NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Government Waste, Fraud And Abuse Top $220 Billion

July 6, 2001

There is $220 billion worth of waste, fraud and abuse in federal spending, according to a months-long analysis of 17 federal agencies and departments by the Inspectors General of all the federal agencies and the General Accounting Office.

Their study, called "Government at the Brink - Urgent Federal Government Management Problems Facing the Bush Administration" (June 2001) was released by Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) on his last day as Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, before the Democrats took control of the Senate.

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee staff lists the top 10 most egregious examples, including, for example, "The Big Dig" -- an as yet uncompleted highway and tunnel in Boston that has become the most expensive federal infrastructure project in American history, with a projected cost now of $13.6 billion, a 525 percent increase from the original estimate of $2.6 billion.

Mismanagement appears to be rampant, according to the report:

  • The Department of the Interior cannot account for $3 billion it holds in trust for American Indians and the agencies that serve them.
  • The Department of Defense cannot account for what it spends.
  • Medicare lost $12 billion to improper, but easily identified, misspent funds in the fee-for-service plan alone.
  • The IRS has no idea what it collects in Social Security and Medicare taxes.

The new chairman of the Senate Government Affairs Committee, Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) has an opportunity to follow-up on the report, notes former Delaware Gov. Pete Du Pont, and thereby get a leg-up on the 2004 presidential campaign.

Source: Pete Du Pont (policy chairman, NCPA), "Lieberman's Chance to Eliminate the Triple Threat," Knight-Ridder, June 22, 2001.


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