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WHERE’S THE PORK? – AN OVERSIGHT REPORT BY OPENTHEBOOKS.COM – PUBLISHED APRIL 2018

Prologue In the private rooms on Capitol Hill, congressional leaders from both parties assure their colleagues there’s nowhere left to cut. They are convinced. Our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – Where’s the Pork? proves them wrong. As the federal debt surpassed $21 trillion this year, our first annual waste book details 50 examples of wasteful federal grants, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. For example, we uncovered a $183,750 grant funding a virtual reality platform to teach children in China how to cross the street. We found the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) granted $2.5 million to produce “Space Racers,” an animated children’s cartoon. Among the $421 billion in grants awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): more than $200,000 for a new lubrication for condoms. All told, the federal government doled out 560,771 grants in fiscal year 2016, totaling $583 billion. On average, each grant exceeded more than $1 million. These grants flowed to all sorts of entities including state governments, higher education institutions, nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, individuals, and more. Between fiscal years 2014 and 2016, asset-rich Fortune 100 companies received $3.2 billion in grants despite reporting hundreds of billions in revenues. Boeing can’t argue it needed $774 million in federal grants while reporting nearly $95 billion in 2016 annual revenue. In total, 33 Fortune 100 companies received federal grants including General Motors ($454 million) and Lockheed Martin Corporation ($277 million). Meanwhile, some nonprofits depend almost entirely on government money to stay afloat. In its most recent tax docu-

ments, Battelle Memorial Institute reported $4.8 billion in total revenue – and $4.5 billion of it came from government contracts and grants. Simultaneously, Battelle’s CEO pulled down $2.7 million in compensation. Our report provides micro and macro analysis, revealing numerous examples of wasteful grant making – all on the taxpayer dime. Our findings show pork-barrel spending is a bipartisan practice. The top 50 grant-receiving congressional districts are represented by 27 democrats and 23 republicans. Government waste has a long and checkered history. Between 2011 and 2014, our honorary chairman, former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, published an annual “Wastebook.” Coburn’s final edition quantified $30 billion in wasteful spending, including an $856,000 grant to train mountain lions to walk on treadmills. Between 1975 and 1988, former Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire presented monthly Golden Fleece Awards for “wasteful, ridiculous, or ironic use of taxpayers’ money.” Both Coburn and Proxmire exposed the $320-million “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska – an infamous example of wasteful spending, even today.

How can we rein in this insanity? Doing so will require vigilant, well-informed taxpayers to demand answers: With $21 trillion in national debt, how can congressional leaders argue there’s nowhere left to cut? Why is the federal government granting taxpayer dollars to asset-rich organizations that don’t need the funding? Why are leaders from both parties participating in these wasteful practices?

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American Transparency is a public charity. We do not accept government money. Our oversight reports present hard data without policy recommendations. Our goal is to enhance public discourse with delineated facts. Search our raw data using our interactive map, click here.

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OpenTheBooks - Where's the Pork?  

This report maps and provides macro and micro analysis to the $583 billion in fiscal year 2016 federal grants. Additionally, it details 50 c...

OpenTheBooks - Where's the Pork?  

This report maps and provides macro and micro analysis to the $583 billion in fiscal year 2016 federal grants. Additionally, it details 50 c...