13,800 Ignored Regulations Cost Taxpayers $26 Billion

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A new report (PDF) issued by Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ed Towns (D-NY), and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) of the House Oversight Committee, has found that the Bush administration has squandered $26 billion by ignoring 13,800 recommendations made by Inspectors General of various departments of the federal government. The 64 Inspectors General, roughly half of whom are appointed directly by the president and half of whom are appointed by their respective agency directors, are engaged in fighting corruption, fraud, and waste by conducting regular examinations of government operations. By federal law, agencies under audit must respond to their reports with a plan of action within a year. However it appears that more than half of the currently open files are more than a year old. The House Oversight Committee report highlights the largest monetary losses:

In April 2006, the Social Security Administration IG estimated that the agency could save more than $2 billion annually by ceasing payments to people who no longer meet the eligibility criteria for disability benefits due to medical improvement or employment status.
                    In July 2007, the Defense Department IG estimated that the Pentagon could recoup $837 million
                    in overpayments by establishing effective recovery audits for military telecommunications
                    In February 2007, the Department of Homeland Security IG concluded that FEMA could recover
                    $16 million in excessive billings and questionable costs resulting from poor management of a
                    contract for base camp services associated with Hurricane Katrina.


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