Where's the Pork? | Open The Books Oversight Report Shield

May 3, 2018 08:00 AM


1. In fiscal year 2016, the federal government awarded 560,771 grants, totaling $583 billion. On average, each federal grant amounted to more than $1 million.

2. The 25 districts that received the most federal grant money accounted for 58 percent of all federal grant funding. Of the top 10 grant-receiving districts, Democrats represented five and Republicans five. Of the top 50 grant-receiving districts, Democrats represented 27 and Republicans 23.

3. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) distributed nearly 75 percent of 2016 federal grant funding, totaling more than $421 billion. Further, at 11 federal departments and independent agencies including HHS, grant making exceeded $1 billion.

4. While congressional leaders argue there’s nowhere left to cut, this report details 50 examples of wasteful grants costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. These grants funded video games, children’s cartoons, and numerous sex-centered studies.

5. Fortune 100 companies received $3.2 billion in federal grants between fiscal years 2014 and 2016. The top recipients included Boeing ($773.7 million); General Motors ($453.7 million); and Lockheed Martin Corporation ($277.2 million).

6. More than 3,000 for-profit institutions received $2.5 billion in grants. Southern Company Services, Inc., whose revenues totaled $23 billion in fiscal year 2016, received $162.5 million in federal grants.

7. Collectively, nonprofit organizations received $19.8 billion in grants. Some nonprofits depend almost entirely on government funds to stay afloat. For example, in its most recent tax documents, Battelle Memorial Institute disclosed $4.8 billion in revenue – and $4.5 billion of it came from government contracts and grants. Meanwhile, Battelle’s CEO pulled down $2.7 million in compensation.

8. Higher education institutions, according to the data, received 6 percent of federal grant funding, totaling $35.1 billion. Columbia University received the most grant funding ($816.3 million), followed by Johns Hopkins University ($768.1 million), and the University of Washington ($679.1 million). The top 25 grant-receiving universities included five Ivy League schools despite having $120 billion in collective endowment funds.

9. Washington, D.C., received more than $7,500 in grant dollars per capita, followed by Alaska ($3,950 per capita); Vermont ($3,088 per capita); New York ($2,785 per capita); and Kentucky ($2,571 per capita).

10. This report divides the federal data into 12 recipient types. State governments received 87 percent of all federal grant funding while the second-largest category, "State-Controlled Institutions of Higher Learning," received just 4 percent.

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