A look back at 2012


From the Dayton Daily news, waste by the numbers.

Waste in 2012 included GSA antics, food stamps for dead people
By Josh Sweigart and Andrew J. Tobias
Staff Writer

The past 12 months have been a dangerous time to be a government coffer.

As 2012 wraps to a close, the I-Team decided to look back on some of the year’s biggest stories of waste, fraud or abuse of public funds. Maybe we’ll hold an awards gala; we could call it the “I-Teamies,” or maybe the “Wasties.”

Here are the finalists:
Who could forget the U.S. General Services Administration conference scandal? This previously anonymous agency was thrust into the limelight after government investigators found a 2010 GSA conference in Las Vegas cost taxpayers $823,000.

Some morsels: $146,000 in food (including $7,000 in sushi and $19 artisanal cheese plates), $3,200 to hire a mind-reader and more than $100,000 spent so federal bureaucrats could “scout out” possible locations for the party.

A music video produced by a GSA employee (unfortunately titled “American Idle”) just poured gas on the flames. Heads (and eyes) rolled.

Elsewhere, the public learned of $24 million — paid for by the federal stimulus bill — that the state of West Virginia spent on overpowered Internet routers, thanks to excellent reporting by the* Charleston Gazette*.

The $22,600 routers are powerful enough to serve an entire college campus but were used in rural libraries and schools, where $500 routers would have sufficed. That’s kind of like building an eight-lane highway as a driveway into your house. Some routers went unused and remained in storage.

In sheer eye-popping numbers, former small-town Illinois comptroller Rita Crundwell takes the cake. She admitted in November to embezzling more than $53 million from Dixon (pop. 15,000, and the childhood home of Ronald Reagan to boot) since 1990, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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