No excuse for waste in Census

Published 10:52 am Thursday, February 18, 2010

Millions of dollars wasted.

That’s the findings of an audit into U.S. Census preparations set to be released soon by federal investigators. In figures released by the Associated Press, auditors cite some staggering examples of government waste at its most excessive:

More than 10,000 census employees paid more than $300 each to attend training sessions which they never attended. The employees quit or were let go before completing any work. Cost, $3 million.

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Another 5,000 employees paid $300 for the same training, working a single day or less. Cost, $1.5 million.

Twenty-three temporary census workers were paid 55 cents per mile reimbursement even though the number of miles they reported driving per hour exceeded the total number of hours they actually worked.

Another 581 employees spent the majority of their time driving instead of conducting field work and received full mileage reimbursements, which auditors found questionable.

And, of course congressional leaders have questioned the effectiveness of the $2.5 million advertising campaign that ran during the Super Bowl.

All together, that’s more than $7 million in questionable or wasteful spending by our government … and the census has yet to get under way.

In a time when most Americans are tightening their belts and managing their spending wisely, watching our government waste more of our hard-earned tax dollars while amassing trillions of dollars of debt is like a slap in the face to the taxpayers and voters who fund the Census.

Yes, we agree the Census is important, and it’s a massive undertaking. But that doesn’t give the government an excuse for misappropriating and wasting money while conducting the Census.