A freshman Republican senator is taking on the time-honored tradition of highlighting dubious government spending with a new report that takes Washington to task for wasting taxpayer dollars on things like a weight-loss program for trucker drivers and tax credits to renovate old hotels.
The 145-page report, “Federal Fumbles: 100 Ways the Government Dropped the Ball,” offers 100 examples of Washington throwing good money after bad. It was unveiled Monday by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who replaced Tom Coburn, one of the upper chamber’s grumpiest combatants of government waste.
“People want their government to be efficient. That’s a reasonable thing to do. This is not a matter of cutting, this is identifying things that are not federal priorities or finding things that should be done better by a state or things that would be wasteful,” Lankford said during a Capitol Hill press conference.
Here are some of the more outrageous examples contained in the new “wastebook:”
* The Agriculture Department spent $35,000 on solar panels for a brewery in northern Michigan – solar-powered beer, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers!
* The National Institutes of Health spent about $2.7 million on weight-loss program for truckers.
* The Internal Revenue Service issued a $40 million tax credit to GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump to turn the Old Post Office in Washington into a new, luxury hotel.
* The State Department spent $545,000 to train senior officials how to testify before Congress.
* A $683,600 National Endowment for the Arts program gave Virginia theater companies tens of thousands of dollars to perform dialogue-free adaptations of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
* The National Science Foundation doled out roughly $374,000 on a study about the dating habits of senior citizens and awarded a $50,000 grant to develop a random number generator for casinos.
* The National Park Service spent more than $65,000 to “demonstrate what happens to bugs when the lights go out.”
* The Pentagon spent around $43 million to build a gas station in Afghanistan, a project that should have cost about $500,000.