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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stimulus Investigations

Elected officials in both Houses of Congress are calling for investigations into how millions in stimulus dollars have been spent.
Sens. John McCain and Tom Coburn are singling out 100 examples of stimulus spending they call unnecessary and unlikely to create many jobs.

In a report released today, the two Republicans take aim at grants for the arts and academic research projects, spending to boost tourism and leisure facilities, and administration and advertising costs associated with the $787 billion stimulus package. Water taxis, “little-used” bridges and “low-priority” renovations to roads, buildings and airports also come under fire.

A research project to study young adults’ use of malt liquor and marijuana as well as a National Institutes of Health grant looking at the connection between female college students’ alcohol consumption and casual sex both score highly on McCain and Coburn’s list of dubious spending. …

The duo, who have railed against “wasteful spending” in recent years, put out their “stimulus checkup” shortly before President Barack Obama made a speech at the Brookings Institution outlining new job-creation proposals.

McCain, from Arizona, and Coburn, from Oklahoma, say the projects they’ve identified “raise questions about how stimulus money has been used so far.”
Four Republican lawmakers demanded an audit of President Obama's $787 billion stimulus program on Wednesday following reports of exaggerated or inaccurate accounts of the number of jobs created.

Reps. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, Jack Kingston of Georgia, Mark Souder of Indiana and Jeff Miller of Florida called for the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the effects of the stimulus bill.

"It's time for Congress to demand answers on behalf of the hardworking taxpayers that we represent," Wilson said. "The misnamed stimulus is one of the largest spending bills in our nation's history and it is critical that American taxpayers receive adequate answers as to the whereabouts of stimulus funds."

Wilson's bill would create a 10-member panel appointed by the president and congressional leaders that would determine how many jobs have been created and the effectiveness of measures taken to prevent improper payments. Then the commission would recommend what changes could be made to save or create more jobs and prevent mismanagement of the funds.

The call for an audit came as news broke that a public relations firm headed by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's former campaign strategist, received nearly $6 million in stimulus funds to save three jobs -- a report Penn's company called "fundamentally inaccurate."

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