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Scandals and waste are becoming the norm

Posted: June 23, 2013 at 9:00 am   /   by

Debt-Flicks: Failure to Launch

A few weeks ago, Jay Carney pointed out that one of the president’s main goals is to create an efficient and effective government. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, five Inspector General vacancies that President Obama is in charge of filling currently lack a pending nominee. So, as wasteful spending and inappropriate behavior in Washington continue to lead the headlines, the arbiters of what’s “efficient and effective” are missing in action.



Jay Carney: “I would point out that the president has made creating an efficient and effective government a priority, a cornerstone of his administration.  He believes that everyone in this administration must take their role as stewards of the taxpayer dollar very seriously.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, 6/3/13)



 Inspector Generals Needed To Root Out Waste And Misconduct. “Some of the government’s largest cabinet agencies, including the departments of Defense, State, Interior and Homeland Security, haven’t had permanent inspectors general in place for one to five years, raising concerns from lawmakers and government-watchdog groups that the Obama administration isn’t sufficiently policing itself.” (Jared A. Favole, “Inspector-General Vacancies At Agencies Are Criticized,” Wall Street Journal, 6/19/13)

Missing Inspector Generals Account For About $843 Billion In Annual Spending. “All told, departments lacking permanent inspectors general account for about $843 billion in annual spending, almost a quarter of the federal budget. Inspectors general are independent officials within an agency whose job is to root out waste and misconduct. They run staffs of auditors, criminal investigators, program analysts and others that can total in the hundreds of employees.” (Jared A. Favole, “Inspector-General Vacancies At Agencies Are Criticized,” Wall Street Journal, 6/19/13)

State Department Hasn’t Had A Permanent Inspector General Since 2008. (Jared A. Favole, “Inspector-General Vacancies At Agencies Are Criticized,” Wall Street Journal, 6/19/13)

Department of Defense, Department of Interior and Homeland Security Haven’t Had A Permanent Inspector General In Place For One To Five Years. (Jared A. Favole, “Inspector-General Vacancies At Agencies Are Criticized,” Wall Street Journal, 6/19/13)

Empty Posts “Very Troubling.” “’When you look at the magnitude of the budgets that these inspectors general should be keeping an eye on, not having independent, aggressive audits of those agencies is very troubling,’ said Joe Newman, a spokesman for the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-based nonprofit organization.” (Danielle Ivory, “Top Watchdogs Absent At Agencies Representing 58% of U.S. Budget,” Bloomberg, 5/28/13)



Department of Defense: 

“Pentagon Handed Out $419 Million In Improper Travel Reimbursements Last Year.” “While making improvements in some spending areas, the Defense Department was singled out this week for failing to trim unnecessary travel reimbursements. In fact, the Pentagon’s internal watchdog concluded that wasteful travel spending actually grew last year to a total of $419.3 million, accounting for roughly five percent of the Pentagon’s mammoth $8.4 billion travel budget.” (Phillip Swarts, “Pentagon Handed Out $419 Million In Improper Travel Reimbursements Last Year,” The Washington Guardian, 3/21/13)


Department of Interior: 

Expensive Bathroom Renovation Uncovered By Dogged Reporting. “The personal bathroom used by the secretary of the Interior is so swanky that its renovation cost $222,000. No detail was overlooked: It has a $3,500 sub-zero refrigerator (hey, if you’re going to have a fridge in the bathroom, it might as well be a good one) and a $689 faucet. At least the “vintage tissue holder” was cheap: just $65 bucks.” (Jonathan Karl, “The Interior Secretary’s $222,000 Bathroom,” ABC News, 1/16/13)


Department of Homeland Security:

“DHS Rife With Wasteful Spending.” “DHS generously doled out $61 million in salary awards in 2011 despite hard economic times and reduced take-home pay for many hardworking Americans. A recent Senate report documented DHS employees using grant funds to pay a $1,000 fee for a conference at the Paradise Point Resort & Spa, where they participated in zombie apocalypse training. Other examples exist of DHS spending money on children’s mascots, overpriced law enforcement training materials and even bagpipes for Customs and Border Protection.” (Rep. Jeff Duncan, “DHS Rife With Wasteful Spending,” POLITICO, 3/13/13)


State Department:

Department May Have Covered Up Allegations Of “Illegal” And “Inappropriate” Behavior. “Just this week, CBS News reported that ‘the State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal and inappropriate behavior within its ranks.’ The allegations were contained in an internal Office of Inspector General memo, leaked by a former State Department investigator, which, according to CBS News, ‘cited eight specific examples’ of impropriety, including the 2011 investigation into an ambassador who ‘routinely ditched … his protective security detail’ in order to ‘solicit sexual favors from prostitutes.’” (Cal Thomas, “State Department Sex Scandal Allegations Hit Home,” Fox News, 6/13/13)


Memo Alleges Charges Were “Influenced, Manipulated, Or Simply Called Off.” (Cal Thomas, “State Department Sex Scandal Allegations Hit Home,” Fox News, 6/13/13) is an educational project of Public Notice, an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to providing facts and insight on the effects public policy has on Americans’ financial well-being. 

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Scandals and waste are becoming the norm