Press Room

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new oversight report, “Wastebook 2011” that highlights over $6.5 billion in examples of some of the most egregious ways your taxpayer dollars were wasted. This report details 100 of the countless unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority projects spread throughout the federal government.

“Video games, robot dragons, Christmas trees, and magic museums. This is not a Christmas wish list, these are just some of the ways the federal government spent your tax dollars. Over the past 12 months, politicians argued, debated and lamented about how to reign in the federal government’s out of control spending. All the while, Washington was on a shopping binge, spending money we do not have on things we do not absolutely need. Instead of cutting wasteful spending, nearly $2.5 billion was added each day in 2011 to our national debt, which now exceeds $15 trillion,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Congress cannot even agree on a plan to pay for the costs of extending jobless benefits to the millions of Americans who are still out of work. Yet, thousands of millionaires are receiving unemployment benefits and billions of dollars of improper payments of unemployment insurance are being made to individuals with jobs and others who do not qualify. And remember those infamous bridges to nowhere in Alaska that became symbols of government waste years ago? The bridges were never built, yet the federal government still spent more than a million dollars just this year to pay for staff to promote one of the bridges.”

Examples of wasteful spending highlighted in “Wastebook 2011” include:

• $75,000 to promote awareness about the role Michigan plays in producing Christmas trees & poinsettias.

• $15.3 million for one of the infamous Bridges to Nowhere in Alaska.

• $113,227 for video game preservation center in New York.

• $550,000 for a documentary about how rock music contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

• $48,700 for 2nd annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival, to promote Hawaii’s chocolate industry.

• $350,000 to support an International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy.

• $10 million for a remake of “Sesame Street” for Pakistan.

• $35 million allocated for political party conventions in 2012.

• $765,828 to subsidize “pancakes for yuppies” in the nation’s capital.

• $764,825 to study how college students use mobile devices for social networking.

Read the full report: here


Date Title
12/20/11 Current record
12/17/11 Dr. Coburn Votes "No" on Omnibus Spending Bill
12/7/11 The ‘Taxpayers Right to Know Act’ Introduced in Both Chambers of Congress Today
Date Title
11/30/11 Dr. Coburn’s Statement on the NAT GAS Act
11/22/11 Dr. Coburn’s Statement on Failure of the Super Committee
11/16/11 Coburn Exposes Congress’ War on Oversight; Appropriators Target Taxpayer Watchdog
11/13/11 Dr. Coburn Releases Report Exposing Billions in Giveaways for Millionaires
11/9/11 Drs Coburn and Barrasso Release a Doctors’ Perspective of “Medicare & You 2012” Handbook
11/1/11 Senate Rejects Savings Amendments to “Minibus” Appropriations Bill
Date Title
10/21/11 Senate Passes Coburn Amendments Ending Welfare for Millionaire Farmers, and Prohibiting Repayment of Federal Grants with Federal Loans, but Protects Greedy Slumlords
Date Title
9/29/11 Help Balance the Budget: Vote in the Back in Black Spending Cuts Poll
9/29/11 Sens. Carper, Coburn Urge Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to Focus on Medicare and Medicaid Waste, Fraud and Abuse
9/22/11 Dr. Coburn Supports Senator Ron Johnson for Senate Republican Leadership
9/15/11 Senate Votes to Compound Nation’s Financial Crisis Instead of Cutting Spending
9/8/11 Dr. Coburn’s Statement on President Obama’s Jobs Plan
9/8/11 Senate Votes to Protect the Diversion of Patent Fees
Date Title
8/9/11 Dr. Coburn to Host Town Hall Meetings in Oklahoma
8/6/11 Dr. Coburn’s Statement on U.S. Credit Downgrade
Date Title
7/28/11 Senators Coburn, McCain, Vitter, Hatch, Cornyn, Isakson, Coats, Lee, Portman & Representatives Lankford and Flake Introduce Bill to Give States Freedom to Manage Federal Highway Tax Revenues
7/25/11 Dr. Coburn’s Statement on Breakdown in Debt Talks
7/21/11 Dr. Coburn's Report Exposing Wasteful Government Spending in Oklahoma
7/18/11 Dr. Coburn Releases $9 Trillion Deficit Reduction Plan
Date Title
6/29/11 Senators Coburn, Udall, McCaskill and Paul Propose Senate Rules Change, Requiring Review of All Legislation for Duplication, Overlapping Programs
6/28/11 Lieberman, Coburn Reveal Bipartisan Proposal to Save Medicare, Reduce Debt
6/23/11 Dr. Coburn Urges House to Reject Modified Patent Bill