Real Clear Policy: #WasteOfTheDay Week 1 14_waste_of_the_day_week_1

February 19, 2021 10:28 AM



Feds Subsidize Airport At Martha’s Vineyard For $42.9 Million
February 15, 2021

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded $1,291,383 to the County of Dukes in 2019 for “airport improvements.” Martha’s Vineyard at Edgartown is a top destination for the East Coast moneyed elites and Hollywood moguls.

It has been called the playground of the rich and famous. In 2020, the boutique airport received $1,216,447 for “COVID-19 aid.”

Between 2008 and 2020, federal taxpayers provided $42,901,593 to fund airport improvements. In 2018 alone, $10.8 million funded airport upgrades.


However, the landing fees the airport charges seem low. A Boeing 737 is only charged $400 and helicopters can land for under $28. Private air charters frequently shuttle the wealthy visitors, and twelve charter-air companies list on the airport website.

The airport at The Vineyard hosts over 41,000 flights per year.

In contrast, since 1985, the number of public airports has fallen from 5,880 to 5,080. In Indiana, for example, five cities with populations over 50,000 residents are 51 miles from the nearest airport.

However, tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are subsidizing the airport at Martha’s Vineyard – an airport that caters to the rich and famous.


$1.4 Billion in COVID-Relief Payments Sent to Dead People by Internal Revenue Service
February 16, 2021

Last June, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that Uncle Sam sent $1.4 billion in COVID relief funds to 1 million dead people. They’ve asked for it back, but dead people are notoriously bad about paying up. The federal government is equally bad about clawing it back.

The year before COVID hit, dead people received $871.9 million in mistaken payments through Medicaid, Social Security, the federal pension system, and even through farm subsidies.


That figure was part of $175 billion in “improper payments” in FY2019. And that’s only the payments that the top 20 largest federal agencies admitted to – as detailed in our report at

That’s about $15 billion per month, $500 million per day, and $1 million a minute to the wrong person, in the wrong amount, or for the wrong reason. The 16-year improper payments total: a whopping $2.3 trillion.

Of the $175 billion sent to the wrong (or the dead) folks: Uncle Sam recaptured only $21.1 billion, roughly 14 cents on every misspent dollar. Over five years, federal agencies clawed back only $104 billion of the $748 billion sent in error.

Our auditors suggest looking at Social Security’s list of six million Americans age 112 -years old. One estimate says that the headcount of Americans 110 -years only numbers between 60-70!


$6.9 Million 'Smart Toilet' Analyzes 'Analprint'
February 17, 2021

While internet memes poked fun at China’s anal-swab COVID-19 testing, one U.S. Senator examined federally funded backside research here at home.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) highlighted a National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded “smart toilet” as part of his annual federal government waste report.


Stanford University researcher Seung-min Park wrote that the notion of an “analprint” was observed by artist Salvador Dali, who found, Park said, that “the anus has 35 or 37 creases, which are as unique as fingerprints.”

Building on that observation, the researcher and his colleagues built their “mountable toilet systems” using funds from a $6.97 million NCI grant to Stanford.

Equipped with artificial intelligence and three cameras, one to identify the user’s “analprint,” the toilet analyzes a user’s urine color and flow rate and classifies the user’s stool to measure their health. The data goes not down the sewer, but up to a secure internet cloud. reported on another smart-toilet grant from the federal government, this one to Bender Tech, Inc. An additional $55,000 was added to their initial NIH grant of $142,309 for a “smart toilet and mobile app.” Then, the National Science Foundation joined their potty party with a new $1 million grant for an internet-connected toilet that can do “passive urinalysis testing.”


The Pentagon Pays More Than $1,200 for a Single Coffee Cup
February 18, 2021

Throwback Thursday!

In 2018, the U.S. Air Force admitted to spending up to $1,280 per cup to keep coffee hot for their fighter pilots. It was the $1,300 hot-coffee cup scandal.

In 2016, Travis Air Force Base reported the 60th Aerial Port Squadron purchased ten hot cups for $6,930. By 2018, the price for each cup surged from $693 to $1,220 resulting in a total expenditure of $32,000 for 25 cups.


Our auditors at showcased these facts in an open letter to the president published at USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. Soon after, then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley asked the Air Force for an audit.

The audit found total expenditures amounted to $300,000 over a three-year period. Thankfully, Grassley’s aggressive oversight stopped the pricey-coffee-cup-purchase program.


Disgraced Rep. Duncan Hunter Can Receive $1.2 Million In Congressional Pension
February 19, 2021


A congressman who served 11-years admitted to using his campaign account as a personal piggy bank. Indicted and convicted of a felony, he was scheduled to report to federal prison in January of this year but received a pardon by the president before serving any time.

California Rep. Duncan Hunter billed his campaign account for family trips to Hawaii and Italy, round after round of golf, and even for 30 tequila shots (and one steak) for a bachelor party ($462). His kids’ tuition ($6,150) and school lunches ($1,372) were claimed as campaign expenses.

His pet rabbits, Cadbury and Eggbertflew multiple times across county on the campaign’s dime ($625).


In 2018, Hunter was charged by the feds with misusing more than $250,000 in campaign funds. He pled his way down from a 48-page indictment to just one felony count of fraud.

In December 2019 (after being re-elected), he admitted to converting “more than $150,000 in Campaign funds…for personal use and enjoyment[.]”

In January 2021, Hunter was to start serving 11 months in prison, except that President Donald Trump gave his fellow Republican a pardon for Christmas.

So, naturally, U.S. taxpayers will… pay him a congressional pension that may ultimately cost $1.2 million.

Hunter was going to get the pension anyway. Whether by design or accident, Congress forgot to include the misuse of campaign funds in its list of 29 disqualifying felonies that prevent members from getting a federal pension.

So, when the 44-year-old convicted, and now-pardoned, politician turns 55, he’ll be eligible to collect approximately $24,200. By the time he’s 81, Hunter likely will have collected $1.2 million in taxpayer-funded pension payouts.

That’s a guess because pension payouts to members of Congress and federal workers currently are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

Our auditors at have led the effort to open federal pension records to sunshine. Furthermore, we have twice confirmed that no members of Congress have ever been stripped of their federal pension because of a conviction.

That news might make taxpayers want to hit the tequila shots as well.

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at

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