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Tag Archive: GAO


Federal Government Made $20 Billion In Secret Purchases In Recent Months

 

Federal Starbucks Secret purchases

 

 

” The federal government has spent at least $20 billion in taxpayer money this year on items and services that it is permitted to keep secret from the public, according to an investigation by the News4 I-Team.

  The purchases, known among federal employees as “micropurchases,” are made by some of the thousands of agency employees who are issued taxpayer-funded purchase cards. The purchases, in most cases, remain confidential and are not publicly disclosed by the agencies. A sampling of those purchases, obtained by the I-Team via the Freedom of Information Act, reveals at least one agency used those cards to buy $30,000 in Starbucks Coffee drinks and products in one year without having to disclose or detail the purchases to the public.

  A series of other recent purchases, reviewed by internal government auditors, include wasteful and inappropriate purchases by government employees — including a gym membership and JC Penney clothing — that were not detected or stopped until after the purchase was completed.”

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GAO: Pentagon Broke Law In Bergdahl Case

 

 

 

 

 

” The Defense Department violated the law when it didn’t tell Congress before transferring five Taliban detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar in return for the Taliban’s release of captured Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office said in a legal decision made public Thursday.

  Pentagon officials “did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” as required by law, GAO General Counsel Susan A. Poling said in a letter to nine Republican senators who had sought the analysis.

  What’s more, Poling said, “because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act,” which “prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.”

  The GAO ruling provides legal backing for the position that the administration flouted the notification requirement — a view held by most Republicans and more than a few Democrats. The GAO does not address other issues that many lawmakers have raised about the merits of the exchange. “

 

Read more at Roll Call 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report: Pentagon Paid $150 Per Gallon For Green Jet Fuel

 

 

Corn v Ethanol

 

 

 

” The Department of Defense (DOD) paid $150 per gallon for alternative jet fuel made from algae, more than 64 times the current market price for standard carbon-based fuels, according to a report released on Wednesday.

  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted in its report that a Pentagon official reported paying “about $150 per gallon for 1,500 gallons of alternative jet fuel derived from algal oil.”

  GAO’s report examined the financial challenges facing increased purchases and use of alternative jet fuels by federal agencies. “Currently, the price for alternative jet fuels exceeds that of conventional jet fuel,” the report noted.

  The price for conventional jet fuel is currently $2.88 per gallon. GAO’s report reveals that federal agencies have paid significantly higher prices in an effort to promote biofuels in commercial and military aviation.”

 

 

    To who’s benefit might it be for the Feds to “promote” biofuels use ? Any guesses on who might own/have stock in these companies ?

   For those interested in further reading on the big players in the biofuels industry this article may be of interest , as might the GAO report itself (PDF here) which will avail one of the huge effort being undertaken to send billions of tax dollars into the hands pockets of private investors by way of mandated biofuels purchases from many Federal agencies … all under the guidance of that most upright of government entities , the EPA .

     Below we present the viewer with the introduction to the aforementioned GAO report that makes plain just how large is the concerted effort now underway to require federal agencies to purchase ever-increasing percentages of their fleet fuels at prices way beyond market value from select manufacturers …

 

 

 

” The federal government supports the development and use of alternative jet fuels through both broad and targeted initiatives. Broad national strategies promote the development of a variety of alternative fuels—including alternative jet fuel—to help achieve national goals, such as securing energy independence, fostering economic development, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the renewable fuel program—established by law in 2005 to encourage greater use of renewable fuels and administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—requires that U.S. transportation fuels contain certain amounts of renewable fuels annually, increasing from 9-billion gallons in 2008 to 36-billion gallons in 2022. The other four federal agencies that GAO reviewed—Department of Transportation‘s (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Defense (DOD)—directly support alternative jet fuels through targeted goals, initiatives, and interagency and industry coordination efforts. For example, FAA set a goal for the U.S. aviation industry to use 1-billion gallons of alternative jet fuels annually by 2018. The four agencies also sponsor research that specifically targets alternative jet-fuel development or provide direct support for its future commercial production, or both. For example, FAA and DOD support research to determine the technical feasibility of using new alternative jet fuels on aircraft and in existing infrastructure. Also, USDA, DOE, and DOD have coordinated their activities to support the future construction or retrofit of multiple domestic commercial- or pre-commercial-scale production facilities to produce alternative fuels, including alternative jet fuels. Specifically, in May and June 2013, four private fuel producers received awards totaling $20.5 million in federal funds, with private industry paying at least 50 percent of the cost.
  Achieving price competitiveness for alternative jet fuels is the overarching challenge to developing a viable market. No alternative jet fuels are currently commercially available at prices competitive with conventional jet fuels. The 23 stakeholders that GAO interviewed most frequently cited high development costs and the uncertainty of federal regulations and policies as primary reasons why alternative jet fuels are not priced competitively and believe that federal activities are needed to help advance the alternative jet-fuels industry. For example, according to 10 stakeholders, fuel producers face difficulties in obtaining private investment to help construct commercial-scale fuel production facilities, in part because of concerns about the supply and high cost of feedstock (the source used to produce the fuel, such as crops) and high capital costs.

  Also, 13 stakeholders stated that continued uncertainty about the future of current federal policies—particularly the renewable fuel program—generally causes potential investors to discount the value of federal subsidies, discounting that, in turn, limits the support these policies may provide the industry. Stakeholders identified a variety of federal actions to advance alternative jet-fuels development, including continuing current federal research efforts, providing greater regulatory and policy certainty, and giving more direct financial support. However, even if the cost to produce alternative jet fuels is reduced, market factors may still determine the long-term success of the industry. The main market factors identified by stakeholders were (1) comparative value of competing end products, (2) feedstock prices, and (3) the costs of conventional jet fuels.”

 

 

 

     It’s also worth remembering that every gallon of biofuel produced increases the cost of our food from the grocery store . Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Security Breaches Of Personal Information At Federal Agencies More Than Doubles Since 2009

 

 

Security Data Breaches

 

 

 

” Millions of individuals who recently entrusted personal, medical, and financial information to the federal government while enrolling in Obamacare via Healthcare.gov may find a recent trend reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) rather unsettling.  The number of security breaches involving Personally Identifiable Information (PII) at federal agencies more than doubled in recent years, increasing from 10,481 in 2009 to 25,566 in 2013.  Perhaps even more disturbing, the GOA found that “none of the seven agencies [in a related study] consistently documented lessons learned from PII breaches.”

  A graph accompanying the GAO report illustrates the dramatic and consistent upward trend in PII-related breaches over the last several years”

 

 

   See the Weekly Standard for more . We find this disturbing trend to be remarkably suspicious , yet hardly surprising given the current administration’s total lack of regard for our basic Constitutional protections . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Fiscal Condition: Ranking The 50 States

 

 

 

 

” New research from Sarah Arnett examines states’ abilities to meet their financial obligations in the face of state budget challenges that have far outlasted the Great Recession. Fiscal simulations by the Government Accountability Office suggest that despite recent gains in tax revenues and pension assets, the long-term outlook for states’ fiscal condition is negative (GAO 2013). These simulations predict that states will have yearly difficulties balancing revenues and expenditures due, in part, to rising health care costs and the cost of funding state and local pensions.

  Arnett uses four different indices to analyze state solvency using each state’s fiscal year 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report data. She then weights these four indices to create the State Fiscal Condition Index below. “

 

Read on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ICE Released 2,837 Convicted Alien Sex Offenders To Comply With Supreme Court Ruling

 

 

” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has released 2,837 convicted criminal alien sex offenders back into American communities in order to comply with a Supreme Court decision authored by Clinton-appointed Justice Stephen Breyer, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The 2,837 sex offenders represented five percent of the 59,347 deportable aliens that have been released from detention under the supervision of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to the GAO report, which was released Thursday.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama’s DHS Cannot Locate 266 Potentially Dangerous Illegal Aliens

 

 

 

” Rebecca Gambler, the director of the Homeland Security and Justice for GAO , testified before the House Subcommittee on May 21. According her her, 1,901 illegal overstays had been identified by DHS in 2011. These overstays were prioritized by DHS for further investigation because “the subjects of the records could pose national security or public safety concerns.”

Of those 1,901, nine have been arrested and 266 still cannot be located. 481 of the cases were given to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations division, because they presented “potential public safety threats”.

The DHS has failed to report visa overstays to Congress, as required by law. Their excuse? A lack of “confidence in the quality of its overstay data”. Janet Napolitano said that the DHS will report on overstay rates by December 2013.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Littoral Combat Ship Network Can Be Hacked, Navy Probe Finds

 

 

 

 

”  The computer network on the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship is vulnerable to hacking, according to findings by Navy cybersecurity specialists.

A “red team” assigned to test weaknesses in computer systems found major deficiencies last year on Lockheed Martin Corp.’s USS Freedom, said a government official familiar with the findings who asked not to be identified because the Navy report hasn’t been made public. The Freedom, the first of the new ships to be deployed, sailed to Singapore last month for eight months of testing of its manning and logistics operations.

The estimated price to build each vessel has doubled to $440 million, and its ability to survive to fight after an attack has been questioned.

The Littoral Combat Ship depends for its combat capability on communicating with better-armed vessels through its “Total Ship Computing Environment,” a maritime battle network linked by computers and sensors. The Navy and the Pentagon’s weapons testing office declined to say whether the vulnerabilities would affect operations of the ship or coordination with other vessels.

The program may face added scrutiny this year, starting tomorrow with a hearing on Navy ship programs convened by the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower panel. The U.S. Government Accountability Office also is working on a review that may be published in June.

The LCS depends on mission modules that are supposed to be swapped out depending on the duty at hand. The GAO said last month that the Navy plans to purchase 30 of a planned 52 vessels by 2018, before the first fully combat-capable modules for surface warfare, counter-mine operations and anti-submarine patrols are ready.

The modules the Navy has accepted so far “do not yet meet requirements,” GAO said.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If we ever get a decent government we could give the Saudi’s the boot . 

” The Green River Formation, a largely vacant area of mostly federal land that covers the territory where Colorado, Utah and Wyoming come together, contains about as much recoverable oil as all the rest the world’s proven reserves combined, an auditor from the Government Accountability Office told Congress on Thursday.”

Yes , you read that correctly , ” as much recoverable oil as all the rest the world’s proven reserves combined “