For the Good of Illinois

The Wall Street Journal & USA Today: 100 Examples of Federal Taxpayer Abuse

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100 Examples of Federal Taxpayer Abuse

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THE PENTAGON PAYS MORE THAN $1,000 FOR A SINGLE COFFEE CUP

FY2018 | U.S. AIR FORCE | The Pentagon admitted to spending $1,220 on a single coffee cup. According to Travis Air Force Base Website. "In 2016, the 60th Aerial Port Squadron purchased 10 hot cups for $9,630. The price for each cup surged from $693 to $1,220 in 2018 resulting in a total expenditure of $32,000 for 25 cups. That’s a price jump of $527 per cup which leads to some pricey hot water," (July 2018).

USDA SPENDS MILLIONS SUBSIDIZING CRICKET FARMS FOR HUMANS TO EAT BUG

FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | According to USAspending.gov search results (May 2, 2017) Bugeater Labs received Department of Agriculture funding. The University of Nebraska Omaha College of Business Administration website published an article on April 28, 2017, titled "Bugeater Foods," explaining the funding. 

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION PAYS TO PUT RUNNING SHRIMP ON A TREADMILL

FY2012-FY2017 | NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION | National Science Foundation (NSF) funded an experiment that tested how sickness impaired shrimp mobility by putting the crustaceans on a treadmill made an uproar in the media and in Congress nearly five years ago. Yet the NSF has once again given tax dollars to the same researchers to put the would-be seafood on a cardiovascular workout regime. The investigators – Louis and Karen Burnett – measure the crustaceans’ responses to low oxygen and high carbon dioxide environments in a variety of ways and would also test their reactions "when performing energetically demanding activities," according to the award abstract. "The energetically demanding activities will be conducted with the aid of a treadmill, as the technique is effective and will help to make the data comparable to previous studies," Arriens said.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER PAYMENTS DISTRIBUTED BY 20 FEDERAL AGENCIES – $1.2 TRILLION

FY2004–FY2017 | CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled "Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief." Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. In the summary, Hatch writes, "Over the period of FY2004 through FY2017, high priority improper payments have totaled $1.2 trillion." 

MISTAKES & IMPROPER MEDICARE PAYMENTS – $387 BILLION

FY2004–FY2017 | HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES | Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled "Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief." Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows Medicare (Fee for Service) improper payments amounted to $387 billion between FY2004-FY2017.

 

USE IT OR LOSE IT SPENDING – $50 BILLION

FINAL WEEK FY2017 | ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES | In the final seven days of fiscal year 2017, 67 federal agencies spent $50 billion to close out their budgets. It was a massive shop-until-you-drop, taxpayer funded spending spree. Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found that roughly one out of every nine dollars in federal contracts disclosed by the executive and military agencies in FY2017 was spent during last week of the fiscal year – between September 24-30, 2017. Eight departments – including the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Energy, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, State, and Justice – each spent over $1 billion. On September 19, 2018, these findings were published in a piece by Marketplace

 

BUYING BOOZE FOR EMBASSIES AROUND THE WORLD – $79,000

FINAL WEEK FY2017 | STATE DEPARTMENT On October 3, 2018, we published an

editorial at Forbes, titled "Use It or Lose It – Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week in Year-End Spending Spree." Using data compiled by OpenTheBooks.com via the Freedom of Information Act, we quantified $79,000 in alcohol expenditures at the Department of State between September 24 and 30, 2017. 

PURCHASING FIDGET SPINNERS – $6,600

FINAL WEEK FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE | On October 3, 2017, we published an editorial at Forbes, titled "Use It or Lose It – Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week in Year-End Spending Spree." Using data compiled by OpenTheBooks.com via the Freedom of Information Act, we quantified $6,600 in ‘fidget spinner’ expenditures at the Department of Defense between September 24 and 30, 2017. On September 19, 2018, these findings were published in a piece by Marketplace.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER MEDICAID PAYMENTS – $234 BILLION

FY2004–FY2017 | HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES | Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled "Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief." Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows Medicaid improper payments amounted to $234 billion between FY2004-FY2017.

 

IVY LEAGUE COLLEGES – $42 BILLION

FY2010–2015 | FEDERAL PAYMENTS, SUBSIDIES, TAX–BREAKS | ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES | In March 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Ivy League, Inc. In this report, we quantified all federal payments, subsidies, and tax breaks for the eight Ivy League schools between FY2010-FY2015. The Ivy League schools have $120 billion in accumulated endowment funds. Our findings launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by James Piereson and Naomi Schaefer-Riley titled, Ivy League Doesn’t Need Taxpayer Help. Our findings were also

cited in the Boston Globe as providing research to congress as they instituted a new ‘excessive endowments’ tax in December 2017.

SEX ED FOR PROSTITUTES IN CALIFORNIA – $1.4 MILLION

FY2016 | BARBARA LEE | CALIFORNIA–13 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 5, the report details the $1.4 million grant to the California Prostitutes Education Project from the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

COLLEGES OF BEAUTY & COSMETOLOGY – $677.4 MILLION

FY2017–2018 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | Our upcoming OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Education (expected release date: October 2018) quantifies all FY2017 Department of Education funding flowing to colleges of beauty, hair, and cosmetology. These payments are primarily comprised of student loans and Pell grants. Because of the federal money, we found that these beauty colleges are, many times, charging more tuition than Big Ten Universities.

AVERAGE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE RECEIVES 43 DAYS PAID TIME OFF – $22.6 BILLION

FY2016 | U.S. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp quantified the taxpayer cost of federal employees’ benefits package. In the report, there is a section titled "Time Off and Benefits," beginning on page 11. The average federal bureaucrat receives 10 holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days. That’s 43 days of paid time off each year.

 

35,212 FEDERAL LAWYERS – $4.8 BILLION

 

FY2017 | OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp analyzed the most popular and taxpayer expensive federal employee job titles. On page 16, there is a case study detailing the annual taxpayer cost ($4.8 billion) of employing 35,212 federal lawyers. Only 12,000 of those lawyers are pursuing crime and criminals at the Department of Justice. 

 

3,618 FEDERAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICERS – $368.4 MILLION

FY2017 | 202 FEDERAL AGENCIES | OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp analyzed the most popular and taxpayer expensive federal employee job titles. On page 17, there is a case study detailing the annual taxpayer cost ($368.4 million) of employing 3,618 federal public affairs officers. There are approximately 5,000 public relations officers employed by all federal agencies, but only 3,618 are disclosed.


160,000 DEFAULTED SBA LOANS – $24.2 BILLION

SINCE 2000 | SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION | In September 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report – Truth in Lending, quantifying the 160,000 defaulted Small Business Administration (SBA) loans doled out between 2000 and 2015, costing taxpayers $24.2 billion. Search all bad loans in your own ZIP Code, or any ZIP Code across America, on our interactive mapping platform.

LUXURY ARTWORK PURCHASES – $20 MILLION

FY2007–FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | In a joint investigation with COX Media Washington, D.C., OpenTheBooks published an editorial at Forbes on July 26, 2016, titled "The VA’s Luxury Art Obsession." The editorial exposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ array of luxury artwork purchases over a ten-year period cost taxpayers $20 million. Our story was aired on Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley wrote an oversight letter to then-VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who apologized for the purchases and instituted new rules to stop the purchases on a go-forward basis.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER STUDENT LOANS AND GRANTS – $12 BILLION

FY2016–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | Congressional Research Service released a report on July 16, 2018, titled "Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief." Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows direct student loans improper payments amounted to $11 billion between FY2016-FY2017. The mistaken payments were in pell grants ($4.4 billion) and student loans ($7.8 billion).

SBA LOANS TO EXCLUSIVE CLUBS (COUNTRY CLUBS, YACHT CLUBS, ETC.) – $161 MILLION

FY2007–FY2013 | SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION | In September 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report – Truth in Lending, detailing examples of the Small Business Administration (SBA) doling out small business loans to country clubs, yacht clubs, golf courses, and other exclusive entities. This continued our oversight we kicked off in 2014 of the SBA.

PURCHASING $800 PENCIL HOLDERS | $7,000 EXECUTIVE DESKS

FY2015 | ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY | On October 1, 2015, our editorial at Forbes titled, "The EPA Spends How Much on Office Furniture? Try $92 Million Over the Past Decade," revealed $92 million in upscale furniture purchases over a 10-year period at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, we published an OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with further analysis on the agency’s spending records. The Washington Times conferred a ‘golden hammer’ award on the EPA for the purchases described herein.

CIGAR TASTE TEST – $114,375

FY2016 | ROBERT SCOTT | VIRGINIA–3 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 5, the report details the $114,375 grant to Virginia Commonwealth University from the Department of Health and Human Services.

<​p class="MsoNormalCxSpMiddle" style="line-height:normal">PROFESSIONAL GOLFERS CAREER COLLEGE – $4.5 MILLION

FY2014–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | Our upcoming OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Education (expected release date: October 2018) quantifies all FY2017 Department of Education funding flowing to the Professional Golfers Career College. These payments are primarily comprised of student loans and Pell grants.

MISTAKES & IMPROPER FARM SUBSIDY PAYMENTS – $3.7 BILLION

FY2004–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | Congressional Research Service released a report

on July 16, 2018, titled "Improper Payments in High-Priority Programs: In Brief." Garrett Hatch, a specialist in American National Government, authored the report. On page CRS-5, table 2 shows USDA Crop Insurance improper payments amounted to $3.7 billion between FY2004-FY2017. 

USING E–DIARIES TO COPE WITH MICROAGGRESSIONS – $173,089

FY2016 | ADAM KINZINGER | ILLINOIS–16 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork

, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $173,089 grant to Northern Illinois University from the Department of Health and Human Services for these e-diaries.

DANCING WITH 15–FOOT FISH – $10,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 10, the report details the $10,000 grant to the Collage Dance Theatre in Los Angeles.

MEDITATION BREATHING MOBILE APP – $687,989

FY2016 | JIM CLYBURN | SOUTH CAROLINA–6 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork

, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $687,989 grant to the Medical University of South Carolina from the Department of Health and Human Services.

FARM SUBSIDIES INTO URBAN AREAS – $626 MILLION

FY2015–2017 | POPULATION OVER 250K | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, quantifies all federal farm subsidies flowing to urban areas with populations exceeding 250,000 between FY2015-FY2017.

FARM SUBSIDIES INTO AMERICA’S 150 MOST EXPENSIVE ZIP CODES – $4.8 MILLION

FY2017 | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, quantifies all federal farm subsidies flowing to America’s most expensive ZIP codes according to Forbes between FY2015-FY2017. These ZIP Codes include those in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, CA; Palm Beach, FL; Park City, UT; and many other wealthy areas across America.

389 FARM SUBSIDY RECIPIENTS OF $1 MILLION+ – $667 MILLION

FY2017 | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, quantifies the number of federal farm subsidy recipients pulling down $1 million or more in fiscal year FY2017 payments. Reviewing those farming entities who received over $1 million during the past 10-years (since 2008), we found over 6,600 entities received up to $23 million. Search our interactive map of all $1 million recipients of federal farm subsidies from over 60 USDA programs displayed by ZIP Code across America.

12 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS COLLECTED FARM SUBSIDY PAYMENTS – $637,059

FY2017 | U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | When conducting research for our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Harvesting U.S. Farm Subsidies, released August 2018, our team found 12 members of Congress collecting farm subsidy payments in FY2017. These members of congress sit on the agriculture committee, craft farm policy, vote on the subsidies, and then collect the subsidies. Our Honorary Chairman Dr. Tom Coburn, while in congress, complained to the ethics committee.

FUNDING A FREQUENTLY INVESTIGATED CHILDCARE FACILITY IN TEXAS – $5 MILLION

FY2014-2016 | DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $5 million in federal grant dollars given to the Shiloh Treatment Center in FY2016 alone. NPR investigated this center and allegations of medicating children.

WHERE IT HURTS THE MOST TO BE STUNG BY BEE – $1 MILLION

FY2015 | NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION | Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona published a report, titled "Twenty Questions: Government Studies That Will Leave You Scratching Your Head." On page 7, the report details the $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a study asking "Where does it hurt the most to be stung by a bee?"

NON–MILITARY AGENCIES PURCHASE GUNS, AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY–STYLE EQUIPMENT – $2.2 BILLION

FY2006–FY2017 | 67 NON–MILITARY FEDERAL AGENCIES | In July 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America, quantifying all non-military federal agency purchases of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment between FY2006-FY2014. On October 20, 2017, we published updated numbers (FY2006-FY2017) in an editorial at Forbes, titled "Why Are Federal Bureaucrats Buying Guns and Ammo? $158 Million Spent by Non-Military Agencies."

IRS PURCHASE OF GUNS, AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY–STYLE EQUIPMENT – $15.5 MILLION

FY2006–FY2017 | INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE | In July 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America, quantifying all non-military federal agency purchases of guns, ammunition, and military equipment between FY2006-FY2014. On October 20, 2017, we published updated numbers (FY2006-FY2017) in an editorial at Forbes, titled "Why Are Federal Bureaucrats Buying Guns and Ammo? $158 Million Spent by Non-Military Agencies." In both studies, we quantified all Internal Revenue Service (IRS) purchases of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment.

VA PURCHASE OF GUNS, AMMUNITION, AND MILITARY–STYLE EQUIPMENT – $17.5 MILLION

FY2006–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | In July 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America, quantifying all non-military federal agency purchases of guns, ammunition, and military equipment between FY2006-FY2014. On October 20, 2017, we published updated numbers (FY2006-FY2017) in an editorial at Forbes, titled "Why Are Federal Bureaucrats Buying Guns and Ammo? $158 Million Spent by Non-Military Agencies." In both studies, we quantified all Veterans Affairs (VA) purchases of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment.

FLEET OF ARMORED VEHICLES – $1.5 MILLION

 

FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES | On October 3, 2018, we published an editorial at Forbes, titled "Use It or Lose It – Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week in Year-End Spending Spree." Using data compiled by OpenTheBooks.com via the Freedom of Information Act, we identified a $1.5 million contract between Square One and the Department of Health and Human Services during the week of September 24 through 30, 2018.

 

TALKING TO SAGUARO CACTUS – $10,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 10, the report details the $10,000 grant to the Collage Dance Theatre in Los Angeles. Our report launched

on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

USING SOAP OPERAS TO REDUCE HIV IN URBAN BLACK WOMEN – $567,529

FY2016 | MIKE CAPUANO | MASSACHUSETTS–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $567,529 grant given to Northeastern University from the Department of Health and Human Services.

27’ ARTIFICAL CHRISTMAS TREE – $21,500

FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | In a joint investigation with COX Media Washington, D.C., OpenTheBooks published an editorial at Forbes on July 26, 2016, titled "The VA’s Luxury Art Obsession." The editorial exposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ array of luxury artwork purchases over a ten-year period cost taxpayers $20 million, including a 27-foot artificial Christmas tree. Our story was aired on Good Morning America and ABC World News Tonight. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley wrote an oversight letter to then-VA Secretary Robert McDonald, who apologized

for the purchases and instituted new rules to stop the purchases on a go-forward basis.

STUDY: HOW FACEBOOK AFFECTS ALCOHOL USE – $147,686

FY2016 | JIM MCDERMOTT | WASHINGTON–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $147,686 grant given to the University of Washington from the Department of Health and Human Services.

SPACE RACERS: AN ANIMATED CHILDREN’S CARTOON – $2.5 MILLION

FY2016 | MO BROOKS | ALABAMA–5 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $2.5 million grant given to the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission from NASA. 

HIPSTER PARTIES – $5 MILLION

FY2015 | NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH | In 2015, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published a wastebook report. On page 11, the report details the $5 million the federal government spent funding "hipster parties."

VIRTUAL REALITY TO TEACH CHILDREN IN CHINA HOW TO CROSS THE STREET – $183,750

FY2016 | TERRI SEWELL | ALABAMA–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $183,750 grant given to the University of Alabama Birmingham from the Department of Health and Human Services.

SCHOOL OF WOODEN BOAT BUILDING – $781,330

FY2014–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | Our upcoming OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Education (expected release date: October 2018) quantifies all FY2017 Department of Education funding flowing to the School of Wooden Boat Building. These payments are primarily comprised of student loans and Pell grants.

HISTORIC HOBO DAY – $11,987

FY2016 | KRISTI NOEM | SOUTH DAKOTA–1 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 8, the report details the $11,987 grant given to South Dakota State University from the National Endowment for the Arts.

TAI CHI FOR THE ELDERLY – $696,723

FY2016 | MIKE CAPUANO | MASSACHUSETTS–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 8, the report details the $696,723 grant given to the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Elderly from the Department of Health and Human Services.

VIDEO GAME FOR YOUR FUTURE–SELF – $651,498

FY2016 | ROBERT WITTMAN | VIRGINIA–1 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 8, the report details the $651,498 grant given to Research and Evaluation Solutions, Inc. from the Department of Health and Human Services. A representative from Rep. Wittman's office reached out to us, claiming Rep. Wittman was not responsible for this grant. Read Rep. Wittman's office's argument here

STUDY: ARE PHYSICIAN TRAINEES RACIST? – $932,741

FY2016 | TIM WALZ | MINNESOTA–1 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 9, the report details the $932,741 grant given to Mayo Clinic from the Department of Health and Human Services.

LISTENING TO NATIONAL PARKS – $20,000

FY2016 | DAN BENISHEK | MICHIGAN–1 | REPUBLICAN | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 16, the report details the $20,000 grant awarded to Michigan Technological University for a project called "Listening to Parks."

PREVENTING TEEN PREGNANCY THROUGH THEATER – $749,000

FY2016 | CHAKA FATTAH | PENNSYLVANIA–2 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 9, the report details the $749,000 grant given to the Public Health Management Corporation from the Department of Health and Human Services.

VIRTUAL SHOE–FITTING – $753,502

FY2015-2016 | MORGAN GRIFFITH | VIRGINIA–9 | REPUBLICAN | ANNA ESHOO | CALIFORNIA-18 |  DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 10, the report details the $753,502 grant given to Eclo, Inc. from the National Science Foundation. A representative from Rep. Griffith's office reached out to us, claiming Rep. Griffith was no responsible for this grant. Read Rep. Griffith's office's argument here. Rep. Griffith's office sent a cease and desist letter to our office and we issued a response. Read our response letter here

THE DICTATOR GAME – $56,118

FY2016 | CHARLIE RANGEL | NEW YORK–13 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork

, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 10, the report details the $56,118 grant given to Columbia University from the Department of Health and Human Services.

VIDEO GAME: THE LOGICAL JOURNEY OF THE ZOOMBINIS – $658,388

FY2016 | KATHERINE CLARK | MASSACHUSSETS–5 | DEMOCRAT | Our

OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 11, the report details the $658,388 grant given to Technical Education Research Centers, Inc. from the National Science Foundation.

RESEARCHING STIGMATIZATION OF DANISH SMOKERS – $330,176

FY2016 | LOU BARLETTA | PENNSYLVANIA–11 | REPUBLICAN | OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 11, the report details the $330,176 grant given to Dickinson College from the Department of Health and Human Services.

STUDY: DISEASE SUSCEPTIBILITY OF TRANSLOCATING TORTOISES – $350,773

FY2016 | GLENN THOMPSON | PENNSYLVANIA–5 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 12, the report details the $350,773 grant given to Pennsylvania State University from the National Science Foundation.

MOBILE APP FOR SEX DIARY – $1 MILLION

FY2016 | GRACE NAPOLITANO | CALIFORNIA–32 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 12, the report details the $1 million grant given to Public Health Foundation Enterprises, Inc. from the Department of Health and Human Services.

CONVINCING MOTHERS TO STOP TEEN GIRLS FROM USING TANNING BEDS – $671,522

FY2016 | ED PERLMUTTER | COLORADO–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 12, the report details the $671,522 grant to Klein Buendel, Inc. from the Department of Health and Human Services.

VIDEO GAME TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO QUIT SMOKING – $1.3 MILLION

FY2014-2017 | DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 12, the report details the $399,116 grant to Playmatics – a video game company – from the Department of Health and Human Services. Between FY2014 and the project 'end date' in FY2017, the Dept. of Health and Human Services doled out $1.3 million. Initially, the project grant was awarded in July 2014, when Rep. Howard Coble held the seat (NC-06). Rep. Mark Walker was elected to congress (NC-06) in 2015. Today, because of redistricting, the grant recipient's address isn't located in Walker's district, but the district of Rep. G.K. Butterfield.

650 FEDERAL GARDENERS & LANDSCAPERS – $44 MILLION

FY2016 | U.S. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp analyzed the most popular and taxpayer expensive federal employee job titles. On page 18, there is a case study detailing the annual taxpayer cost ($44 million) of employing 650 federal gardeners and landscapers. 

MEASURING BLOOD PRESSURE AT BLACK BARBERSHOPS – $2.1 MILLION

FY2016 | ADAM SCHIFF | CALIFORNIA–28 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 13, the report details the $2.1 million grant given to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from the Department of Health and Human Services.

REPLACING A FLOATING BATHROOM IN UTAH – $227,795

FY2016 | CHRIS STEWART | UTAH–2 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork

, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 13, the report details the $227,795 grant given to Lucerne Valley Marina from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

SMART WALK: AN EXERCISE MOBILE APP FOR AFRICAN–AMERICA WOMEN – $92,393

FY2016 | KRYSTEN SINEMA | ARIZONA–9 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 13, the report details the $92,393 grant given to Arizona State University from the Department of Health and Human Services.

VIDEO GAMES TO FIGHT OBESITY AND DIABETES – $537,250

FY2016 | AL GREEN | TEXAS–9 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork

, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 5, the report details the $537,250 grant given to Baylor College of Medicine from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

EPIDEMIC SIMULATION GAME FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS – $350,236

FY2016 | DAVID MCKINLEY | WEST VIRGINIA–1 | REPUBLICAN | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork

, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 14, the report details the $350,236 grant given to Wheeling Jesuit University from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

HOW AIR POLLUTION AFFECTS BIRTH BY RACE – $788,664

FY2016 | JERRY MCNERNEY | CALIFORNIA–9 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork

, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 14, the report details the $788,664 grant given to the University of California at Berkeley from the Environmental Protection Agency. 

MOBILE APP FOR OBESITY AND STRESS – $690,333

FY2016 | JAMES MCGOVERN | MASSACHUSETTS–2 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 14, the report details the $690,333 grant given to the University of Massachusetts from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

TESTING FDA MESSAGING ON TOBACCO ADVERTISING – $4 MILLION

FY2016 | DAVID PRICE | NORTH CAROLINA–4 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 15, the report details the $4 million grant given to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from the Department of Health and Human Services.

CHILDREN’S CYBERSECURITY CARD GAME – $296,621                                              ​;       

FY2016 | DANNY DAVIS | ILLINOIS–7 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork

, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 16, the report details the $296,621 grant given to the University of Illinois at Chicago from the National Science Foundation. 

VIRTUAL WEIGHT LOSS GAME – $228,830

FY2016 | HENRY JOHNSON, JR. | GEORGIA–4 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 16, the report details the $228,830 grant given to Virtually Better, Inc. from the Department of Health and Human Services.

SMARTPHONE APP FOR PARKING YOUR CAR – $149,999

FY2016 | KRYSTEN SINEMA | ARIZONA–9 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 16, the report details the $149,999 grant given to Arizona State University from the National Science Foundation. 

 

REFRAMING BELIEFS ABOUT DEATH & DYING AMONG LATINOS – $882,841

FY2015 | CORNELL UNIVERSITY | NATIONAL INSITUTES OF HEALTH, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES In March 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Ivy League, Inc.

The report includes examples of wasteful grants doled out by the government to the Ivy League colleges. On page 16, the report details the $882,841 in grants given to Cornell University from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services. 

 

VIDEO GAME: LAYOFF – FIRING WORKERS, NOT BANKERS – $137,530

FY2015 | DARTMOUTH COLLEGE | NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION | In March 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Ivy League, Inc. The report includes examples of wasteful grants doled out by the government to the Ivy League colleges. On page 15, the report details the $137,530 grant given to Dartmouth College from the National Science Foundation.

 

PAYMENTS TO GAY MEXICAN PROSTITUTES FOR SAFE SEX – $53,419

FY2015 | BROWN UNIVERSITY | NATIONAL INSITUTES OF HEALTH | In March 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Ivy League, Inc. The report includes examples of wasteful grants doled out by the government to the Ivy League colleges. On page 15, the report details the $53,419 grant given to Brown University from the National Institutes of Health.

 

DYSTOPIAN CLIMATE CHANGE VOICEMAILS FROM THE FUTURE – $5.7 MILLION

FY2012 | COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY | NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION | In March 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Ivy League, Inc.

The report includes examples of wasteful grants doled out by the government to the Ivy League colleges. On page 15, the report details the $5.7 million grant given to Columbia University from the National Science Foundation. 

FEDERAL FUNDING INTO THE 50 WORST JUNIOR AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES – $923.5 MILLION

FY2017–2018 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | Our upcoming OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Education (expected release date: October 2018) quantifies all FY2017-FY2018 Department of Education funding flowing to the 50 worst performing junior and community colleges, according to WalletHub.

NEW CONDOM DESIGN WITH MORE LUBRICATION – $200,601

FY2016 | JOSEPH KENNEDY III | MASSACHUSETTS–4 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 6, the report details the $200,601 grant given to Hydroglyde Coatings from the Department of Health and Human Services.

FUNDING CHRISTIAN SEMINARIES – $815 MILLION

FY2014–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | Our upcoming OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Education (expected release date: October 2018) quantifies all Department of Education funding flowing to Christian seminaries across the United States between FY2014-FY2017. 

HIGH–END LUXURY FURNITURE – $92 MILLION

FY2008–FY2015 | ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY | On October 1, 2015, our editorial at Forbes titled, "The EPA Spends How Much on Office Furniture? Try $92 Million Over the Past Decade," revealed $92 million in upscale furniture purchases over a 10-year period at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, we published an OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with further analysis on the agency’s spending records.

SBA LOANS TO ROLEX JEWELERS – $21 MILLION

FY2007–FY2013 | SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION | In September 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report – Truth in Lending, detailing examples of the Small Business Administration (SBA) doling out small business loans to Rolex Jewelers.

TWO SCULPTURES FOR VA FACILITY THAT SERVES BLIND VETERANS – $670,000

FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | In a joint investigation with COX Media Washington, D.C., OpenTheBooks published an editorial at Forbes on July 26, 2016, titled "The VA’s Luxury Art Obsession." The editorial exposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ array of luxury artwork, including a $670,000 sculpture for a VA facility that serves blind veterans.

FANCY ROCK SCULPTURE – $482,960

FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | In a joint investigation with COX Media Washington, D.C., OpenTheBooks published an editorial at Forbes on July 26, 2016, titled "The VA’s Luxury Art Obsession." The editorial exposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ array of luxury artwork, including a fancy rock sculpture costing $482,960.

GRANTS TO THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART IN NEW YORK CITY – $1.2 MILLION

SINCE FY2009 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 5, the report details the $1.2 million in federal arts grants to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

ROBERT REDFORD’S SUNDANCE INSTITUTE – $200,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 7, the report details the $200,000 in funding Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute received in FY2016. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

FEMINIST PORN BOOK AND OTHER TITLES – $55,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 8, the report details the $55,000 grant the Feminist Press received in FY2016. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

SAN FRANCISCO MIME TROUPE – $20,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 9, the report details the $20,000 grant given to the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

"GAMES FOR CHANGE" VIDEO GAME CONVENTION – $200,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 10, the report details the $200,000 grant Games for Change, Inc. received. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

URBAN GARDEN OF HANGING GRASS – $20,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 16, the report details the $20,000 grant given to Kennesaw State University. Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

WALDEN: THE GAME – $350,000

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 15, the report details the $350,000 grant given to the University of Southern California. Our report launched

on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

ARTS GRANTS FOR ORGANIZATIONS WITH OVER $1 BILLION IN ASSETS – $143 MILLION

FY2009–2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. The report quantifies all FY2016 arts and humanities funding flowing to organization with over $1 billion in assets each (page 5). Our report launched on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

BLOG FOR BROOKFIELD ZOO – $131,488

FY2016 | NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES | In July 2017, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities, detailing numerous examples of wasteful grant making by the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities. On page 6, the report details the $131,488 grant given to the Chicago Zoological Society (Brookfield Zoo). Our report launched

on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal in a column by Roger Kimball.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PUBLIC RELATIONS – $4.3 BILLION

FY2007–FY2014 | ALL FEDERAL AGENCIES | In December 2015, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Self-Promotion, quantifying the amount federal agencies spent on public relations between FY2004-FY2014. Our report launched on the front page of TheHill in December 2015.

COMEDY CLUB HOLOGRAMS – $1.7 MILLION

FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE | A report by Arizona Senator Jeff Flake quantified $1.7 million given to a nonprofit called the National Comedy Center from the Department of Commerce. The grant was awarded to help the nonprofit construct a comedy museum that will "resurrect" dead comedians as holograms.

HOW TO USE A LAWYER GUIDE – $728,000

FY2015 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | In 2015, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published a wastebook report. On page 89, the report details the $728,000 the Department of Agriculture spent on a "How to Use a Lawyer" guide.

LIGHTING FOR LIQUOR STORES – $50,000

FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | In 2017, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published a wastebook report. On page 56, the report details the $50,000 the Department of Agriculture spent on liquor store lighting in Florida, Colorado, and Oklahoma.

PREPARING RELIGIONS FOR DISCOVERY OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE – $1.1 MILLION

FY2017 | NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION | In 2017, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published a wastebook report

. On page 58, the report details the $1.1 million NASA spent enlisting theologians to answer how the world’s religions would respond if extraterrestrial life were discovered.  

GOVERNMENT CHEESE SUBSIDIES – $21.8 MILLION

FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE | In 2017, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published a wastebook report

. On page 102, the report details the $21.8 million the Department of Agriculture spent on surplus cheese. 

AIRPORT AT MARTHA’S VINEYARD – $9.2 MILLION

FY2016 | DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION | On May 3, 2018, we published an editorial at Fox News Online titled, "Just how much federal waste, duplication and weird or unnecessary spending are your tax dollars funding?" The editorial quantifies the $9.2 million in federal grants that flowed to the private airport on Martha’s Vineyard in FY2016.

270 FEDERAL INTERIOR DESIGNERS – $22 MILLION

FY2016 | U.S. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT | Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Mapping the Swamp analyzed the most popular and taxpayer expensive federal employee job titles. On page 16, there is a case study detailing the annual taxpayer cost ($22 million) of employing 270 federal interior designers.

EPA PURCHASE OF GUNS, AMMO, AND MILITARY–STYLE EQUIPMENT – $3.4 MILLION

FY2006–FY2017 | ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY | In July 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Militarization of America, quantifying all non-military federal agency purchases of guns, ammunition, and military equipment between FY2006-FY2014. On October 20, 2017, we published updated numbers (FY2006-FY2017) in an editorial at Forbes, titled "Why Are Federal Bureaucrats Buying Guns and Ammo? $158 Million Spent by Non-Military Agencies." In both studies, we quantified all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) purchases of guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment. Our report launched in a co-authored editorial at the Wall Street Journal with Dr. Tom Coburn titled, Why Does the IRS Need Guns?.

CRESCENT CITY SCHOOL OF GAMING AND BARTENDING – $9.5 MILLION

FY2014–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | Our upcoming OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Education (expected release date: October 2018) quantifies all FY2017 Department of Education funding flowing to the Crescent City School of Gaming and Bartending.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT SURVEYS – $1.7 MILLION

FY2007–FY2014 | DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS | In May 2016, we published our OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report – The Veterans Affairs Scandal Two Years Later, quantifying the $1.7 million spent by the Department of Veterans Affairs on ‘employee engagement’ and other satisfaction surveys with Gallup between FY2010-FY2014.

HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS MEN’S ATTENTION AND SENSITIVITY TO SEXUAL INTEREST CUES – $180,921

FY2016 | DAVE LOEBSACK | IOWA–2 | DEMOCRAT | Our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork, released in May 2018, includes 50 examples of wasteful federal grants (FY2017). On page 7, the report details the $180,921 grant given to the University of Iowa from the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

DIGIPEN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY – GAMING EDUCATION – $51.4 MILLION

FY2014–FY2017 | DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION | Our upcoming OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Education (expected release date: October 2018) quantifies all FY2017 Department of Education funding flowing to DigiPen Institute of Technology. 


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Donna Moore
Scottsdale, AZ
10/7/2018 02:58 PM
 

  The wasteful programs listed above makes me sick to my stomach. What happens to our representatives in once they get elected? It seems common sense flies out the window. What can we do???????

 
 
Mrs. Carolyn Vick
West Peoria, IL
10/5/2018 09:38 PM
 

  Please, please stop the waste. We do not have the money to continue this way.

 
 
Mike Calvert
Houston , TX
10/1/2018 12:35 PM
 

  It is immoral, unethical and should be criminal for the taxpayers to be ripped off like this. Each congressman is guilty regardless of political party of preserving the system so he/she can pound their chest to the taxpayers in their district about the federal dollars brought to the district. Disgusting!!