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The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

The WasteWatcher

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.




Swimming in Pork

House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) went off the deep end recently when he earmarked a whopping $1 million for a swimming pool in his district.  Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate act as the gatekeepers to the lucrative business of earmarks and, as chairman, Rep. Lewis holds noteworthy influence to tack on pet projects to bills in a way that is not subject to debate or oversight.

Grifters Give FEMA a Run for Their Money

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released its audit of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.  The report estimated that fraudulent payments totaled between $600 million and $1.4 billion.

Forest Party

Every year, South Carolina Forest Service employees participate in the All Employee Conference.  The three-day conference has become an all-inclusive vacation on the taxpayers’ dime.  Activities include arts and crafts, horseshoes, and senior bingo.

A Tale of Two Continents

America and Europe have two different visions of how to succeed in business. Europe does it without really trying, and America does it the old-fashioned way, by working hard and making higher quality and more desired products. This is particularly true in technology, which is one explanation for the European Commission’s (EC) ongoing crusade against Microsoft.

The Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment

The federal government’s continuing prosecution of medical marijuana patients undermines federalism and fiscal restraint.  For the fourth year in a row, the House will vote on an amendment sponsored by Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).  The amendment would prohibit the federal government from arresting users of medical marijuana in states where it has been deemed legal.  The amendment does not prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting individuals using marijuana for a recreational purpose or individuals using marijuana for medicinal purposes in states where it is still considered illegal.    

The Invasive Nature of “Net Neutrality”

The world has seen an incredible increase in computer and Internet capabilities over the last decade.  This expansion has been spurred by the capitalist principles of competition.  The dynamism of the Internet is now being threatened by politicians who want to regulate it.  If implemented, regulation will stifle competition, raise consumer costs, and hinder high-speed Internet deployment and innovation.

Waste on a Plane

Any traveler would prefer champagne, fine dining, and ample leg room on their next plane flight.  However, most people either cannot afford a premium class ticket or deem it not worth the extra expense.  Charging the tickets to the government has a way of changing the equation.  An April 2006 Government Accountability Office report revealed how some public servants are traveling like rock stars at the taxpayers’ expense. 

Iowa Nonprofit is Latest Earmark Outrage

The Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium (CIETC) is a nonprofit organization that provides job-training services for the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) program.  As extensively reported by The Des Moines Register, the group’s top three executives were recently fired after a state audit found that they collected a combined $1.8 million in salaries over 30 months.  Congressional earmarks and breakdown of oversight allowed a cadre of greedy schemers to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense.

Taxpayers Get Railroaded

In an emergency supplemental appropriations bill designed to provide $92 billion for the war on terror and hurricane relief, Mississippi Senators Trent Lott (R) and Thad Cochran (R) added $700 million to relocate newly repaired railroad tracks.  The costly pork barrel project has been jammed into an already bloated bill which currently sits at $106.5 billion, or $14.5 billion above the $92 billion version passed by the House last month, which met the President’s request.

Taxpayers Get Charged Overtime

In March 2005, The Record revealed that more than 100 retired police officers with the New York Port Authority (PA) are getting at least $100,000 a year in pensions.  Because many senior PA cops were logging long hours of overtime, and because overtime is included in pension calculations, retirees are receiving up to double the pay they made in a normal working year.  At least 25 other PA retirees are getting pensions in excess of $100,000 as well.

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