Thursday, June 30, 2005

Your tax dollars at work

A federal audit of the contract for hiring Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport screeners calls into question $303 million of the $741 million spent to assess and hire the screeners. The audit of the contract, which rose from $104 million in February 2002 to $741 million in April 2003, has been completed but the U.S. Government will not release it. The Washington Post obtained a copy and showed some of the ways your hard earned tax dollars, remember "it's your money," is being spent in the war on terror.

--$526.95 for one phone call from the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Chicago to Iowa City;

--$1,180 for 20 gallons of Starbucks Coffee -- $3.69 a cup -- at the Santa Clara Marriott in California;

--$1,540 to rent 14 extension cords at $5 each per day for three weeks at the Wyndham Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa in Telluride, Colo.;

--$8,100 for elevator operators at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan;

--$5.4 million claimed for nine months' salary for the chief executive of an "event logistics" firm that received a contract before it was incorporated and went out of business after the contract ended;

--$20-an-hour temporary workers billed to the government at $48 per hour;

--subcontractors who signed out $5,000 in cash at a time with no supporting documents;

--$4.4 million in "no show" fees for job candidates who did not appear for tests;

--$514,201 to rent tents that flooded in a rainstorm;

--$377,273.75 in unsubstantiated long-distance phone calls;

One of the audit's key revelations is that a decision to move the hiring process from Pearson's 925 U.S. private assessment centers to 150 hotels and other meeting facilities added at least $343 million to the cost of the contract. Almost 50% of the contract's total cost.

The highlights of this audit are taken directly from The Washington Post article. No comments are really necessary except to say I feel we are caught between Islamic fanatics who consider mass murder a virtue and war profiteers who consider Islamic fanatics a virtue. Just another example of why the Curmudgeon is so perpetually cranky.


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