Tax Dollars at Play: Recent Chart-Topping Hits of Fraud and Abuse

The case of the carousing Army general is simply the latest story of government spending shenanigans.

By Dustin Siggins Published on October 6, 2016

On Thursday, a report issued by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense slammed a former senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for using a government credit card on sexual escapades, alcohol abuse and other illegal actions.

According to the report, Army Major General Ronald Lewis illegally spent nearly three thousand of the taxpayers’ dollars. According to Politico, Carter had this to say:

At the Pentagon, Carter said he was briefed on findings from the investigation, but “will defer any further comment on the report pending the Army’s review.”

“As I said when I first learned about allegations of misconduct against Maj. Gen. Lewis and removed him as my senior military assistant, I expect the highest possible standards of conduct from the men and women in this department particularly from those serving in the most senior positions,” Carter said in a statement. “There is no exception.”

While Lewis’ actions are an obvious violation of the public trust, his three thousand dollars in taxpayer abuse is small potatoes compared to other ways the public loses out to corrupt government officials and corrupt civilians abusing the system.

Here are a few recent examples:

Baby boomers are expected to need more in-home care as they age, but federal investigators are now raising an alarm over what they call persistent fraud and abuse in Medicaid-funded personal care services. Investigators from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General are once again criticizing Medicaid for not cracking down in this area, saying the government needs better regulations to prevent patient neglect and fraud cases. Estimates of questionable billing since 2012 total more than $600 million, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.

  • Sin City Spending Spree The 2012 escapades of the General Services Administration cost taxpayers over $800,000 on parties and other spending in Las Vegas.
  • Booty Calls With Taxpayer Booty Senator David Vitter (R-LA) used a government phone to chat with a prostitute. That use of taxpayer dollars was a major reason he lost his race for governor last year.
  • Forget His Phone and Pen, How About His Golf Clubs and Swimming Trunks? President Obama was pressed by reporters in 2012 when he appeared to combine official trips and campaign trips. The former may be paid for by taxpayers; the latter must be privately funded. Then there’s the Obama Family Vacation Fund, known as the U.S. Treasury. Investor’s Business Daily estimates that their R&R has cost us over $70 million.
  • “Federal Fumbles” Finally — in keeping with his predecessor, retired Senator Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican James Lankford published a “Federal Fumbles” report that highlighted 100 ways taxpayer money was wasted by the federal government. One example was the use of six million dollars “to repair a building that remains unsafe.”

This is a quick and dirty list of outrageous offenses, and hardly the most expensive ones. Health care spending by the Feds is rife with abuse, as is the Pentagon’s budget. And over $100 billion is lost to “improper payments” each year, even as big corporations snag tens of billions each year through legal handouts from Congress.

The next time someone says we need to raise taxes, just point out that we’re funding sexcapades, swindles, booze and billion-dollar boondoggles. Stopping that comes long before taking more of your hard-earned money.

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