International trade office spends much of its time traveling domestically

So what‚"ôs America‚"ôs official trade negotiator to do when there‚"ôs no momentum for international deals inside an administration sensitive to labor union concerns? How about travel the United States giving speeches to U.S. workers, instead.

Wednesday - 07/31/2013, 11:35am EDT

International trade office spends much of its time traveling domestically

So what‚"ôs America‚"ôs official trade negotiator to do when there‚"ôs no momentum for international deals inside an administration sensitive to labor union concerns? How about travel the United States giving speeches to U.S. workers, instead.

Wednesday - 07/31/2013, 11:35am EDT

Medicaid innovation programs ran up $32 billion tab, watchdog says

When the government approved letting states experiment with new ways to deliver Medicaid services, it promised the innovations wouldn‚"ôt cost taxpayers any extra money. Somebody in the bureaucracy, however, failed to keep track.A new report by the chief watchdog for Congress finds that the so-called demonstration projects have cost taxpayers as much as $32 billion more than if the program has just been left alone over the last five years.

Friday - 07/26/2013, 10:49am EDT

Energy nominee struggled with cost savings at NASA

Elizabeth Robinson, the woman President Barack Obama has named to make the Energy Department‚"ôs oft-criticized contracting more efficient, is leaving behind a trail of spending questions in her past job as NASA‚"ôs chief financial officer.A Washington Guardian and Washington Times review of NASA inspector general reports finds the space agency struggled to achieve austerity under Robinson‚"ôs financial leadership, as cost overruns grew sixfold from $50 million in 2009 to $315 million in 2012.

Wednesday - 07/24/2013, 03:41pm EDT

Watchdog: Pentagon has no proof life-saving anti-IED program was implemented

A Pentagon program to prevent the planting of Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, in Afghanistan spent $32 million but doesn‚"ôt know if the devices are functioning or were even installed, an investigation by the U.S. top Afghan watchdog found.

Wednesday - 07/24/2013, 01:16pm EDT

Former Senate candidate Christine O‚"ôDonnell told her tax records were breached

More than two years after her upstart Senate campaign rocked the Delaware political world, Christine O'Donnell got an unexpected contact from a U.S. Treasury Department agent warning that her private tax records may have been breached.The phone message earlier this year shocked the battled-scarred candidate, a tea party favorite who knocked off Republican mainstay Michael Castle in the primary before losing in a bid to win Vice President Joseph R. Biden‚"ôs former seat.

Monday - 07/22/2013, 04:45pm EDT

Watchdog: EPA gave communities still-contaminated sites, billing them as 'clean'

Kent County wanted a bike path.Local officials in the Delaware county had their eye on a former landfill, practically across the street from Dover Air Force Base. So in 2005 they bought the property and two years later got certification from the Environmental Protection Agency that the site was safe.But in 2010, the EPA‚"ôs Inspector General, the agency‚"ôs independent watchdog, found that toxic chemicals were still present at the site, requiring more action by environmental officials before the bike path could be built.

Friday - 07/19/2013, 02:24pm EDT

Do zombies help or hurt Mid-East peace?

JERUSALEM (AP) ‚"Ē In one of the central scenes of the summer blockbuster movie "World War Z," Israeli troops funnel Palestinian refugees to safety in Jerusalem behind a massive concrete wall. There, the Arabs and Jews embrace, dance and sing ‚"Ē shortly before they are all engulfed by bloodthirsty zombies.Even for such an over-the-top work of science fiction, in which billions of people come back from the dead as horrific zombies to terrorize Earth, one of the most improbable plotlines of the film is that Israelis and Palestinians are fighting on the same side.

Friday - 07/19/2013, 12:51pm EDT

Watchdog: More than $1 billion going to fees in Afghanistan despite agreements

So much for thanks: As the U.S. accelerates its exit from a decade-long, $100 billion reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, American generosity is getting an unwelcome penalty in the form of taxes and fees imposed by President Hamid Karzai‚"ôs government on U.S. contractors supporting the rebuilding effort.

Friday - 07/19/2013, 10:14am EDT

Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff says US considering use of force in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) ‚"Ē The Obama administration is deliberating whether to use military power in Syria, where a civil war entering its third year has killed almost 93,000 people, the nation's top military officer told a Senate panel Thursday.Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during congressional testimony that he has provided President Barack Obama with options for the use of force in Syria.

Thursday - 07/18/2013, 12:35pm EDT

Watchdog: Energy Department office changed job requirements to exclude veterans

Military veterans were unfairly targeted by an Energy Department office that changed evaluations for job applications so it wouldn‚"ôt have to consider hiring certain individuals, a federal watchdog said.

Thursday - 07/18/2013, 11:00am EDT

Former Indiana governor denies trying to censor universities

Update:Purdue University President Mitch Daniels says he never tried to quash academic freedom while serving as Indiana's governor and is criticizing an Associated Press report citing emails in which he opposed use of a book by antiwar activist Howard Zinn.Emails published Tuesday by the AP show Daniels tried to ensure Zinn's book was not used in Indiana's K-12 and college classrooms and that he worked to "disqualify the propaganda" he said was being taught to teachers in training at Indiana's colleges.

Wednesday - 07/17/2013, 01:08pm EDT

Liz Cheney to seek Wyoming Senate seat held by Republican

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) ‚"Ē Former Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Liz Cheney will run against Wyoming's senior U.S. senator in next year's Republican primary, her campaign said Tuesday.Cheney, 46, is the elder of Dick Cheney's two daughters. Her announcement is a political challenge unlike anything Wyoming has seen for years, maybe decades ‚"Ē Republicans in the state rarely challenge incumbents in national office. All three members of the state's congressional delegation and all statewide elected officials are Republican.

Tuesday - 07/16/2013, 05:14pm EDT

Near-collisions between planes has risen drastically, watchdog warns

Aircraft collisions that are ‚"úbarely avoided‚"Ě have increased more than 600 percent in the past four years, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration, potentially putting thousands of passengers‚"ô lives at risk.Although the agency‚"ôs internal watchdog said the U.S. still has the safest air transportation system in the world, investigators don‚"ôt know what is causing the rise in near accidents.

Tuesday - 07/16/2013, 04:51pm EDT

GAO chief warns Congress: Government wasting $100 billion

The federal government doesn‚"ôt maintain a single list of all of its programs, one reason the bureaucracy wasted more than $100 billion on bogus payments last year, Congress‚"ė chief watchdog said Wednesday.Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, who runs the Government Accountability Office, said agenices made $107.7 billion in inappropriate and excessive payments in 2012, and that total is not yet complete.

Saturday - 07/13/2013, 02:04pm EDT

Scrapping plans for Eisenhower Memorial could cost millions

WASHINGTON (AP) ‚"Ē Analysts say scrapping a disputed design for a planned Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial near the National Mall and developing an alternate concept over the next five years would cost about $17 million.The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released the estimate Thursday based on a House bill that would have the 14-year-old memorial project redesigned.Utah Rep. Rob Bishop called for a new design with the support of Eisenhower's family. The family has called the current design "too extravagant."

Friday - 07/12/2013, 11:24am EDT

Watchdog: Bringing technical know-how to Washington is getting too expensive

An Energy Department program to bring special technical talent to the Washington area has run up a $37 million tab because agency officials didn‚"ôt track costs adequately and gave away excessive sums for moving and living expenses, a federal watchdog says.

Friday - 07/12/2013, 09:40am EDT

FAA program isn't tracking foreign pilots on U.S. soil, investigation finds

The Federal Aviation Administration is doing a poor job of tracking pilots and the aircraft they fly, creating serious gaps in a system that was supposed to improve aviation security following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an internal investigation has found.

Thursday - 07/04/2013, 11:37pm EDT

Medicare failed to collect back $543 million in overpayments

Medicare, already under fire from Congress for its financial woes, did not recover $543 million in overpayments during 2010, and can provide little information on which contractors they overpaid, according to a new report from the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services was only able to provide details on seven of the 32 contractors that owed them money. The seven contractor CMS had detailed information on accounted for $69 million (18 percent) of the uncollected overpayments.

Wednesday - 07/03/2013, 05:11pm EDT

Youth charity slammed for poor taxpayer protections over millions in federal aid

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a well-known charity that helps troubled youth find mentors. The program might need a few extra mentors, though, for its accounting department.An internal Justice Department audit slams the charity's fiscal management, demanding $4 million in taxpayer money be refunded before it is spent and questioning whether $19 million already spent actually helped intended youths.

Tuesday - 07/02/2013, 04:54pm EDT