Home News Wasteful government spending: bomb-sniffing elephants and race car sponsorships

Wasteful government spending: bomb-sniffing elephants and race car sponsorships

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Ranger rides an elephant during a demonstration of the art of "bio-detection", to see if it can be used to sniff out explosives, at the Adventures with Elephants game ranch, in Mabula
A ranger rides an elephant during a demonstration of the art of “bio-detection”, to see if it can be used to sniff out explosives, at the Adventures with Elephants game ranch, in Mabula, northwest of Johannesburg, February 20, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

A newly released report on wasteful government spending revealed $1.1 billion in “questionable Washington spending habits” and $294 billion in spending that was not properly authorized by lawmakers.

According to The Washington Times, Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the report titled “America’s Most Wasted” to raise awareness of government funding going to wasteful programs, especially when agencies are complaining about having to tighten their belts under sequestration caps.

Of the several instances pointed out in the report, the Defense Department discovered that the National Guard had spent $45 million in 2014 on NASCAR sponsorships.  “At the same time that the Guard was running out of money to meet its primary mission and pay its current soldiers, it spent millions of taxpayer dollars on sponsorship and advertising deals with professional sports leagues to support its recruiting activities,” the report said. 

Sen. McCain wrote in the report, “Washington’s repeat fiscal offenses are leading us down a dangerous path, sending hard-earned American tax dollars to mismanaged and wasteful programs.”

One such program highlighted was a $50,000 grant the military gave to an elephant facility in South Africa to research whether or not bomb-sniffing elephants could replace dogs on the battlefield.  Elephants possess a keen sense of smell, but despite that the report noted that they were most likely not the best means of protecting troops against land mines.

“While finding new ways to enhance our bomb detection methods is important, it is unlikely that African elephants could feasibly be used on the battlefield given their large size and sensitive status as ‘threatened,’” the report said.

The Washington Times reported that another discovery of wasteful spending involved the Social Security Administration, who was found to have overpaid more than $225 million to over 106,000 children who were not qualified for benefits.

A sum of $300 million was paid to 260 government programs that were no longer supposed to receive tax dollars and were no longer authorized by Congress to receive the money.

“With billions of dollars mistakenly going out the door, it’s no wonder we’re facing a national debt crisis,” the report said.

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