Rep. Gosar Passes Amendment Supporting USDA Oversight
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steven D. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after his amendment to transfer funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Chief Financial Officer to the Department’s Office of Inspector General (IG) successfully passed the House by a voice vote. His amendment was attached to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act:
“My amendment is a very simple and common sense adjustment to current USDA appropriations. This amendment cut funds appropriated from the wasteful and inefficient Office of the Chief Financial Officer at USDA and redirected those resources to the Department’s Office of Inspector General to meet the budget request. This measure will ensure the IG has the resources to crack down on the widespread waste, fraud, and abuse within USDA.
“It seems only fitting that the Inspector General’s office receive adequate resources, particularly at the expense of the office it will likely need to investigate first.
“In April of this year, the Inspector General reported that the USDA Chief Financial Officer failed to comply with the Improper Payments Information Act for the third year in a row. The CFO would have saved more than $415 million by simply following federal law and ensuring certain programs met their spending reduction goals. Instead, the CFO continued to turn a blind eye, and the Inspector General reported that last year alone USDA made $6.2 billion in improper payments.
“As a dentist, I would describe the current oversight policies at the Office of the Chief Financial Officer as toothless. The Chief Financial Officer must be held accountable for not doing his job.”
According to the IG’s report in Fiscal Year 2013:
· USDA paid more than $50 million to special interest groups to promote Christmas.
· USDA’s Chief Financial Officer authorized a loan to a well-established brewing company for more than $450,000.
· USDA spent $20 million on IT software that did not work.
· On the Chief Financial Officer’s watch, $403,627 was wasted last year on a study to see if we can turn cow manure into electricity.
· Over 100 people received loan guarantees of $500,000 or more to buy a home in Hawaii. This “Hawaii beach front property” loan program, lost nearly $500 million last year according to the Office of Inspector General.
In addition to these wasteful expenditures, an August 2012 Inspector General report found that USDA spent over $2 million on a program which was only being used by one full-time intern. Also, more than $3 million was spent on IT that was never even used.