Jeff Flake - U.S. Senator ~ Arizona

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Wastebook: The Farce Awakens

100 examples of egregious, outrageous and unnecessary government spending

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) today released Wastebook: The Farce Awakens, highlighting 100 examples of wasteful federal spending amounting to more than $100 billion. The findings in retired U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) series of waste reports included shrimp on a treadmill and mountain lions on a treadmill – now Flake is carrying on the tradition, including his discovery of a study with monkeys on a treadmill for the latest instalment of the Wastebook franchise.

“To see so much money so outlandishly wasted, it’s clear that Washington’s ballyhooing over budget austerity is a farce,” said Flake. “Hopefully, this report gives Congress – which only ever seems to agree when it comes to spending money – something to Chewie on before the taxpayers strike back.”

Highlights from Flake’s 2015 edition of Wastebook include (click links to view related footage):

  • $1 million for monkeys running in hamster balls on a treadmill
  • $5 million to “Help A Hipster” quit smoking by throwing parties at bars and nightclubs
  • $1.2 million to put sheep in microgravity
  • $2.1 million to promote tourism in Lebanon, a nation the State Department advises travels to avoid due to “ongoing safety and security concerns”
  • $17,500 to have people wear a fat suit for “weight sensitivity training”
  • $853,000 to teach minors the art of making wine
  • $707,000 for researchers to create a fight club for shrimp
  • $780,000 to study college students and pizza addiction
  • $276,000 to discover how unattractive people snag a more attractive date
  • $1.3 million to study how a koozie keeps your beer cold
  • $3 million for bus security grants that were paid, in part, to companies operating luxury charter buses and limousines, including a self-proclaimed “nightclub on wheels”
  • $104.4 million to subsidize low-income public housing for over-income families
  • $175,000 to develop a smartphone app that lets you know who caught the fish you are eating
  • $1.2 million grant partially used to fund a life-size Pac-Man game

The full report can be downloaded here.

Background: Wastebook marks Flake’s fourth oversight report in under a year. In November 2015, he joined U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to release Tackling Paid Patriotism, a report on their joint investigation taxpayer-funded payments by the Department of Defense to professional sports teams for patriotic displays honoring the U.S. military.

In June 2015, Flake responded to calls for a return to the practice of congressional earmarking by releasing Jurassic Pork, a report highlighting the continued cost of pork projects in the post-earmark-ban era.

In December 2014, Flake published the Science of Splurging, a report highlighting more than a dozen examples of wasteful and egregious spending by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Since June 2014, Flake has regularly released PorkChops, a series highlighting wasteful and egregious federal spending.

While serving in the House, Flake established the Egregious Earmark of the Week series, which ran from 2003 until 2010, after Congress enacted a self-imposed moratorium on congressional earmarks.