Tom Colburn is both a Medical Doctor and a United States Senator from Oklahoma. He periodically releases reports on wasteful spending and/or earmarks by our Congress. His latest report is on wasteful earmarks for Higher Education. His report includes the following examples of waste through earmarks:
The report focuses on two federal programs, each intended to spur innovation of the American educational system, that have become slush funds for congressional pork projects: the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE). These two programs fund 97 percent of all education pork projects. Over the last decade, Washington politicians obtained 5,563 earmarks costing nearly $2.3 billion through these programs.
Wasteful and egregious trends and projects highlighted in the report include the following:
• This decade, federal lawmakers secured over $181 million from FIPSE and FIE in support of honorary programs named after themselves and other politicians.
• Jackson State University received a nearly $500,000 FIPSE earmark to establish a school of osteopathic medicine despite having no intention of establishing the school.
• The U.S. Department of Education granted an extension of authority for an FIE earmarked project despite the fact that funds were being embezzled by its earmark manager, who is now serving 63 months in prison.
• A $200,000 FIPSE earmark was given to La Sierra University in California for a comprehensive university branding initiative.
• Oklahoma State University received a nearly $900,000 FIPSE earmark for a project that allowed participants to role play as members of Congress as they debate the current year’s budget and learn to responsibly negotiate budget decisions.
• Politicians have provided $3.2 million in FIPSE earmarks this decade to help fund scholarship and loan repayment programs for aspiring lawyers at Rutgers.
• $4.3 million has gone to support Big Labor through the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland.
• A $200,000 FIPSE earmark went to Central Washington University for “curriculum development” – aka wine studies.
• In FY 2010, elected officials funneled a half million dollar FIE earmark to a private entity to develop an internet safety curriculum. Its cost was sufficient to prevent teacher layoffs in the school district where the private entity awarded the pork project was located. In fact, the earmark would have provided 65 percent of the district’s funding shortfall.
• Politicians provided the University of Hawaii – West Oahu a $200,000 FIPSE earmark to produce “Primal Quest,” a film documentary on some the most studied and photographed people in the world.
• A $25,000 FIE earmark went to Clark County School District in Las Vegas for mariachi music.
We must stop the earmarks!!
November is coming………………..