Gov't Watchdog Finds Wasteful Spending

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American tax dollars are paying for some surprisingly wasteful government projects, according to one watchdog group.

Just as last-minute tax filers rush to complete their returns, taxpayers wait on delayed refunds and the federal deficit grows, Citizens Against Government Waste has published a list of wasteful government initiatives sapping funds from the federal budget.

In addition to being somewhat vague, descriptions of some of the pork-barrel spending get pretty strange, notes the CAGW, which calls itself a non-partisan watchdog group, but has been considered “the fiercely combative anti-pork lobby.”

For instance, more than $4.8 million has been set aside for “wood utilization research,” according to the CAGW Pig Book.

The wood research funds were requested by 13 senators and 10 representatives, according to the CAGW report, to promote the production of better wood composites and reinforced wood and to help convert wood into new fuels. Interestingly, at the same time, $1 million has been set aside for the Seattle-Tacoma Regional Urban Forestry Restoration Project.

Another odd expenditure? Wool research in Montana, Texas and Wyoming was allotted $206,000, CAGW reported. The extra wool research funds come after a 5% decline in U.S. production of wool between 2007 and 2008, CAGW says.

Overall, “CAGW uncovered 81 earmarks worth $6.5 billion that were funded in circumvention of Congress’s own transparency rules,” the group said. Among them were 35 anonymous earmarks in the 2010 Defense Appropriations Act worth $6 billion.

In what appears to be one of the more self-serving uses of government funds, $1 million has been allocated to a private events venue and catering hall in Washington, D.C. called the Sewall-Belmont House, which also solicits donations from tourists visiting the Capitol Hill attraction, CAGW says.

To see a list of some of the worst pork-barrel spending offenders, visit cagw.org.

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