by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
If you need further evidence regarding how wasteful and irresponsible Washington D.C. is when it comes to our tax dollars, look no further than the behavior of agencies under Donald “drain the swamp” Trump.
This year’s spending binge amounted to $11 billion in the last fiscal year week of 2017, and many of the excesses were detailed by Open the Books Founder and CEO, Adam Andrzejewski, in a recent Forbesarticle.
Here are some of the highlights from the piece, Use It Or Lose It — Trump’s Agencies Spent $11 Billion Last Week In Year-End Spending Spree:
Every September, the end of the fiscal year sparks a “use it or lose it” spending frenzy as federal agencies race to use up what’s left in their annual budgets. It’s a phenomenon that should drive taxpayers crazy. Agencies are afraid that if they spend less than their budget allows, Congress might send them less money in the next year. Agencies often try to spend everything that’s left instead of admitting they can operate on less.
Here are the top ten ways the government wasted taxpayer money in the last week of FY2017:
1. The Swamp Starts Here – Even the president was in on this year’s spending frenzy. In the last week of FY2017, President Donald Trump’s office alone spent $21.8 million, which is more than three times the $6 million former President Barack Obama’s office spent to close out FY2016. Trump’s spending included $6.2 million in electrical hardware and supplies; $490,000 on tents and tarps; $489,517 on furniture; $10,612 on floor coverings; and $197,438 on newspapers and periodicals
2. Booze-Based Diplomacy – The State Department spent nearly $79,000 on booze for ten American embassies including Nigeria ($4,288), Peru ($4,453), Denmark ($4,736), Belgium ($6,760), Zambia ($6,429), and Sri Lanka ($9,613).
3. Armored Vehicles for HHS – In then-Secretary Tom Price’s final week in office, the Department of Health and Human Services led the charge, spending more than $2 billion. This spending included a $1.5 million deal with Square One Armoring Services Company for a fleet of armored vehicles.
4. Guns, Ammo, and Military-Style Equipment – Non-military agencies embarked on a one-week arms race, spending $7.3 million on guns, ammunition, and weapons. The Department of Homeland Security ($4.4 million) and the Department of Justice ($1.6 million) bought the most weaponry. However, The Department of Agriculture, for example, spent $306,617 on guns from Glock, Inc., plus an array of ammunition. In addition to guns and ammo, agencies loaded up on night vision equipment ($1.5 million); personal armor ($3.5 million); and combat, assault, and tactical vehicles ($284,457).
5. Insect and Rodent Control at the VA – The federal government did some end-of-the-year cleaning, paying $152.5 million in “housekeeping” bills. While agencies paid $114 million to guards and facilities operations support, they also signed for custodial janitorial ($24.3 million); laundry and dry cleaning ($2.9 million); surveillance ($2.7 million); trash and garbage collection ($1 million); carpet cleaning ($630,943); interior plantscaping ($154,458); and snow removal/salt ($127,373). “Housekeeping” contracts included insect and rodent control, which cost $111,000 at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
6. Redecorating Allowance – For the new fiscal year, many federal agencies decided to redecorate. In one week, the government spent $83.4 million on furniture plus another $23 million on office supplies and equipment. The Department of Veterans Affairs spent $15.6 million on new office furniture including $4.7 million to a veteran-owned company, American Veteran Office Furniture, LLC. The largest furniture contractor across all agencies, however, was Knoll, Inc. ($6.2 million) – a luxury furniture company that has 40 pieces permanently displayed in the American Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
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