Press Room

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new oversight report, “Wastebook 2012” that highlights more than $18 billion in examples of some of the most egregious ways your taxpayer dollars were wasted in 2012. This report highlights 100 of the year’s countless unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority projects spread throughout the federal government.

“The problem in Washington is politicians are very specific about what we should fund but not specific about what we should cut. As a result, we are chasing robotic squirrels and countless other low-priority projects over a fiscal cliff,” said Dr. Coburn.

“This report also exposes the folly of across-the-board-cuts or sequestration. There is no question we can find hundreds of billion dollars of waste in our budget. Yet, by not going through the budget line by line and setting priorities we are protecting ridiculous programs like caviar promotion and climate change musicals while cutting vital programs. Until Congress has the guts to cut specific programs we will never get our debt under control. As these examples illustrate, it is not nearly as hard to make those choices as many politicians claim. Instead of spending federal dollars to help golfers imagine a smaller hole we should be trying to shrink the hole in our budget,” Dr. Coburn said.

Examples of wasteful spending highlighted in “Wastebook 2012” include:

• Tax loopholes for the National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL) and Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) – professional sports leagues that generate billions of dollars annually in profits ($91 million in taxes)

• Moroccan pottery classes (part of a $27 million grant from U.S. Agency for International Development)

• Efforts to promote caviar consumption and production ($300,000)

• Robotic squirrel named “RoboSquirrel” (part of a $325,000 grant from the National Science Foundation)

• Promotion of specialty shampoo and other beauty products for cats and dogs ($505,000)

• Corporate welfare for the world’s largest snack food producer, PepsiCo Inc. ($1.3 million)

• Government-funded study on how golfers might benefit from using their imagination, envisioning the hole is bigger than it actually is ($350,000)

• “Prom Week,” a video game that allows taxpayers to relive prom night ($516,000)

• Oklahoma’s layover boondoggle, a scarcely used airport in Oklahoma receiving nearly half-a-million in taxpayer dollars only to transfer funds elsewhere in the state ($450,000)

• The 2012 Alabama Watermelon Queen tour paid for in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “to promote the consumption of Alabama’s watermelon through appearances of the Alabama Watermelon Queen at various events and locations” ($25,000)

Read the full report: here

View a complete list and summary of Wastebook 2012 projects: here

Flip through the "Wastebook Storybook" for highlights: here

###



Date Title
4/8/14 Dr. Coburn’s Statement on New GAO Duplication Report
4/3/14 Bipartisan Group Introduces Bill to Stop the Government from Selling Reports Available Online for Free
Date Title
3/14/14 Udall, Coburn Welcome Support for Proposal to End Unemployment Benefits for Millionaires as Part of Extension of Long-Term Jobless Benefits
3/13/14 Senators Introduce Bill to Stabilize Funding for Patent and Trademark Office
3/13/14 Senate Says No to Childcare Handouts For Millionaires
3/12/14 Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill Requiring Bureaucracy to Disclose Programs
3/11/14 Senate Says So Long to Taxpayer Funded Conventions for Political Elite
Date Title
2/26/14 Coburn Releases New Health Care Cost Report
2/18/14 Senate Doctors Question CMS Plan to Test ICD-10 Codes
2/13/14 Senators Question Intelligence Community’s Tracking of Core Contractors
2/12/14 New GAO Report Finds DHS Ammunition Purchases Declined Since 2009
2/10/14 Dr. Coburn Asks IRS to Clarify Enforcement of Individual Mandate
2/4/14 Dr. Coburn Releases New Report on Cybersecurity
Date Title
1/30/14 BURR, COBURN, HATCH: ANALYSIS SHOWS THERE IS A BETTER WAY THAN OBAMACARE
1/27/14 Dr. Coburn Unveils Obamacare Replacement - Patient CARE Act - with Senators Burr and Hatch
1/14/14 New GAO Report Finds Transparency Discrepancies with IT Dashboard
1/8/14 GOP Senators Express Concern Over HHS IG Report Citing Insufficient Oversight of Electronic Health Record Program
1/8/14 Senators Coburn, Warren Introduce Truth in Settlements Act to Make Federal Agency Settlements More Transparent
1/7/14 Carper, Coburn Highlight New Administration Proposal to Combat Fraudulent Drug Diversion From Medicare
1/7/14 Federal Agencies Continue Improper Payments to Deceased People
1/7/14 New GAO Report Finds Weaknesses with DHS’s Effort to Upgrade Key Border Enforcement System
1/6/14 Senators Highlight New Assessment on Government’s Transition to Major Telecommunications Contract Program
Date Title
12/17/13 Coburn Releases Annual Wastebook Highlighting Most Egregious Spending of 2013
12/16/13 Donnelly, Coburn Introduce Bill to Preserve Access to Manufactured Housing
12/16/13 Coburn to Introduce Wastebook 2013 at Tuesday Press Conference