Sen. James Lankford (R., Okla.) released a report Monday chronicling billions of dollars misused by the federal government.
The second edition of Federal Fumbles featured several reports on wasteful spending first uncovered by the Washington Free Beacon, including half a million dollars spent on text messages encouraging men to stop dipping and research dollars spent on Snuggies.
“This book lists only a small fraction of the wasteful and duplicative spending from our government over the last few years,” Lankford wrote in the report. “With each of the 100 problems identified, I also suggest a common-sense and often simple solution. Our job requires us to do the challenging work to actually fix the problems we see.”
The report highlights large and small examples of wasted taxpayer dollars, from improper Medicaid payments totaling $142.7 billion since 2009, to $300 million in grants to sanctuary cities, to $47,000 for the TSA to buy an app that randomly points left or right.
Free Beacon articles featured in the report include a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health study of how kids think about food. Results found that 8-year-old children were not likely to eat food if they were told that someone sneezed on it.
“Research on childhood cancer and other rare medical conditions that lack treatments or cures are certainly national priorities worthy of federal funds,” the report said. “Spending almost $2 million to find out what is already common knowledge is obviously an ineffective use of American tax dollars.”
The report also included Free Beacon reports on a $676,417 NIH study creating an anti-tanning bed campaign targeting moms through social media, and $477,000 for “TextTo4GoSmokelessTobacco.” The NIH study sends text messages that tell American men how to quit chewing tobacco.
Love, Sex, and Choices, a government-funded soap opera about HIV, was also featured in Lankford’s report. The 12-episode series cost taxpayers $3.1 million and included an instructional video about how to put a condom on a cucumber.
Another NIH grant provided $1.7 million for a refugee exercise program that sends “community partners” into mosques to talk about physical activity.
“America is the greatest nation in the world, and it is hard to believe we need one more incentive to attract new immigrants,” Lankford’s report said.
Finally, Lankford featured the Free Beacon’s report on the thousands of National Science Foundation dollars that the University of Washington spent on custom-embroidered Snuggies.
The report featured 100 examples of waste, fraud, and abuse, carrying on a tradition of retired Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who uncovered countless examples of frivolous government spending in his annual Wastebook.
Lankford’s second iteration of Federal Fumbles revealed that the federal government operates 112 separate mental health programs totaling $5 billion and that the U.S. Agency of International Development spent $24 million to help other countries implement energy regulations.
The report exposed a $2 million National Science Foundation study about whether climate change is affecting China’s giant panda population. The study has produced one eight-page report in two years.
“It is also ironic that the federal government spends millions to study an animal within the country to which we currently owe more than $1 trillion,” Lankford noted.
The General Services Administration paid $925,000 for a photograph of Yosemite Falls to be cut into six pieces and hung in different floors of a federal courthouse in Los Angeles.
“As we enter into a new year—with a new President and new Congress—it is past time to focus on fixing the problems facing our nation,” Lankford said. “The consequences of inaction will not be felt just by the people of a certain state or political party. The decisions made today impact all of us and countless future generations.”
“The challenges we must overcome have national implications and require national attention,” he said. “For me, the items listed in this book are a to-do list for the next year. They are examples of violations of the public’s trust that must be prevented from happening again.”