that Amtrak's $16 burger that sells for $9.50 is a bad deal. Maybe the world's worst premium-priced burger could be the symbol that finally opens the floodgates of real reform.
- Watchdog: USDA spends millions for globe-trotting conferences Federal farming gurus have spent nearly $56 million in recent years attending conferences around the world to talk about everything from bugs and bacteria to dirt and diversity.
- Stimulus-Funded Housing Project Installs Anti-Bedbug Sauna A Portland, Oregon public housing complex – partially funded by federal stimulus dollars – is using a specially built "bedbug sauna" to combat infestation of the tiny parasites.
- CBO: Even with subsidies, electric cars are still uncompetitive Federal subsidies for new electric cars still aren’t enough to make them competitive with conventional gas-powered cars and traditional hybrids, according to a new Congressional Budget Office report.
- VA admits spending $100 million on conferences in 2011 t turns out the Department of Veterans Affairs spent $100 million on conferences last year - not the $20 million it previously claimed - and it didn't account for that money to a Congressional committee demanding details, either.
- Feds say no to 'Made in Germany' on small Indiana town's 'Buy American' machinery Memo to the water department in Nappanee, Ind.: It's hard to say you're "buying American" when what you bought is stamped "Made in Germany."
- Wall Street Journal: General Motors pushing U.S. to sell stake: Government Says No he Treasury Department is resisting General Motors' push for the government to sell off its stake in the auto maker, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- Utah Rep.: ‘The U.S. Military Is Spending $20 Million for Firewood’ During a House Oversight Committee hearing on Thursday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) revealed that the U.S. military is currently spending about $20 million on firewood. That’s right, firewood.
- Solyndra lawsuit: Full refund to taxpayers Many Americans were upset when solar-panel maker Solyndra filed for bankruptcy last September owing taxpayers more than $500 million, but retiree Robert Grady Jr. was different. The more he read about the failed company, the more irritated he became. Read more: Solyndra lawsuit: Full refund to taxpayers
- Senate report highlights Social Security disability benefit abuses A woman was awarded Social Security disability benefits because of "crippling hand pain" from carpel tunnel syndrome, but still managed to work as a bartender.
- House votes to limit agency 'junkets' after GSA Vegas folly The House voted Tuesday to cap federal agency spending on conferences at $500,000 per meeting and to limit the number of people who can attend.
- Pentagon Buying Volts; Helping to Save Troubled GM Green Car? The Pentagon is buying Chevrolet Volts to help “green up” the military—while propping up sales of the bailed-out automaker’s most politicized car.
- GM denies losses of $49,000 on every Chevrolet Volt General Motors is dismissing a media report describing the Chevrolet Volt, its extended-range electric car, as a major money loser. Those reports, the automakers says in a statement, are "grossly wrong."
- CBO: $1.17 trillion deficit for first eleven months in 2012 The U.S. Treasury Department will report a $1.17 trillion deficit for the 11 month of the fiscal year this year, according to the CBO Monthly Budget Review.
- Pentagon spends on chauffeur uniforms; VA can't explain where rent profits go Pentagon executives' chauffeurs are in line to get new outfits at taxpayer expense. Meanwhile, a member of Congress says he can't get answers about how the VA spends millions of dollars it makes from renting out property it owns.
- Happy Solyndra Anniversary! One-Year Since Tax Payers Lost a Half Billion Dollars Take a look back at the big Solyndra money loss and scandal that followed about waste of taxpayer money.
- Administration: Bingo Games Can Promote Food Stamp Use The USDA wants to add to the record 46.7 million Americans who receive food stamps, including seniors the agency says could be convinced to sign up for the government program through parties featuring games like Bingo and crosswords.
- CBO: Under Current Law, Unemployment Will Rise Next Year to 9.1% The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is projecting that if changes in federal taxing-and-spending policies already enacted and set to take effect at the beginning of next year do in fact take place, the unemployment rate will climb to 9.1 percent.
- California Spending More On Prisons Than Colleges, Report Says There's a direct relationship between how much money the Golden State spends on prisons and how much it spends on higher education, according to a report put out by the non-partisan public policy group California Common Sense. When one goes up, the other goes down.
- $10 Trillion Withdrawn From U.S. Treasury This Fiscal Year Alone, Treasury Says Although the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the federal government will spend $3.563 trillion in fiscal year 2012 and the White House Office of Management estimates it will be $3.795 trillion, actual withdrawals from the U.S. Treasury have already exceeded $10 trillion.
- GSA official reprimanded for planning party to celebrate herself The General Services Administration’s Julia Hudson was ready to party last month, inviting roughly 1,200 federal employees to celebrate the second anniversary of her appointment as the scandal-scarred agency’s National Capital Region administrator.
- Report: US Health Care System Wastes $750B A Year The U.S. health care system squanders $750 billion a year — roughly 30 cents of every medical dollar — through unneeded care, byzantine paperwork, fraud and other waste, the influential Institute of Medicine said Thursday in a report that ties directly into the presidential campaign.
- Would More Stimulus Reduce Food Stamp Rolls? (VIDEO) Barney Frank says yes.
- Congressman Urges New GSA Commissioner to Utilize Civilian BRAC Process to Eliminate Waste within the Agency “In the face of a $16 trillion debt, it’s time we get serious about eliminating waste and increasing efficiency in our government," Congressman Jeff Denham said.
- Government waste ‘pork watch’ at State Fair An interesting story from the Oregon State Fair...about searching for government waste.
- Congress Wants To Know: Did Your Stimulus Dollars Pay For Ads on MSNBC? Washington Times: “We understand this contract used taxpayer dollars to purchase advertisements on MSNBC during ‘Countdown With Keith Olbermann’ and ‘The Rachel Maddow Show,’” the lawmakers wrote.
- Washington Guardian: Dem congressman spent donations on family trip, graduation The House Ethics Committee is taking more time to review allegations that a congressman representing New Jersey misused campaign funds by spending them on personal expenses, including a family trip to Scotland and a high school graduation party for his daughter.
- VA spent millions on six days of Hawaii games More than $2.5 million was spent last year by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on a six-day series of sporting events for aging veterans at a posh Hawaiian resort.
- Fed agencies defend fortunes spent on hippest chairs in the office Federal bureaucrats are addicted to Aerons, the trendy ergonomic chairs that can sell for more than $1,000 apiece.
- Federal Cuts Threaten Taps Being Performed Live At Military Funerals With federal funding being cut, they may have to switch to a recording as opposed to a live tribute.
- Agencies resist Congress on conference spending data Demands for a full accounting of federal conference costs are being rebuffed by agencies that can't or won't produce spending records sought by Congress.
- Solyndra investors could reap tax windfall Two investment companies stand to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks under a bankruptcy exit plan for failed solar company Solyndra, government lawyers say.
- Watchdog: VA spent $90K on conference coffee breaks The Department of Veterans Affairs spent $90,747 on coffee and refreshments during morning and afternoon breaks at a pair of training conferences in Orlando last year.
- After Federal Grant, Taxpayer questions $800 thousand to beautify bridge A federal grant will pay for $800 thousand dollars to give a Cobb County, Georgia bridge a makeover, and one resident believes it's a misuse of his tax dollars.
- Taxpayers could lose big on Solyndra factory sale A sale for the bankrupt Energy Department loan guarantee recipient Solyndra could yield a huge loss for taxpayers.
- D’oh! US Postal Service wasted $1.2 million on ‘Simpsons’ stamps The U.S. Postal Service — which is currently in the throes of snowballing debt — wasted $1.2 million on the production of “Simpsons” themed stamps, according to an inspector general’s report.
- You Paid $52,000 for a Movie Parody for a Commercial A $52,000 parody of the opening sequence in the movie "Patton" commissioned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and paid for with taxpayer dollars was released by the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
- Pentagon says it spent $208 million on conferences Department of Defense (DOD) officials have spent more than $200 million since 2007 hosting conferences on topics ranging from protecting combat forces to breast cancer research.
- More Taes or Spending Cuts? CBO Says We Must Decide Congress‘ chief scorekeeper warned that the country’s top lawmakers can’t continue to put off big decisions on the budget and the economy much longer, and said either path — belt-tightening now or even deeper cuts later — will be painful.
- Labor Department spends stimulus funds for ads during Olbermann, Maddow shows The Labor Department paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal stimulus funds to a public relations firm to run more than 100 commercials touting the Obama administration’s “green training” job efforts on two MSNBC cable shows, records show.
- General Motors Is Headed For Bankruptcy -- Again (After You Bailed Them Out) From Forbes.com: President Obama is proud of his bailout of General Motors. That’s good, because, if he wins a second term, he is probably going to have to bail GM out again.
- Did Biden Donor Receive $20 Million Federal Loan to Start Auto Dealership in Ukraine? n late July, John Hynansky — a longtime friend of Vice President Joe Biden, and a major donor to Biden’s campaigns as well as President Barack Obama’s — was awarded a $20 million taxpayer loan to build a foreign-car dealership in Ukraine.
- Pentagon wastes billions by failing to coordinate drone technology The military is failing to coordinate development of aerial drones, costing taxpayers unnecessary billions.
- U.S. Government's Foreign Debt Hits Record $5.29 Trillion The money the U.S. government owes to foreign entities rose to a record $5.2923 trillion in June, according to data released by the U.S. Treasurythis week.
- Select Group of Federal Retirees Collect Six-Figure Pensions More than 21,000 retired federal workers receive lifetime government pensions of $100,000 or more per year, a USA TODAY/Gannett analysis finds.
- Some House freshmen getting comfortable with Washington ways A new Sunlight Foundation analysis finds extensive evidence that more than a few of the 2010 freshmen are giving in to Washington's ways on the campaign finance and lobbying fronts.
- Texas' Congress members double-dip with public pensions Of Texas' 34-member Congressional delegation, 12 are taking a pension from a public retirement plan, according to financial disclosures filed by the politicians.
- Some California ‘Meter Maids’ Are Making Nearly $100K a Year Brian Calle at the Orange County Register notes that for just 10 Hermosa Beach state employees, taxpayers are paying more than $1 million in bloated salaries, health, and retirement benefits. These are not highly-trained specialists, but what are sometimes referred to as “meter maids” .
- Taxpayers to Lose $25 Billion on Auto Bailout, Not $3.3 billion The Treasury underestimated how much money taxpayers would lose on the auto bailout by 15 percent or $21.7 billion. That's right, they missed the estimate by $21.7 billion.
- Former TARP IG met 'huge, huge resistance' from Treasury, DOJ Neil Barofsky, the first and now-former Special Inspector-General for the Troubled Asset Recovery Program (SIGTARP), says he met "huge, huge resistance from day one" within and without the federal government and on Wall Street in his effort to investigate how the $700 billion expenditure was administered, what was done with the tax dollars by the banks and other financial institutions that received loans through it in the great bailout of 2008, and whether the effort accomplished what Congress intended.
- Chart Shows How Much New Debt has Been Added Since the Senate Passed a Budget The Senate Budget Committee Republican staff under Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) released the following chart:
- USDA announces plans to cut down on food stamp fraud Amid mounting pressure to pass a House farm bill, the United States Department of Agriculture announced new plans to crack down on food stamps fraud.
- USDA spends $2M, gets one intern, program fails United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials spent $2 million on an internship program that had one intern, as it failed to use properly $63 million in federal funding provided for USDA to protect itself from hackers.
- Should The First Lady Get A Paycheck? The President was speaking to a group of supporters — mostly women — in Denver and he appeared to float the idea
- Your Money: Obama signs bill requiring detailed ‘sequester’ report to Congress President Barack Obama now has 30 days to give Congress a detailed report on exactly how the sequester budget cuts will affect domestic and military programs.
- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac report profitable quarters, still owe taxpayers $146.5 billion Fannie Mae is reporting a $2.2 billion profit for last quarter. This is only the second quarterly gain for the mortgage giant since being taken over by government conservatorship in 2008.
- Trillion dollar bank insurance program may sneak into legislation A little-known bank insurance program implemented in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis may quietly slip into legislation and become permanent.
- Washignton Times: Government waste not simply a Washington problem Opinion: Local legislators take a page from federal handbook
- Analysis: Real stimulus spending is at least $2.5 trillion since 2008 Tom Firey of the libertarian Cato Institute estimates that the U.S. has dumped at least $2.5 trillion of fiscal stimulus into the economy since 2008.
- ‘Outrageous’: Amtrak Employees Likely Stealing $4-$7 Million in Food Each Year Amtrak lost more than $800 million on its food and beverage services over the last 10 years, largely because of waste, employee theft and lack of proper oversight, government auditors have found.
- New GM's turn to subprime loans could prevent bailout payback to taxpayers Revelations that the New General Motors is using increased subprime lending to power its recent sales may doom any chance that taxpayers will ever recover the still-unpaid chunk of the $49.5 billion the federal government spent in 2009 bailing out the former auto industry giant.
- Solyndra Reform Law Planned Amid White House Jeering New law comes after repeated failures by "green" companies which received government loans.
- Solyndra Applauds: "Bank of Washington" Solyndra’s CEO labeled President Barack Obama’s administration “The Bank of Washington.” Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/02/obamas-bank-of-washington-applauded-by-solyndra-ceo-in-email/#ixzz22QaEx2Bo
- Rubio Introduces Bill to Eliminate Olympic Medal Tax Winners must pay tax on honorariums.
- 60 House Bills to Name Post Offices, Zero To Fix Mail Service In the 18 months the 112 th Congress has been sworn in, the House has introduced 60 bills to rename post offices.
- Junkets held by Education Department cost taxpayers $1.5m a year Federal education officials spend more than $1.5 million every year on a gathering of college financial aid administrators held at high-end vacation destinations.
- Harry Reid open to bill that would fire federal workers owing $1 billion total in back taxes [VIDEO] The total dollar amount of taxes owed by federal employees is $3.4 billion if retirees and military personal are included (almost 280,000 workers), according the most recent IRS data available.
- How to rip off the taxpayer: SIGTARP shares secrets Investigators overseeing the federal bank bailout program have turned up multiple ways dishonest bankers tried to scam taxpayers out of their money -- a whole bunch of their money.
- U.S. Audit: $200M Wasted on Iraqi Police Training U.S. auditors have concluded that more than $200 million was wasted on a program to train Iraqi police that Baghdad says is neither needed nor wanted.
- Obama Budget Forecast Predicts $8.3 Trillion Over Next Decade The number comes as part of a 10-year budget forecast.
- 'USA! USA!' Congressman's Anti-Big Government Rant Gets Standing Ovation On House Floor Congressman gets a standing ovation after a passionate speech about how big government is killing jobs in his district.
- Judge Sentences Detroit Lottery Winner Who Also Collected Welfare (Your Money) to… Remember Amanda Clayton? If the name doesn’t sound familiar, the story likely will. She’s the Detroit-area woman who was caught in March collecting welfare despite winning a $735,000 lottery prize.
- Who Will Pay For $7 Billion Amtrak Renovation? Amtrak is proposing a $7 billion transformation of Union Station, intended to triple passenger capacity and transform the overcrowded station into a high-speed rail hub for the Northeast.
- Medicare Bonuses? Guess Who's Getting Them? House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa berated a top Obama administration official at a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday over a Medicare bonus program that federal investigators say is ineffective and should be cancelled.
- Ron Paul wins: House votes to audit the Federal Reserve House lawmakers voted today to have an independent audit the Federal Reserve take place, a process that will probe the Wall Street bailouts and other Federal Reserve decisions since the 2008 financial crisis.
- GAO: 2011 Debt Ceiling Showdown Cost $1.3 Billion A new report from the Government Accountability Office finds that last year’s debt ceiling showdown between House Republicans and the White House cost the government $1.3 billion – increasing market uncertainty and raising federal borrowing costs.
- Woman Who Exposed GSA Waste Also Wasting Your Tax Dollars? An internal website on the GSA’s vast computer network showed images of Ms. Brita at another wasteful GSA conference. This time, she wasn’t the whistleblower, but just another high-level GSA official having a good time
- New solar failure got subsidies from Dems and GOP? Amonix announced last week it was closing down its 214,000-square-foot Las Vegas factory that makes solar panels.
- Earnings Show Recession May Be 'Fast Approaching' While this quarter's earnings reports have crossed a substantially lowered profit bar, future expectations through the year indicate a recession could be on the way.
- Potential Increase in Death Tax Could Make 2013 An Expensive Year To Die Changes on Jan. 1, 2013 could affect many families at already tough times.
- 35 states got too much stimulus funding Thirty five of the 50 states got more economic stimulus funding to help them with their Medicaid budgets than they should have, according to the Inspector-General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-IG).
- Troubled federal agency paid for cooking classes, hosted holiday video contest Amid an ongoing congressional probe into the General Services Administration, a CNN investigation has uncovered more evidence of wasteful spending at the agency, including cooking classes for employees that cost as much as $3,350 per class.
- NASCAR wins fight to keep taxpayer funding A deeply divided House voted to continue letting the Pentagon use taxpayer money to sponsor sports leagues and teams — a victory chiefly for NASCAR, which had fought feverishly to maintain tens of millions of dollars that go to some of its teams every year.
- Should You Be Taxed... Just to Drive? The San Francisco Bay Area is considering a long-range plan to become the first place in the nation to tax drivers for every mile they travel, with an average bill of up to $1,300 per year.
- Gov. Wants Road Repaired So Michelle Obama Doesn't Have a Bumpy Ride In an effort to prevent Michelle Obama from enduring a bumpy ride to a fundraiser at his Berkshire mansion, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s office has requested that town officials plug potholes on the road to his residence.
- Busted again! GSA spent $270,000 on one-day awards ceremony Fresh off the Las Vegas conference scandal that cost the General Services Administration (GSA) chief her job, House investigators have learned of a one-day GSA awards ceremony that cost over $270,000 in 2010.
- $225,000 in Stimulus Money Will Put Solar Waterheater in County Jail The Department of Energy has doled out $225,000 in stimulus money to heat hot water at a jail in Frederick County, Md.
- For the First Time, Canadians Now Richer Than Americans For the first time in recent history, the average Canadian is richer than the average American, according to a report cited in Toronto's Globe and Mail.
- Congresswoman enjoys a publication called ‘The Fat Sandwich,’ at tax payer expense Americans may know Connecticut Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro for her progressive politics and edgy fashion sense, but according to disbursement forms, she also enjoys a publication called “The Fat Sandwich.”
- U.S. official says government wasted $6-8 billion in Iraq reconstruction The official in charge of monitoring America’s $51 billion effort to reconstruct Iraq has estimated that $6 billion to $8 billion of that amount was lost to waste, fraud and abuse.
- Energy Dept. 'Unable to Locate' $500,000 in Equipment Bought With Stimulus Money An audit conducted by the Energy Department’s Office of Inspector General was "unable to locate" $500,000 worth of equipment purchased with stimulus money by a recipient of funds distributed through the deparment's “Advanced Batteries and Hybrid Components Program,” according to an audit report published by the OIG.
- New Jersey Cities Abusing Pension Law May Waste Millions New Jersey local governments failed to remove hundreds of contractors such as lawyers and engineers from pension rolls, which may cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year of improper payouts, a state audit shows.
- States Ows $30 billion in loans to feds Twenty-two states owe after borrowing to pay for unemployment benefits.
- Circuit Court of Appeals Cancels Lavish 2013 conference Amid Controversy Under pressure from Republican senators over its upcoming conference in Hawaii, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has canceled next year's scheduled meeting in Monterey, citing budget constraints.
- Congresswoman calls out government waste; Another "meeting" with your money An engineering and research division within the Commerce Department called NIST held a conference in Orlando in May. The Congresswoman says her evidence shows the conference cost significant tax dollars without obvious benefits for taxpayers.
- Income tax-delinquent FCC employees owe more than $1 million Many government employees at the Federal Communications Commission have failed to pay taxes they owe..
- Senators tell judges to cancel Hawaii junket Senate Republicans told the 9th Circuit Court to cancel its mid-August trip to Hawaii, saying the court failed to prove why the trip was necessary even though it had been given weeks to respond.
- Congresswoman demands investigation into millions of taxpayer dollars used for Disney World conference Florida Republican Rep. Sandy Adams is digging into a federal agency she said has misused millions in taxpayer dollars for, among other things, a trip to Disney World.
- Price tag for tariff waivers at least $80 million: Examiner analysis Bayer wants a tariff break worth at least $10 million a year. DuPont wants a similar break for $4.8 million a year. GE, $1.4 million. And Spalding — the sporting goods folks — want at least $1 million.
- Government under fire for 'novela' ad campaign promoting food stamp enrollment The Department of Agriculture is coming under fire for its "aggressive" ad campaign, including a 10-part series of Spanish-language "novelas," to convince people to go on food stamps -- at a time when one in seven are already enrolled.
- After Solyndra Failure, DOE Official Calls Energy Loan Program an ‘Enormous Success’ During a hearing on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program for “green” energy projects on Thursday, DOE Loan Program Office Acting Executive Director David Frantz had some surprising news: contrary to report, after report, after report, the program has actually been an “enormous success.”
- Are You Willing to Foot the Bill For Another Stimulus? A few Federal Reserve policy makers said the central bank will probably need to take more action to boost the labor market and meet its inflation target, according to minutes of their June meeting.
- $62 Million "Railroad to Nowhere" with Your Tax Dollars? The train carried 412,200 people last year.
- Taxpayer’s Right to Know Act Will Cost Taxpayers $100M to implement The Congressional Budget Office has found that a proposed bill that aims to provide detailed publicly available reports of federal programs will cost $100 million to implement over a five year span, Federal News Radio reports.
- Another Rich Person Dumps Citizenship to Avoid Paying U.S. Taxes Socialite Denise Rich dumped her U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes here. She's the wife of a pardoned billionaire trader Marc Rich.
- MA Gov Welfare Card Restrictions Would Still Allow Purchases at Nail Salons MA lawmakers are battling over how to restrict welfare purchases. But, even the governor's plan doesn't stop some purchases.
- PA town slashes employees to minimum wage http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/09/political-statemate-leads-to-city-workers-salaries-cut-down-to-minimum-wage-in/
- CBO: Federal spending dropping but trillion-dollar deficit still likely The federal government ran a $60 billion deficit in June and is already more than $900 billion in the red this fiscal year, but there is some bright news: basic government spending appears to be dropping, the Congressional Budget Office estimated.
- The Rich: Chicago Abortionist Collects $3.1 Million In Medicaid Reimbursements–In One Year According to a Crain’s Business report, Dr. Caroline Hoke received $3.1 million dollars in Medicaid reimbursements in the 2009 fiscal year for abortion services.
- Transportation Workers Receive Big Pay Hikes, Worth It? The average salary of TxDOT's 10 highest paid workers topped $200,000 as of April 1 — 21.4 percent above that average a year earlier. The top three salaries, at an average of almost $251,000, were 42.5 percent higher than the top three salaries' average a year earlier.
- Welfare Loophole: Sisters Make $540,000 Babysitting Their Kids A four-month investigation of the $340 million taxpayer-funded "Wisconsin Shares" welfare childcare program found the program rife with abuse and loopholes.
- As GM shares near record low, taxpayer loss on bailout rises to $35 billion The Treasury still owns 26.5% of GM, or 500 million shares. Taxpayers are still out $26.4 billion in direct aid. Shares would have to hit $53 for the government to break even.
- Bankrupt Colo. solar firm sticks taxpayers for $68 million, doomed by poor quality Despite glowing press clippings in which the CEO of Colorado-based Abound Solar claimed seven months ago that his company was the “anti-Solyndra,” the green-energy firm has filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.
- Gov’t Waste: Michigan Using Tax Dollars to Fight Drunk Driving With — ‘Interactive Urinal Communicators’? In preparation for what they expect to be a rowdy, booze-fueled Fourth of July holiday, the Michigan State Police’s Office of Highway Safety Planning is distributing 400 “Interactive Urinal Communicators” that warn patrons about drunk driving to restaurants and bars in four different counties (Wayne, Bay, Ottawa and Delta).
- A $6 billion nuke shack? Department of Energy officials concede that existing government installations can handle everything they want done at their proposed $6 billion Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement-Nuclear Facility
- USDA Suggests Food Stamp Parties! Is the government begging people to join a program funded by your tax dollars?
- Top Secret: Feds Won't Say What Food Stamps Buy (with Your Tax Dollars) Americans spend $80 billion a year financing food stamps for the poor, but the country has no idea where or how the money is spent.
- With No Vote, Taxpayers Stuck With Tab on Bonds Surprised local taxpayers are finding themselves obligated for parking garages, hockey arenas and other enterprises that can no longer pay their debts
- Green company creates three jobs in three years, gets another $80 million from DOE Department of Energy officials gave a New Hampshire-based biofuel company access to $80 million for a Michigan project that has already fallen short of job creation expectations, despite receiving another $40 million in state and DOE subsidies
- On Green Jobs and DOE Loans, Jury Still Out Loans with your money have not brought the big changes Washington had hoped for.
- Congressman's wife collected unemployment benefits Rep. Joe Heck's wife collected unemployment benefits in 2011, according to financial disclosure forms filed with the House in May.
- Army told to spend or lose mobile tech funds The Pentagon is planning deep spending cuts this year to a new mobile computing network for soldiers — a move that critics say punishes Army technology buyers for not spending appropriated funds fast enough.
- Senate: No taxpayer cash for conventions A bipartisan push to eliminate millions of federal dollars earmarked to each party’s conventions was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate.
- $267B more to Operation Twist The Federal Reserve announced it is committing $267 billion for continuing Operation Twist, the central bank’s program to keep long-term interest rates low and stimulate the economy.
- Actor Sues DMV (and taxpayers indirectly) for Backing Out of Reality Series Ashton Kutcher's production company is suing California's Department of Motor Vehicles for allegedly getting cold feet and backing out of a deal to participate in a reality series based on its employees. Since it's the DMV, is he also inidrectly suring CA taxpapers?
- Was Clemens trial waste of taxpayers' money? Column: So when is enough, enough? How much of our money has to be wasted on "trophy" trials that result in acquittals before the government changes its foolhardy ways?
- Tracking Your Money: Congress pulls floor out from under Eisenhower Memorial Commission Opponents of the design for the proposed national memorial to President Dwight D. Eisenhower won a major victory when the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s (EMC) $59.84 million budgetary request for fiscal year (FY) 2013 was flat-out denied.
- $9 Billion in ‘Stimulus’ for Solar, Wind Projects Made 910 Final Jobs -- $9.8 Million Per Job The Obama administration distributed $9 billion in economic “stimulus” funds to solar and wind projects in 2009-11 that created, as the end result, 910 “direct” jobs -- annual operation and maintenance positions -- meaning that it cost about $9.8 million to establish each of those long-term jobs.
- $5.7 Billion in Taxpayer Money Spent So Far to Encourage Use of Electronic Health Records The Obama administration has paid more than $5.7 billion in the past year to health professionals to encourage the use of electronic health records, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced.
- EXCLUSIVE: Secret Service agents partied like rock stars on Obamas' Vineyard Vacation Long before President Obama's security detail was scandalized in Colombia and new revelations emerged last week about the Secret Service, members of the elite team earned an "Animal House" reputation at the blueblood vacation mecca of Martha's Vineyard.
- Kan. company suspected of Medicare fraud for penis pumps A new report by federal auditors says a Kansas-based company may have paid out as much as $4.2 million in potentially fraudulent Medicare claims for penis pumps, and the auditors are asking the company to refund the government the money.
- Panel unveiling docs on DOE aid recipients; More Solyndras? An Energy Department employee used a private email address to send confidential information to a company that went on to get a $1.4 billion partial loan guarantee from the agency.
- How Many Limos Do D.C. Departments Own? In these troubled economic times, it is perhaps not surprising that the federal government is a bit touchy on the question of just how many limousines it owns and operates.
- USDA subsidizes advertising for almonds, wine tours in California and organic pet shampoo Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn released a report exposing inefficiency and waste in the USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP), which has spent $2.1 billion since 1999 on subsidies for profitable agriculture companies and trade associations that do business overseas.
- Waste, fraud in Iraq put all eyes on DoD contracting A commission's final report declared between $30 billion and $60 billion lost to waste and fraud and sounded alarms about, what it called, the inadequate acquisition workforces at the Departments of Defense and State.
- Auto Bailout or UAW Bailout? The Treasury Department expects taxpayers to ultimately lose more than $20 billion on the Detroit auto bailout. President Obama defends those losses as necessary to prevent the domestic auto industry from collapsing.
- Obama Trip To New York Costs Taxpayers Big Time Some call him "Campaigner-in-chief" with your money.
- Obama Energy Dept. awards $2 million grant to solar company linked with Van Jones On Wednesday the Department of Energy began financing solar power installation research with a $2 million award to Solar Mosaic. The solar energy research company has former Obama “green jobs” czar Van Jones listed as an advisor.
- Senator Coburn identifies $70 billion in unspent federal funds Republican Senator Tom Coburn has identified more than $70 billion in unspent federal funds that have been left idling in budgetary purgatory.
- Senate spent at least $381k since 2011 printing feel-good declarations The U.S. Senate has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on printing costs associated with passing simple resolutions declaring observances such as “National Chess Day,” “National Safe Digging Month” and the “Year of Water.”
- CBO: Federal debt to double in 15 years Federal debt will double by the middle of the next decade and reach more than twice the size of the entire U.S. economy by 2037 unless Congress changes course on taxes and spending, the Congressional Budget Office said in its latest analysis.
- Top GSA official tried to hide report on Vegas bash A top administrator at the General Services Administration who worked on President Obama’s presidential transition team sought to keep secret the agency report that uncovered massive waste at a lavish taxpayer-funded GSA conference in Las Vegas, records show.
- VP Biden Spends $1 Million Annually for Weekend Trips Important: The cost of flying Air Force Two is $22,000 an hour, so each half-hour trip to or from Delaware costs about $10,000. Each golf game costs taxpayers $20,000. At that rate, the annual cost to taxpayers of Biden’s weekend trips is well over $1 million.
- "This is New York State’s $70 million train to nowhere" Director of state operations calls abandoned trains a glaring example of “waste and incompetence.”
- GSA Paid $1 Million in Bonuses to Staff Under Investigation The General Services Administration paid more than $1 million in bonuses to employees while they were being investigated for wrongdoing by the agency’s inspector general, a U.S. lawmaker said.
- GSA bonuses, travel expenses raise congressional ire Members of Congress question the big bonuses.
- Gov't spends $2.8M on free internet for Tampa residents The program is called AccessALL Tampa. The idea is to help low-income families get access to the Internet. But after one year and $2.8 million in local and federal dollars spent, some say the program isn’t worth it.
- Senator Tom Coburn on the “Debt Bomb” That We All Will Face Coburn: “The reason I’m known as ‘Dr. No’ is because I actually believe in the Constitution. I believe in the enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8. I believe the Constitution was filled with nos for us in Washington and yesses for everybody else in America.”
- The Real National Debt; What the Government Is Not Telling You The big difference between the official deficit and standard accounting: Congress exempts itself from including the cost of promised retirement benefits.
- Feds Propose New Rules to Fight Foodstamp Fraud Food stamp recipients are ripping off the government for millions of dollars by illegally selling their benefit cards for cash — sometimes even in the open, on eBay or Craigslist — and then asking the government for replacement cards.
- Is General Motors Becoming China Motors? A viral video claims GM has invested bailout dollars on expansion in China instead of the U.S.
- Ninth Circuit court takes million-dollar trip on taxpayer dime. Judges, lawyers and staff from the federal district, appeals and bankruptcy courts in the famously liberal Ninth Circuit are planning a million-dollar trip to the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa August 13-16, at taxpayers’ expense.
- Solar Company Admits Using Your Tax Dollars to Create Jobs Overseas The chairman of First Solar, speaking to a House subcommittee on Wednesday, admitted that his taxpayer-backed company has created more jobs overseas than it has within the United States. Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/05/16/first-solars-3-1-billion-in-doe-loan-guarantees-created-mostly-overseas-jobs-video/#ixzz1v3W5HDgg
- You Paid for It! Stimulus Dollars Fund Studies into Sexual History and Erectile Dysfunction There are questions about two grants totaling nearly $1.5 million dollars distributed to the University of California San Francisco. The money was part of the federal stimulus program and went to studies into the erectile dysfunction of overweight middle aged men and the accurate reporting of someone's sexual history.
- Taxpayers Fund $454,000 Pay for Collector Chasing Student Loans Joshua Mandelman made $454,000 in a single year as a student-loan debt collector -- more than twice the pay of the U.S. secretary of education.
- HHS Sends $5.9 Million to Program Run by Obama Buddy The Department of Health and Human Services last week announced it had awarded a $5.9 million grant to a University of Chicago Medical Center program tied to Michelle Obama and run by Eric Whitaker, one of President Obama’s closest friends.
- Will Your Tax Dollars Be Used to Defend 'Obamacare'? House of Representatives approved an amendment that would prohibit the Department of Justice from using its departmental funds to defend 'Obamacare'.
- The Largest Tax Hike in History Known as “Taxmageddon,” it would impose $494 billion in higher taxes on the American people in the first year.
- Is Government Unfairly Forcing Businesses to Pay for "Timid Tinklers"? It could cost U.S. employers between $2 billion and $4 billion to comply with an obscure Americans with Disabilities Act regulation meant to protect workers who are gun-shy in public restrooms.
- Is TSA Wasting Millions of Your Tax Dollars? A new congressional report accuses the Transportation Security Administration of mismanaging its acquisition and management of airport screening equipment by storing millions of dollars in high-tech gear in a Texas warehouse instead of deploying it to airports
- It's All Your Money: Taxpayers may be on hook for US Postal Service losses The U.S. Postal Service is often the butt of jokes, but there's nothing funny about the agency's bottom line...and it may cost you.
- Taxpayers paid $15k for Jimmy Carter’s postage, according to report Taxpayers spent $15,000 on former President Jimmy Carter’s postage in 2010, according to a report released Tuesday about federal spending on ex-presidents.
- AP Exclusive: Waste watchdog got no-bid contract Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff helped steer a no-bid consulting contract worth $360,000 to a friend who now leads a task force rooting out state government waste. Steve MacNamara was still working for the Florida Senate when he recommended Sarasota business consultant Abraham Uccello for the contract to streamline the Legislature's computer systems.
- Government Waste By the Numbers: Report Identifies Dozens of Overlapping Programs The federal government hosts 47 job-training programs, 44 of which overlap. It runs 80 programs for the "transportation disadvantaged."
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