March 21, 2003
Waste, fraud and abuse are alive and kicking, reports the majority staff of the U.S. House Budget Committee. Just consider these recent examples:
- Gambling, cruises, jewelry and legalized bordellos have been charged to Defense Department-issued purchase cards -- the lack of controls wastes about $97 million annually, according to the Appropriations Committee. ("Travel Cards: Control Weaknesses Leave Navy Vulnerable to Fraud and Abuse," December 2002, General Accounting Office; "Report of the Committee of Appropriations to Accompany H.R. 5010," June 2002.)
- Impact Aid funds for schools in South Dakota amounting to $1.9 million were diverted to buy real estate, a Lincoln Navigator and a Cadillac Escalade. (Rod Paige, Education Secretary http://www.ed.gov/Speeches/02-2003/02122003.html.)
- A theft ring inside the Education Department used hundreds of thousands of the taxpayers' dollars to buy and then steal all manner of electronic equipment -- including computers, cell phones, digital cameras, CD players and a 61-inch color TV. (Rod Paige, Education Secretary http://www.ed.gov/Speeches/02-2003/02122003.html.)
- Medicaid paid $1.6 million to a Wisconsin transportation company for multiple round trip billings for dead people and for people who were in the hospital. (HHS Inspector General, Semiannual Report, September 2002.)
The federal government cannot account for $17.3 billion spent in 2001, and its books are kept so poorly the U.S. General Accounting Office refuses to certify them.
Source: Committee on the Budget, U.S. House of Representatives, March 2003.
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