December 20, 2015
Over the past two years the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has levied roughly $100 million in fines against nearly a dozen firms for defrauding a phone subsidy program, $35 million against a Chinese company for selling illegal wireless jamming equipment, and $100 million against AT&T this June for throttling customers on unlimited data plans. All money that would be useful to help shore up the nationâ€™s finances, instead the FCC hasnâ€™t collected a penny in the name of the taxpayers it represents.
May 15, 2014
The Inspector General for Tax Administration at the U.S. Treasury Department has issued a report finding more than 2,800 workers received bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes. Specifically, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes. The report issued by Inspector General J. Russell George found the bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012.
February 25, 2014
This past week marks the fifth anniversary of the “stimulus.” The stimulus was the first major bill pushed by President Barack Obama after took over the White House. With the help of a Democrat controlled Congress, he signed the plan into law just a few weeks into his presidency. The stimulus program was sold to Americans as a response to the severe recession and skyrocketing unemployment. This was to be measured by the benchmark of “saving and creating” jobs by pumping money into the economy. The original price tag of the measure was $787 billion, which was later revised upward to around $830 billion.
April 26, 2013
This week, a Washington Post article revealed that the U.S. Government has spent $890,000 this past year to maintain…empty bank accounts. That’s right. These are accounts with no funds and exist essentially on paper. However, whether the government uses them or not, it still must pay the yearly maintenance fee of $65 on each of the accounts. $65 isn’t much money when the Government routinely runs up deficits in excess of $1 trillion each year. But when multiplied across the 13,712 empty accounts, the money adds up.
March 08, 2013
Most people know the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as the U.S. Government agency charged with collecting tax dollars. However, according to a report released late last month by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) the IRS wasted millions on aircrads and BlackBerrys without oversight.
June 25, 2012
Much has been made of the waste fraud and abuse that has taken place in the President’s near trillion dollar stimulus program, but it appears some jobs were actually created. The only catch is that they cost millions of dollars each to create. A highly inefficient and ineffective use of taxpayer dollars. The Obama administration distributed $9 billion in stimulus funds to solar and wind projects throughout 2009-11 that directly created 910 annual operation and maintenance jobs. That means those jobs cost, in the end, about $9.8 million each to create.
June 07, 2012
Owninga home has been an integral part of achieving the “American Dream” and hassupported communities and our economy alike. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand howthe housing crisis has impacted many corners of our nation’s economy. As of the end of 2010,23.1 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage owed more on their homesthan their homes were worth and at least 8 million Americans are at least onemonth behind on their mortgage payments. Solving the housing crisis and aidinghomeowners should be on the top of the President’s to-do list.
May 14, 2012
The1990’s were full of stories about “Welfare Queens,” but appears that efforts to reform our nation’s welfare programs have not been fully effective. From overpayments, to gaming the system, it appears these programs and the way they are administrated, are ripe for investigation.
April 24, 2012
Recently, it was revealed through an Inspector General’s report thatemployees of the General Services Administration (GSA) spent $822,000 on alavish “convention” in Las Vegas. The agency handles federal government logistics andoperations, including guidelines for the entire federal government onprocurement. Details of excessive spending in the planning and conducting ofthe conference brought the resignation of GSA Administrator MarthaJohnson and several other officials. The event held in the fall of 2012 was attended byabout 300 employees and lasted four days.
March 16, 2012
Last yearCapitolWatch informed you about a non-partisan Government Accountability Office(GAO) Report which showed spending and government waste in excess of tens ofbillions of dollars. Congress’ investigative arm had identified 81 differentareas where the government double-spends or has overlapping programs. DespiteCongressional hearings and media reports, the GAO has found that that wastecontinues to this day. President Obamaand Congress have solved just four of them.
January 07, 2012
The year for Americans as well as for our Government has ended. One in December and the other in September. This fiscal year our government almost out did itself and posted the second largest deficit in our history – a whopping $1.299 trillion. Just where did all of that money go though? Certainly half went towards paying entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Another portion went towards paying just the interest on our debt. Our government also funded vital programs mandated by the Constitution like Defense.
May 26, 2011
A Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday, found that at least 3,700 government contractors and nonprofit organizations that received more than $24 billion from the stimulus owed $757 million in back taxes as of Sept. 30, 2009, the end of the budget year. According to the report the tax delinquents accounted for nearly 6% of the 63,000 contractors and grantees examined. However, that number could be much higher. This is because the known tax debt does not measure such factors as income underreporting.
March 16, 2011
Yesterday the House of Representatives approved a sixth short term spending measure for the 2011 Fiscal Year. This comes as a result of the 111th Congress' inability to pass a budget. Unlike American families, the government can print more money, raise their credit limit, and not have to worry about the consequences. While CapitolWatch applauds House Republican efforts to trim the budget in three recent continuing resolutions (cuts of $61 billion, $4 billion, and $6 billion respectively), they hardly scratch the surface when it comes to addressing the $1.2 trillion shortfall in our budget this year.
March 08, 2011
This week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report detailing duplicative and redundant efforts in our Federal Government. Sadly, this report doesn’t come as a surprise. When Ronald Reagan was President, there was a similar report issued detailing wasted taxpayer dollars. Congress failed to act on the results of that study. Let’s hope they don’t let us down again. Our elected officials in the House of Representatives have already cut billions from the budget. To create a truly effective and efficient government, they’ll have to head the GAO’s report and end these redundant activities including 80 different economic development programs across several agencies and departments, 82 programs that deal with teacher quality, spread across multiple agencies and the 56 programs dealing with financial literacy. Voters have called for a more efficient government, the GAO has provided us with a good starting place.
March 01, 2011
The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development
February 24, 2011
Legislators in Wisconsin and now in Indiana have fled their states and shirked their responsibilities as elected officials. Meanwhile, state government teeter on the balance of insolvency as budget deficits loom. As Democrats constantly reminded us after November of 2008 - "elections have consequences." Now that the tables have turned it seems that they no longer care for democracy. While hiding across state lines and failing to live up to the obligations of official office, the greatest tragedy is that these elected "leaders" are still collecting a paycheck.
January 26, 2011
Last night the President employed a lot of lofty rhetoric, and played a lot of lip service to the idea of deficit reduction. Too bad he fell well short of target. His call to freeze government spending at the Fiscal Year 2011 level is the height of irresponsibility. That means we would maintain the reckless out of control spending of the last 4 years, and not reduce it at all. The increase over those years? 19% or $1.1 trillion, which has been spent on the backs of our children and grandchildren and financed by overseas interests like China.
August 17, 2010
The annual August Congressional Recess is one of only a few times a year the American Taxpayer can be sure a bill isn’t being considered to spend billions of dollars we don’t have. However, this August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Obama had different plans.
July 10, 2009
The government seems eager to be getting out of the business of bailing out banks and other large institutions, many of which have been responsible for the downturn in the global and U.S. economies.
July 07, 2009
Rep. Ron Paul (TX), fresh off a dark-horse bid for the presidency, has finally gained traction on accomplishing a task he first attempted 26 years ago: auditing the Federal Reserve.
June 15, 2009
While many corporations and business entities once clamored for government bailout money at the height of the recent financial collapse, the government's continued presence and influence in decisions being made is having a negative impact on the recovery process.
May 18, 2009
As reported in The New York Times, members of Congress have been briefed on reports that Pakistan, mired in political and religious turmoil, is adding to its nuclear arsenal raising concerns that billions of U.S. Aid dollars are being siphoned off to pay for the new weapons.
April 12, 2009
Secretary of Defense (SoD) Robert Gates, an appointee from the Bush administration retained by the Obama administration, released his proposed budget for the Pentagon calling for drastic reforms and a "fundamental overhaul" of programs and procedures designed to cull hundreds of billions of dollars of waste in the form of outdated and unnecessary programs.
March 18, 2009
The recent bonuses totaling $165 million given out to AIG employees should not have come as a surprise to anyone as they were part of contracts written well over a year ago and are largely the result of legislation passed in the early 1990’s.
March 12, 2009
CapitolWatch will be introducing a new section to the website in the next few days, Waste Inc., which will keep a running list of stories and events detailing the wasting of U.S. tax dollars by our government.
February 06, 2009
As is very well detailed in a Washington Post Op-Ed piece, President Obama has become mired in the thick, inescapable mud of Washington and is at risk of defaulting on many of his campaign promises and ideals of "change".
January 06, 2009
While members of Congress derided the auto industry for lavish expenses (rightfully) and seem to be sounding the alarm of fiscal discipline (also rightfully), they are unceremoniously getting a $4,700 annual pay raise at taxpayer expense (wrongfully).
November 07, 2008
General Motors announced today that they did not have enough money to continue to operate the company through the end of the year a day after meeting with members of the House of Representatives in Washington.
November 05, 2008
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated Wednesday that she is working to bring about a second stimulus package to help stimulate the shaky U.S. economy, which asides from being proven not to work, will cost the government tens of billions of dollars that it doesn't have.
October 24, 2008
News that financially-strapped insurance firm AIG has spent three-quarters of its $123 billion loan from the government paying off bad investments is followed by a statement from the firm's CEO that the $123 billion may not be enough to keep the company from failing.
October 17, 2008
There was a great report by John Stossel on the television program "20/20" outlining the ineffectiveness of government in actually doing much it sets out to do, and went through a long laundry list of how much taxpayer money is wasted and progress delayed courtesy of the officials we elect to do the exact opposite.
September 25, 2008
With the president’s dire forecast for the economic outlook of the nation during his prime time speech to the endless panic emanating from the Federal Reserve, one might think that the sky were falling and that the end of our way of life is at hand.
September 19, 2008
The string of major financial institutions failing in recent weeks, from Fannie Mac and Freddie Mae to Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers, to those on the verge of collapsing such as AIG and Washington Mutual, are all clear indications that the standard practices of these and many other companies have not been as stringent and well-thought out as their customers and shareholders might have expected.
September 09, 2008
Reform to the structure and terms of CEO pay have been a long-simmering issue that has gained traction recently, especially as more and more prominent companies are failing while their executives are receiving millions and millions of dollars even as they’re being fired.
June 23, 2008
A favorite hobby of politicians running for office and campaigning in Iowa is to talk about the great value of corn and ethanol subsidies to the hard-working farmers that are the back bone of this great nation of ours.
June 11, 2008
This week saw the defeat of a Democrat-backed bill that would impose windfall profit taxes on oil companies in light of their continuing record profits (the five biggest U.S. oil companies made $36 billion from January to March of 2008).
March 26, 2008
Leave it to the federal government to bungle one of its most important tasks: managing the tax dollars we as citizens pay.
From the "stimulus package" debacle to the calls from Congress to create a bailout fund for people who are unable to pay their mortgages, the onus of responsibility has continued to shift from individuals to the government and in doing so, consume resources that are dwindling in a time when more relevant needs are rising exponentially.
December 15, 2007
The Senate approved a farm bill that would provide government subsidies to farmers earning up to $2.5 million after expenses, rejecting an amendment to lower the cutoff amount to $750,000 (in case you were wondering, $750,000 is 15 times the 2006 median household income).
August 07, 2007
For a number of years now this idea has been a key component of the CapitolWatch.org philosophy, but at no time since has it been more obvious and relevant.
February 15, 2007
Through faulty contracts, negligent oversight, and shoddy workmanship, billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being wasted on contract projects throughout Iraq; an on-going problem with no end in sight.
January 05, 2007
Lawmakers who have been found guilty of or pleaded guilty to criminal offences while in office are eligible, and are receiving, government pensions paid for directly with your tax dollars.
November 30, 2006
Rep. Henry Waxman (CA), a longtime critic of the current government contracting system, has plans to reform the process and help eliminate the wasting of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.