The Chippendales Male Strip Club Received $359,000 in Covid-Aid
May 30, 2022
The male stripping troupe Chippendales USA collected $359,274 in forgivable loansas part of the Paycheck Protection Program in 2020.
Chippendales has since retained white-shoe law and lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig to lobby on their behalf for even more Covid-aid monies, Politico reported.
Small Business Administration gave PPP loans to small businesses to provide financial relief during the Covid-19 pandemic. An important feature of these loans was that they were forgivable so long as the recipient put most of the money toward payroll costs and maintained employee and compensation levels.
The loans effectively were grants to small businesses that didn’t fire their workers during the pandemic.
However, the SBA originally stipulated that businesses making a significant portion of their revenue from “products or live performances of a prurient sexual nature” were excluded from receiving PPP funds, a policy that was later challenged in court.
Regardless of a lawsuit, one might think that a male stripping troupe would qualify as “of prurient sexual nature.”
While there is plenty of room for debate about whether businesses of a prurient sexual nature should be receiving taxpayer relief, when the SBA makes rules about who is and isn’t eligible for their programs, they should follow those rules.
In spite of this, Chippendales is hoping for a rules change to keep the gravy train of federal funds flowing.
Arizona School Superintendent Given a $1.7 Million Bonus
May 31, 2022
A school superintendent in Maricopa County, Arizona made $1.7 million in extra compensation from 2016 to 2021 on top of her $189,000 annual salary, according toa report from the Arizona Auditor’s Office. This sum that was hidden from taxpayers, parents, and district employees.
The money was not listed on the employment records of Dr. Kristi Wilson, superintendent of the Buckeye Elementary School District, made up of eight schools and nearly 5,500 students.
Parents and teachers are angry that this lavish compensation package was hidden from them while the school district claimed to be in rough financial shape, according to Arizona Republic.
Maria Moreno, a first-grade teacher and President of the Buckeye Education Association, said, “I think we all just felt very betrayed in a sense because we believed there was no money for raises, yet she was getting a very good compensation package, compared to teachers and staff in the district,” according to AZ Family.
The Buckeye Education Association petition calling for Dr. Wilson’s resignation has over 500 signatures.
The school board defended the extravagant additional compensation, claiming that these were payroll deductions sent to the Arizona State Retirement System. They also claim the level of compensation is necessary to attract and retain top talent.
Stories like these underscore the importance of aggressive transparency and oversight. Parents and teachers deserve to know the whole story about their school district’s finances and hold those in power to account when necessary.
Blue States Spent Covid Funds on Controversial Race Teachings
June 1, 2022
When Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021, it provided $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
This funding was intended to be used by schools for personal protective equipment, increased sanitation, and enhanced ventilation during the Covid-19 pandemic.
But states including California, New York, and Illinois used this funding for more than Covid relief, Fox News reported.
Thirteen states with a combined $46.5 billion in federal funds to reopen schools have used some of it to teach critical race theory and other controversial race-based teachings.
In California, the $15.1 billion federally funded reopening plan included $1.5 billion for training school staff on implicit bias, environmental literacy, ethnic studies, and LGBTQ cultural competency, according to Fox.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said he was “excited” to approve California’s plan.
In New York, the plan to use its $9 billion in federal funding included spending some on “providing staff development on topics such as culturally responsive sustaining instruction and student support practices, privilege, implicit bias, and reactions in times of stress” and “[supporting] the work of anti-racism and anti-bias,” according to Fox.
Similarly in Illinois, part of its $5.1 billion went to a plan with “an emphasis on equity and diversity."
Aside from the heated debates over critical race theory, when Congress appropriates money for a specific purpose, it should be used for that purpose. America needs to be able to trust that its institutions will govern in good faith, regardless of politics.
U.S. Spent $384,000 to Study Peruvian Brothels
June 2, 2022
In 1979, the National Institute of Mental Health spent $97,000 – $384,000 in 2022 dollars – to fund a study that examined behavior and social relationships in Peruvian brothels.
Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, awarded the National Institute of Mental Health his Golden Fleece Award for this unnecessary project.
The study consisted of a researcher and his associate spending 18 months in Peru. Proxmire said that the researchers kept going back to the brothel in the interests of accuracy.
As part of their research, they interviewed 21 prostitutes, as well as brothel staff members, both formally and informally. They also observed prostitutes outside the brothel and visited the brothel at random times throughout the day to “obtain a good idea of its everyday functioning.”
The researcher also studied ethnicity and social structures in Peru during his trip.
The researcher that obtained this funding published a book just before this excursion titled “Academic Gamesmanship,” which taught researchers how to obtain government funding for projects, and some parts of the book suggest he was teaching readers how to game the system, Proxmire said.
For example, he writes, “In addition to paying part of your basic salary, grants will typically also give you an extra two months of summer salary. You can finance numerous jaunts to domestic and international conferences out of your research money without having to… justify your trip by reading a paper.” He even encourages his readers to look into tax exemptions for extended research.
Aside from this project being unnecessary for the government to fund, it is sad that the NIMH wasted money on this project, when it could have gone to substantial mental health research that could have helped Americans battling mental illness.
Centers for Disease Control Paid $420,000 to Track Tens of Thousands of Citizens During Lockdowns
June 3, 2022
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spent $420,000 to buy location data from tens of millions of Americans’ phones to track them, Vice reported.
The CDC bought the location data to “perform analysis of compliance with curfews, track patterns of people visiting K-12 schools, and specifically monitor the effectiveness of policy in the Navajo Nation,” according to Vice. The government agency also used the data bought because of Covid-19 for general CDC purposes.
SafeGraph, a controversial data broker, sold the data to the CDC. The information was aggregated location data, but some researchers claim that data can be deanonymized and used to track specific people.
Motherboard, a Vice division, obtained documents regarding the use of this data from a Freedom of Information request to the CDC.
The CDC claimed it used the data for monitoring curfews and tracked visits to pharmacies for vaccine monitoring.
In truth, documents revealed that it established 21 “potential CDC use cases for data,” Vice reported.
These use cases include tracking visits to K-12 schools, the correlation between mobility patterns data and Covid-19 cases, and the effectiveness of public policy on the Navajo Nation, according to Vice.
The CDC requested the expedited purchase of this data because of Covid-19.
However, many cases that the CDC created have nothing to do with covid, like “Research points of interest for physical activity and chronic disease prevention such as visits to parks, gyms, or weight management businesses.”
The CDC admitted in the document that there were plenty of non-Covid-19 uses for this data, stating, “The mobility data obtained under this contract will be available for CDC agency-wide use and will support numerous CDC priorities.”
The CDC shouldn’t use tax dollars to surveil U.S. citizens.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.