The Energy Department paid the builder of its planned weapon-grade plutonium reprocessing plant millions of dollars in taxpayer money for unnecessary employee living expenses, government auditors concluded Monday.The MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility is already projected to run over budget by an estimated $3 billion, dwarfing the $3.7 million in unnecessary expenses found by department Inspector General Gregory Friedman. Still, he criticized the department for not fully monitoring spending by its main contractor, Shaw AREVA MOX Services.
The Pentagon is good at running the military but bad at running the logistics, human resources and technology inside one of the world's largest businesses, a government watchdog warns.
Across the table at one of Washington‚"ôs classic power restaurants, my source sat smiling. We hadn‚"ôt seen each other for more than six years. After the usual opening small talk and pleasantries, I had just posed the question I had come to dinner to ask.‚"úI‚"ôm curious. Why did you go cold on me all these years?‚"Ě I inquired.‚"úYou were too hot,‚"Ě the source shot back wryly, playing off my own words. ‚"úHonestly, we were concerned that after your phone records and mail was seized that you were still being monitored.‚"ĚThe source paused.
Welcome to Whopper of the Week: Damage Control edition.It's been a rough week for the White House. ¬†First, there was the ongoing investigation into the administration's explanations about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. ¬†Then, the Internal Revenue Service admitted it had been targeting Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny. ¬†And¬†then¬†it was revealed that the Justice Department had obtained the phone records of The Associated Press - and possibly others - to unmask the journalists' sources.
Despite all the promises of frugality in Washington, the newest version of the farm bill passed by the House boasts a pricetag near $1 trillion and manages to send plenty of subsidies back to influential special interests in lawmakers' home states.It includes millions of dollars to peanut, cotton and milk producers, plus improved crop insurance to protect farmers, creating new fodder for critics who believe such direct aid to farmers keeps food prices artifically high at taxpayer expense.
The government has more data centers than it needs, and is trying to close 40 percent of them by 2015.¬† But lax oversight and record keeping has left federal officials unsure if they‚"ôre meeting the planned $3 billion in savings, a watchdog report says.
Just miles from New York City‚"ôs hallowed Ground Zero, an Internet server in New Jersey hosts a Jihadist leader‚"ôs website that instructs supporters of al-Qaida to use explosive devices against western civilians, along with blueprints showing how to build the bombs.Another website, hosted on a server located in Miami, provides Hezbollah ‚"ď designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department ‚"ď a platform for its television website al-Manar.
The federal stimulus is the program that keeps on giving -- examples of taxpayer waste, that is.Investigators inside the Transportation Department offer the latest example of problematic Recovery Act spending from three states that misspent about $125 million in highway repair money - roughly 12 percent of the $1 billion that Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan received.
The auditing arm of Congress is urging the government to revamp the way Medicaid money is distributed, suggesting officials target funds based on the demand, geography and resources in each state.Currently, Medicaid distributes $300 billion annually to the states to help pay the medical needs of the poor and disabled under a formula known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, or FMAP. Payments are essentially¬†based on each state's per capita income (PCI).
The heat is rising on Planet Earth.On Friday, the¬†National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that carbon dioxide - one of the worst greenhouse gases - has reached a concentration of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere, levels not seen seen for millions of years."Today‚"ôs rate of increase is more than 100 times faster than the increase that occurred when the last ice age ended," NOAA declared.So with growing fears of climate change, global warming and rising sea levels, what did national leaders do? Argue. ¬†
The U.S. spends more money on defense than any other nation in the world. So in an era of fiscal challenge, the Pentagon looked for ways to reduce costs.Too bad Congress wasn't listening.Lawmakers have nixed several of the money-saving ideas, instead forcing the Defense Department to purchase or maintain equipment it says it doesn't need.Take for instance the half-billion dollars in Abrams tanks that Congress ordered up for the next two years, or the seven obsolete ships the Navy is being forced to keep.
The State Department, already blamed for lax security leading up to the Benghazi terror attack, is getting some additional uncomfortable scrutiny for the way it spent an estimated $195 million last year training its diplomats in foreign languages.The department‚"ôs internal watchdog reported Wednesday ‚"ď the same day State officials testified before Congress on last year‚"ôs tragedy in Libya ‚"ď that the department is failing to spend its language training money wisely.
The chief U.S. watchdog in Afghanistan says he is deeply concerned about the ability of the Afghan military to take over security responsibility when U.S. troops withdraw next year and warned the country could once again become a safe haven for terrorists.
The downsizing of the U.S. government may not be returning all the taxpayer savings it was intended. That's because displaced federal workers are being allowed to double-dip on unemployment benefits, with some making more in jobless aid than their former salaries, a new audit has found.
Federal Aviation Administration safety inspectors are doing a poor job of policing aircraft repair facilities, leaving passengers vulnerable to risks such as faulty parts, the U.S. Transportation Department's internal watchdog has found.The new warning comes five years after similar concerns were raised about FAA's ability to oversee aircraft repairs, and the latest review found little has changed.
Silent for months, the former top deputy to slain Ambassador Chris Stevens has told congressional investigators that U.S. and Libyan officials on the ground believed immediately that the attack on the American mission in Benghazi was terrorism and not a protest gone awry as administration officials initially suggested.
"It's all good," rapper M.C. Hammer famously said, and that's something the U.S. Agency for International Development appears to believe about the country's reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.But watchdogs ranging from the Government Accountability Office to the special inspector general for Afghanistan present a much more critical picture of the agency's efforts, especially when it comes to how it handles its own operations.
It could end up being taxpayer money going down the drain.The Senate is debating a bill that would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to construct a wide range of water projects with little Congressional oversight, in effect giving the Corps carte blanche to spend on projects of its own choosing.¬† All at a cost of $12.5 billion over the next ten years.
Hospitals that Americans are building to serve local populations in Afghanistan may not be sustainable after U.S. troops leave the country in 2014, the chief U.S. watchdog for Afghan recontruction bluntly warns.
The Environmental Protection Agency will need a decade or more to complete assessments of dozens of toxic chemicals it targeted under a more aggressive approach unveiled last year, according to the Government Accountability Office.GAO reported Monday that EPA has been slow to use its powers to collect the information it needs from companies under the Toxic Substances Control Act, making it hard to say whether the agency will meet its plans to ensure chemical safety.