Tag Archives: government waste

Feds Reportedly Spent $43 Million Building One Gas Station

WASHINGTON, November 2, 2015– According to a top government watchdog, the United States Department of Defense (DOD) spent $43 million to build a single gas station in Afghanistan that should have cost about $500,000. The top oversight team analyzing U.S. spending in Afghanistan reportedly discovered the amount as part of a larger investigation into allegations of criminal activity within the DOD’s premiere program to kick-start the Afghan economy.

“I have never in my lifetime seen the Department of Defense or any government agency clam up and claim they don’t know anything about a program,” said special inspector general John Sopko, a former federal prosecutor appointed by President Obama in 2012 to keep watch over spending in Afghanistan.

Sopko wants to know who approved the funding and why, but no one appears to want to speak up within the federal government.

“Who’s in charge? Why won’t they talk?” asked Sopko. “We have received more allegations about this program than we have received about any other program in Afghanistan.”

At the center of the controversy is the Task Force for Stability and Business Operations (TFBSO). Although the task force ended in March 2015, the damage has already been done. According to Sopko, the DOD’s failure to answer questions about the $800 million program, as well as its claim the task force’s employees no longer work for the DOD, is of major concern.

In an Oct. 22 letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Sopko asked why no one at the DOD could speak about the $800 million TFBSO program, which had reported directly to Carter.

“Frankly, I find it both shocking and incredible that DOD asserts that it no longer has any knowledge about TFBSO, an $800 million program that reported directly to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and only shut down a little over six months ago,” Sopko wrote. “Nevertheless, I intend to continue our inquiry.”

While the DOD maintains no one knows anything, Joseph Catalino, the former head of the TFBSO, is still employed by the Defense Department in a senior role.

“There’s few things in this job that literally make my jaw drop,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said in a statement to Fox News, “but of all the examples of wasteful projects in Iraq and Afghanistan that the Pentagon began prior to our wartime contracting reforms, this genuinely shocked me.”

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Chris Christie Spent $82k On Concessions At NFL Games

By Blake Neff

Chris Christie, New Jersey’s famously hefty governor, spent over $300,000 of his annual state allowance on food and drinks in the past five years, including over $82,000 that was used to buy drinks and snacks at NFL games. However, the governor’s food spending appears to have dropped sharply in a manner that coincides with his own efforts to lose weight.

Christie’s spending was revealed Monday by New Jersey Watchdog, which was investigating how Christie has spent his personal allowance over five years as governor.

On top of the governor’s $175,000 salary, New Jersey law provides the governor with an annual allowance of $95,000 in order to handle expenses such as maintaining the official residence and hosting official state receptions. Christie has on average spent about $72,000 of this allowance each year, for a total tab of $360,000. Of this, 80 percent was spent on food and drink.

However, the most interesting part of Watchdog’s investigation was just how much Christie spent while attending NFL games in 2010 and 2011. As governor, he could typically use a luxury box at MetLife Stadium (where the New York Giants and New York Jets both play) free of charge. Food, however, cost extra, and Christie purchased it in big quantities. In those two years, Christie apparently used his government debit card 58 times to make $82,594 in purchases from Delaware North Sportservice, the concessions operator at MetLife.

According to Watchdog, Christie’s office didn’t submit receipts for any of these purchases, and his office also didn’t describe who was attending the games with the governor or what his business reasons were for meeting with them, raising suspicions that the football games may not have strictly involved state business. Christie’s office told Watchdog the governor did nothing wrong.

“The official nature and business purpose of the event remains the case regardless of whether the event is at the State House, Drumthwacket [the governor’s official residence] or a sporting venue,” Christie press secretary Kevin Roberts told Watchdog in a statement.

Nonetheless, in 2012 New Jersey’s Republican State Committee reimbursed the state for all of Christie’s purchases at MetLife, and the governor hasn’t used his state expense account at the stadium since.

Besides MetLife, much of Christie expense account was used to buy food and beverages at ordinary retail stores: $76,343 at Wegmans, and $18,507 at ShopRite. Another $109,133 was used to hire caterers for events.

Interestingly, Christie’s personal spending on food tracks at times mirrors more public events involving the governor’s girthy frame. In the 38 months before he underwent Lap-Band surgery, Christie was spending about $1,700 a month at supermarkets. In the 26 months after the operation, Christie’s monthly spending has shrunk to $1,200, a drop of over 40 percent.

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IG Report: ATF Scraps Drone Program After Wasting $600K on Broken Drones

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, referred to colloquially as the ATF, is a prohibition-era law enforcement division charged with investigating crimes related to the trade of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives, despite the fact that three of those categories now pertain to clearly-legal products. According to a report by the Department of Justice‘s inspector general, the ATF took cues from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency and attempted to get in on the surveillance-of-US-citizens business, but gave up after the drones it ordered from contractors at a cost of $600,000 failed to meet advertised technical capabilities, rendering them useless for surveillance missions.

The inspector general’s report stated, “ATF officials told us that they acquired these [unmanned aircraft systems] to provide video surveillance that could integrate with other surveillance platforms and equipment already in use… ATF officials reported that ATF never flew its UAS in support of its operations because TOB testing and pilot training revealed a series of technological limitations with the UAS models it had acquired. In particular, ATF determined the real-time battery capability for one UAS model lasted for only about 20 minutes even though the manufacturer specified its flight time was 45 minutes. ATF determined that the other two models of UAS acquired also were unreliable or unsuitable for surveillance. One UAS program manager told us ATF found that one of its smaller UAS models, which cost nearly $90,000, was too difficult to use reliably in operations. Furthermore, the TOB discovered that a gas-powered UAS model, which cost approximately $315,000 and was specified to fly for up to 2 hours, was never operable due to multiple technical defects.”

The Washington Times notes that the drone program was subsequently scrapped. However, this did not stop the ATF from spending $15,000 more on five additional drones following the cancellation of the program. Those drones were used “to conduct one brief UAS flight in July 2014 to document the aftermath of a Louisiana apartment fire that resulted in the deaths of three residents” before “[ATF officials] became aware that they were required to obtain an FAA COA before operating UAS” leading them to ground “their UAS until they obtained further clarification and guidance on deployment requirements.” The inspector general said that “[ATF] should have communicated its decision to suspend UAS activities across the entire agency” to avoid wasting the additional $15,000 on five more useless drones.

The inspector general concluded, “Although the OIG did not specifically audit ATF’s UAS contracts, we are troubled that the process ATF used to purchase these UAS resulted in ATF spending approximately $600,000 on UAS models it ultimately determined to have significant mechanical and technical problems that rendered them unsuitable to deploy in support of ATF operations. Therefore, we recommend that ATF direct responsible officials to perform a thorough needs analysis regarding the potential UAS capabilities it requires that ensures the best approaches to procure UAS prior to restarting future UAS acquisition activity.”

The report also pointed out the fact that the FBI has used drones in 13 different missions so far, “including search-and-rescue operations, kidnappings, fugitive manhunts, national security missions and anti-drug trafficking interdictions.”

Social Security Audit Reveals 6.5 Million Active Accounts of People Over 112 Years Old

A misreading of the findings of a March 4, 2015 inspector general audit of the Social Security Administration might confuse one into thinking that a miracle of modern science had been achieved. However, the approximately 6.5 million people at or over the age of 112 who are currently listed on the Social Security rolls are instead a testament to government waste, as the inspector general identified the fact that SSA lacks the ability to effectively purge likely-deceased people with unrealistic ages from its lists. “We obtained Numident [Social Security’s numerical identification system] data that identified approximately 6.5 million numberholders born before June 16, 1901 who did not have a date of death on their record,” said the report.

Consequently, these accounts are sometimes being used fraudulently to open bank accounts or apply for jobs. CNS News notes that the report on the audit said, “During Calendar Years 2008 through 2011, SSA received 4,024 E-Verify inquiries using the SSNs of 3,873 numberholders born before June 16, 1901… These inquiries indicate individuals’ attempts to use the SSNs to apply for work.” According to The Washington Post, a person identified in the audit was able to open bank accounts under Social Security numbers associated with people born in 1869 and 1893.

“It is simply unacceptable that our nation’s database of Social Security numbers of supposedly living people includes more than six and a half million people who are older than 112 years of age, with a few thousand having birth dates from  before the Civil War. Preventing agency errors by keeping track of who has died is a relatively simple problem that the government should pursue as a high priority,” said Senator Tom Carper (D-DE).

The Washington Post notes that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) said, “It is incredible that the Social Security Administration in 2015 does not have the technical sophistication to ensure that people they know to be deceased are actually noted as dead.”

The inspector general recommended four steps that the Social Security Administration could take to improve its Death Master File, but administrators with SSA responded to the recommendations by saying, “The recommendations would create a significant manual and labor-intensive workload and provide no benefit to the administration of our programs.”

Waste Report: Dept. of Defense to Spend $1 Billion Destroying $16 Billion Worth of Ammo

Senator Tom Coburn issues an annual report on wasteful federal spending which he calls the “Wastebook,” and his office released the 2014 edition today. A video trailer for it can be seen in the above-embedded video player. The 2014 Wastebook contains a mind-numbing display of absurdities in government waste, from studies on “hangry” couples stabbing voodoo dolls to NASA’s “launchpad to nowhere.” However, the report also tallied the final costs of the Pentagon’s program to destroy $16 billion worth of potentially-usable ammunition that it no longer intends to use: $1 billion.

Back in April of this year, USA Today reported on the conundrum, though cost estimates at the time were unclear due to the Department of Defense’s poor record keeping on ammunition inventories. In fact, this ineffective accounting may have led to the ammunition over-purchases in the first place. USA Today cited a Government Accountability Office report which said that officials often buy excess ammunition when supplies are already sufficient “because the Army does not report information on all available and usable items.” The same GAO report also noted that the Army does not tell the DOD how many missiles it has in its stockpile, which “risks other services spending additional funds to procure missiles that are already unused and usable in the Army’s stockpile.” The DOD’s antiquated record keeping system requires other military branches to submit ammo requests to the Army via email, which then have to be printed out and typed into a different database, as the Navy, Air Force, and Marines have outdated inventory systems that can not share directly with the Army’s master list.

A GAO audit cited by Coburn’s 2014 Wastebook stated, “According to an Army financial statement in June 2013, the Army had about 39 percent of its total inventory (valued at about $16 billion) in a storage category for ammunition items that were excess to all the services’ requirements.” Some of the ammo is being decommissioned due to international treaties that ban their use. Coburn’s report noted that “the amount of surplus ammunition is now so large that the cost of destroying it will equal the full years’ salary for over 54,000 Army privates.”

Furthermore, the destruction of some of the ammo may be unnecessary. The 2014 Wastebook also pointed out, “…the Pentagon may be throwing away ammunition that could still be used. According to GAO, some of the material set for destruction has at times been found usable.”

Defense Waste: 16 Multi-Million Dollar Airplanes Sold for $32,000 in Scrap

Back in 2008, the Department of Defense spent $486 million buying 20 G.222 transport planes, intending to donate them to the Afghan Air Force. However, the planes were decommissioned in 2013 after they were determined to be fraught with performance and maintenance issues, which were further exacerbated by the fact that replacement parts were difficult to find. According to ABC News, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko, an investigator charged with monitoring the government’s spending on the war effort, recently pointed out the fact that 16 of the planes had been scrapped and that the resulting raw materials had been sold by the Defense Logistics Agency to an Afghan construction company for $32,000 at a rate of six cents per pound. The planes had only been used to fly 234 flight hours between January and September of 2012.

Sopko’s report came in the form of two letters, one to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and the other to Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James, in which he expressed concerns that “the officials responsible for planning and executing the scrapping of the planes may not have considered other possible alternatives in order to salvage taxpayer dollars.” Sopko sent the letters to kick off a probe into the decision making process that led officials to liquidate the planes at such an extreme loss.

According to Reuters, Pentagon spokesperson Major Brad Avots claimed that the planes were scrapped in an effort “to minimize impact on drawdown of US Forces in Afghanistan.” He also blamed the fog of war and said, “Working in a wartime environment such as Afghanistan brings with it many challenges, and we continually seek to improve our processes.”

Sopko has asked the Department of Defense and the Air Force what the plans are for the four remaining G.222 planes, which are currently parked at a US Air Force base in Germany. Major Avots responded to the inquiry by saying that officials are trying to determine if outside parties might be interested in buying them.

In December of 2013, Sopko, who had just begun his investigation into why the planes had been decommissioned, told NBC News, “We are just starting to gather the facts, so I cannot tell you whether it was criminal fraud or just plain mismanagement… But what I can say for sure, it is that this wastefulness is not an isolated incident in Afghanistan.”

Shocking: Obama Administration Doesn’t Know the Casualties or Costs of the Afghan War (VIDEO)


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) asked Obama administration’s top Afghanistan specialists: (1) How much is the U.S. spending in Afghanistan? (2) How many American troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year? None of the specialists could answer which shocked Rohrabacher.

“We’re supposed to believe that you fellas have a plan that’s going to end up in a positive way in Afghanistan?” Mr. Rohrabacher asked. “Holy cow!”

While military waste overseas is running rampant, military retirees face as much as $124,000 in lost retirement income if the bipartisan budget agreement is enacted, according to the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).

The American government has already spent about $107 million — double the initial estimate — on the five-story Defense Ministry headquarters, which will include state-of-the-art bunkers and the second-largest auditorium in Kabul.

According to the Washington Post, “for years, audits and inspector general’s reports have documented waste and mismanagement in American aid projects in Afghanistan. But the Defense Ministry building is a dramatic example of how poor oversight continues to plague the massive U.S. investment here.”

Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) responded to the video above on Facebook.com, “At a time when we are spending billions of dollars and risking the lives of our service members overseas, it is absolutely unacceptable that Obama administration officials could not answer the simplest of questions about our operations in Afghanistan.”

Feds Spend $2.2 Million To Study “Why Lesbians Are Obese”

$2,202,873 tax dollars were spent to study why many lesbians are obese.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the money to study the biological and social factors that cause a large number of lesbians to be obese. According to NIH three-quarters of lesbians are obese even though gay males are not — they call it an issue of “high public-health significance.”

overweight lesbians

A hospital in Boston, Brigham and Women’s, received grants to carry out the study. The overall goal is to study the relationship between sexual orientation and obesity.

Part of the grant reads, “Obesity is one of the most critical public health issues affecting the U.S. today. Racial and socioeconomic disparities in the determinants, distribution, and consequences of obesity are receiving increasing attention.”

“However, one area that is only beginning to be recognized is the striking interplay of gender and sexual orientation in obesity disparities,” it continues, “is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic. In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males.”

The Washington Free Beacon reports, “The project has survived budget cuts due to sequestration, which the NIH warned would ‘delay progress in medical breakthroughs.'”

Despite the NIH claiming that the cuts are “delaying progress” in the development of cancer drugs, the lesbian study continues to receive funding.

The NIH said, “NIH research addresses the full spectrum of human health across all populations of Americans. Research into unhealthy human behaviors that are estimated to be the proximal cause of more than half of the disease burden in the U.S. will continue to be an important area of research supported by NIH.”

Is this study worth of $2 million, or is it a waste of tax dollars? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

One-Sixth Of Population Now On Food Stamps – Is There Any End In Sight?

Government welfare is well intended, but it can make poor people comfortable remaining in poverty. Why pay your own way when Uncle Sam will pay it for you?

Food stamps, or in USDA parlance, the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” is an expensive and bloated welfare program. A temporary and effective safety net to help struggling Americans put food on the table undoubtedly makes sense, but SNAP has spun out-of-control.

Almost one in six, or 47.5 million, Americans now receive food stamps. Over 13 million more people receive the food subsidies today than when Obama took office.

15% of the US population is on food stamps, but some states rely on the benefits more than others.

The Wall Street Journal points out that in some states, nearly a quarter of the population relies on food stamps. Mississippi and Washington, DC top the list of food stamp enrollment “by state,” at 22% and 23% respectively.

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 9.40.02 PM
Graphic by the Wall Street Journal

Don’t expect SNAP to downsize anytime soon — despite spending a whopping $80 billion on food stamps last year, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) argues the program needs more funding.

The USDA is so set on expanding SNAP that it spent $43.3 million to advertise food stamps in 2011 alone. Government-produced, colorful commercials enthusiastically encourage people to sign up for the subsidies.

Moreover, the commercials portray food stamps in a wholly positive light. To be sure, government efforts to distribute food stamps should not demean recipients. But there is a better balance to be struck between safeguarding the dignity of recipients and making them feel that the SNAP assistance is an admirable, unqualified entitlement.

The commercials show up frequently on various television and radio stations. Here is a radio ad produced by Obama’s USDA, telling listeners that food stamps will make them “look amazing.”

Some ads are produced by state governments. This television commercial produced by New York tells people food stamps are “a quick, easy, confidential way to get help.”

It would be easier to swallow the heavy expense to taxpayers for ads promoting SNAP if the program itself were not already grossly out of hand.

There are even SNAP ads targeted at illegal immigrants.

Documents obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that the USDA works with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal immigrants.

As Judicial Watch reported, “The promotion of [SNAP] includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA with a statement advising Mexicans in the U.S. that they do not need to declare their immigration status in order to receive financial assistance.  Emphasized in bold and underlined, the statement reads, ‘You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.'”

SNAP is also ridden with fraud. Many individuals trade their food stamps for cash and drugs, but the government does little to address this issue.

SNAP recipients receive Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which look and function like a debit card but are only supposed to be used to purchase food.


Despite EBT cards’ intended use, a simple search online pulls up countless discussion boards where people discuss how to trade the benefits for cash.

Here is a discussion thread from Yahoo Answers:

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 11.46.58 PM

Good grief.

Making matters worse is the fact that SNAP is often counterproductive by discouraging work. When a recipient starts making too much income, they lose the benefit. The incentive to find a job is gone.

Some liberals assert that food stamp use is up because the economy is bad, but that is simply not the case. Food stamp spending nearly doubled years ago, before the current recession. The program’s budget rose from $19.8 billion in 2000 to $37.9 billion in 2007. Congress should means test the food stamps program much more aggressively to focus on the truly needy, while eliminating disincentives for individuals to go to work.

This is certainly one of the most pressing issues facing the nation. But it receives almost no coverage from the so-called mainstream media.

What will it take for the media and citizens to wake up? Will it take 50% of all citizens receiving food stamps? 75%?

Americans have become obsessed with the “1%” and “99%.” They should instead focus on the 17% taking from the 83%. That is a statistic worth protesting in our public parks.

Obama Creates “Nudge Squad” To Influence Behavior

Barack Obama has has expanded the size and scope of the federal government far more than any of his predecessors.

Now, he’s spending our tax dollars to “nudge” us into accepting his big-government ideas.

On Tuesday, Fox News revealed that Obama is planning to use mind tricks and “behavioral insights” to cajole us into accepting his beliefs and ultimately control our behavior. He is doing this through a “nudge squad.”

As reported by Fox, “The federal government is hiring what it calls a ‘Behavioral Insights Team’ that will look for ways to subtly influence people’s behavior.”

There are already teams of “insights” agents that are dispersed across a number of government bureaus. Their job? To carefully construct each agency’s message to convince Americans that Obama’s government knows what the nation needs. You know, to fix all those problems that Obama certainly had nothing to do with starting…


A government document has surfaced, detailing the program and urging people to apply for positions on the team. It reads, “Behavioral sciences can be used to help design public policies that work better, cost less, and help people to achieve their goals.”

Maya Shankar initially released the document. She is a White House adviser and made the document public in an effort to try and generate interest in applying for the team.

“The idea is that the team would ‘experiment’ with various techniques, with the goal of tweaking behavior so people do everything from saving more for retirement to saving more in energy costs,” reports Fox News.

While many Obama supporters have been tight-lipped about the program, some have spoken out against it. Michael Thomas is an economist at Utah State University. He said, “I am very skeptical of a team promoting nudge policies. Ultimately, nudging … assumes a small group of people in government know better about choices than the individuals making them.”

Thomas is right.

The nudge squad doesn’t aim to make government better — rather, it tries to trick us into thinking government knows what’s best for us. Not only that, but we’re paying to brainwash ourselves; of course, the nudge squad is 100% funded by our tax dollars.

Your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section.