by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
With Tom Coburn retired now from the U.S. Senate, it appears that a freshman Republican U.S. representative hopes to take on the task of identifying some of the federal government’s most wasteful spending. Casey Harper reports for the Daily Caller.
Freshman Republican Rep. Steve Russell laid out 10 of the worst instances of government waste Tuesday in his first “Waste Watch” publication, the Washington Examiner reports. The waste totaled more than $117 million and ranged across several government agencies. …
… 1. U.S. Builds Melting Walls
The U.S. military spent $456,669 on a training facility in Afghanistan that melted when it rained. The military had the “dry fire range” built to use as a training spot with Afghan special police, but since the structure was built with bricks made mostly of sand, it only took four months for the walls to disintegrate in the rain.
2. Uncle Sam Pays For Contractors To Party Like It’s 1999
International Relief and Development, a nonprofit contractor that received about $2 billion in federal money to rebuild struggling countries, threw multiple lavish get-togethers that totaled $1.1 million. It billed the federal government for the parties–which included spa treatments, crystal chandeliers and a private zoo–saying they were for “training” and “staff morale.”
3. The Federal Government Accidentally Funded An Anti-U.S. Movie
In 2013, the U.S. embassy in Iraq paid for five Iraqi filmmakers to fly to the states for film classes at UCLA. As part of the program the students received a stipend to fund their own movie. One of the students, Salam Salman, focused his film on the 2007 shooting of 17 Iraqis by the U.S. private security company, Blackwater, an incident that hurt America’s reputation in Iraq.
4. More Explanation Needed For Big Payouts To Afghan Government
The Department of State gave the Afghan government $100 million in 2014 to help it close a budget shortfall that the Afghan leadership said was dire. Critics have blasted the department for failing to explain if the money was necessary and if the department will do it again. The funding of projects in Afghanistan has been rife with waste for years.
5. Storing Way Too Much Stuff For Way Too Much Money
The Department of Defense spent $15.4 million in 2013 to store millions of cubic feet of equipment that no one in the military needed for five years. Some of these items could be useful but much of it is outdated or costs more to store than it would cost to simply throw out and buy a new one. For example, one component of a power mast worth $391 cost the DOD more than $8,000 to store.
And that’s just half of the list.