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GAO: So About That $114B Due In From Student Loans...

Watchdog report: Education Dept. is instead set to lose about $197B, partly due to COVID relief

(Newser) - The Department of Education had been banking on getting its hands on $114 billion or so in income due from federal student loans issued over the past quarter-century. Instead, a watchdog has delivered some bad news: It's actually set to lose $197 billion, in part due to the suspension...

Government Watchdog: Yes, Trump Violated the Law

As the impeachment trial starts, another big piece of information

(Newser) - The Senate may not yet have decided whether to convict President Trump, but as the POTUS' impeachment trial begins , a congressional watchdog has determined his administration did indeed break the law. The Government Accountability Office, which is nonpartisan and reports to Congress, says the White House's freeze on military...

Audit: 'Nearly All' of DOD's New Weapons Systems Are Vulnerable

GAO analysis finds rampant cybersecurity issues at the Pentagon

(Newser) - A new report out of the Government Accountability Office says the Department of Defense is "just beginning to grapple" with vulnerabilities in most of its new weapons systems. The upshot of the 50-page GAO analysis , per NPR : that, based on five years' worth of tests, "nearly all" of...

Scott Pruitt's $43K Phone Booth Broke the Law

Because the EPA didn't notify Congress, a government watchdog finds

(Newser) - It may be a fresh week for Scott Pruitt , but it's not one void of uncomfortable headlines. ABC News reports a government watchdog has determined the EPA "violated section 710” of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act when it spent $43,000 on a "secure"...

Government Workers Told: Bring Your Own Paper Plates

Workers should bring own dishes, cutlery to work: GAO

(Newser) - Federal workers need to provide their own dishes and cutlery at work, according to the Government Accountability Office. National Weather Service employees have been feuding with the Commerce Department, arguing federal agencies should foot the bill for dishware, since 2013 when Commerce said it could no longer provide "disposable...

TSA's $1B SPOT Program as Effective as Flipping a Coin

Screening 'the same as or slightly better than chance'

(Newser) - Nearly $1 billion spent on a TSA behavioral screening program may have been better spent in Vegas. Started in 2007 at a cost of $200 million a year, the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program trains officers to scan crowded airports for suspicious-looking people. There's just one...

Watchdog: Airport Errors Soaring

Runway 'incursions,' planes flying too close on the rise

(Newser) - The number of reported air traffic controller errors has jumped, along with the number of unauthorized planes, people, or vehicles on runways, according to a government report released yesterday. Incidents of planes flying too close to one another have nearly doubled in the last three years due to controller mistakes...

Homeland Security Blowing $300M on Sketchy Scanners

Department skipped a mandatory test on ASP device, GAO complains

(Newser) - Homeland Security plans to buy 400 new radiation detection machines, even though it’s skipped its own internal requirements to test them first, the Government Accountability Office complained in a report today. These Advanced Spectroscopic Portal machines have a checkered past, the Washington Post reports: In January, the National Academy...

Tax Cheats Raked in Federal Stimulus Bucks

Thousands of businesses owing tax bills collected $24B

(Newser) - Thousands of US companies that raked in federal stimulus money are tax cheats who owe the government millions. At least 3,700 government contractors and nonprofit organizations that received more than $24 billion in stimulus funds owed $757 million in back taxes while they were collecting their booty, according to...

Sleazy Middlemen Stiff Homeowners Trying to Refi
 Sleazy Middlemen 
 Stiff Homeowners 
 Trying to Refi 
mortgage meltdown

Sleazy Middlemen Stiff Homeowners Trying to Refi

Foot-dragging 'mortgage servicers' step into role of fox in henhouse

(Newser) - The federal mortgage modification program is mired in trouble, with just 12% of the 3 million eligible loans in the process of modification, the "servicers" that helped create the problem tasked with helping to untangle it, and the Treasury Department falling down on the oversight job. In one...

GAO Slams Feds for Plan to Build Disease Lab in Tornado Alley

(Newser) - A Homeland Security plan to build a $700 million lab handling highly infectious animal diseases in Kansas' 'Tornado Alley' probably isn't the best idea it's had, the Washington Post reports. A withering report from the Government Accountability Office found that the DHS based its decision on a flawed, hastily done...

Grave Lack of Security at Fed Buildings: GAO

Agents snuck in bomb parts, assembled them in restrooms

(Newser) - A covert investigation shows the nation’s federal buildings are woefully under-protected from potential terrorist attacks, CNN reports. Undercover agents were able to sneak bomb components through security into each of the 10 federal buildings—occupied by the Homeland Security, Justice, and State departments—they tested, assemble explosive devices in...

Iraq Has $79B Budget Surplus
 Iraq Has $79B Budget Surplus 

Iraq Has $79B Budget Surplus

GAO says Bagdad sitting on a lot of money, raising complaints from US senators

(Newser) - The Iraqi government could end this year with as much as a $79 billion cumulative budget surplus, based largely on ever-increasing oil revenues, US congressional auditors say. A report by the Government Accountability Office made public today prompted renewed calls from senators that Baghdad pay more of the bill for...

GAO Backs Boeing's Protest of $40B-Deal

Officials want Air Force to re-examine contract that went to competitor

(Newser) - Congressional investigators today seconded Boeing's protest of the US Air Force's decision to award a lucrative tanker contract to a competitor and its European partner, the Seattle Times reports. The Government Accountability Office said it found "a number of significant errors that could have affected the outcome of what...

TV Switch Will Catch Some Off-Guard, No Matter What

70M sets could be affected in digital move; half of owners won't know what to do

(Newser) - Roughly half of Americans who still own analog TVs aren’t ready for February's switch to digital broadcasting, a government report concludes. Consumers are confused about what to do, and will go dark if they fail to buy a converter box, buy a digital TV or sign up for satellite...

McCain Sucked Into Boeing Battle
McCain Sucked
Into Boeing Battle

McCain Sucked Into Boeing Battle

Campaign boss lobbied against Boeing for European Airbus

(Newser) - John McCain is being dragged into the feud between Boeing and the Air Force, reports AP. A firm headed by McCain's campaign finance chairman, Tom Loeffler, was paid $220,000 to lobby on behalf of the Airbus, the successful European rival to Boeing's 767 fuel tanker. McCain had helped block...

Report Warns of Runway Dangers at US Airports

Leadership void, bad equipment, overworked staff make tarmac treacherous

(Newser) - Lax federal oversight and overworked air-traffic controllers contribute to a "high risk" of a major runway collision at US airports, a new report warns. The GAO report cited 370 incidents on runways this year, near a dismal FAA record six years ago that set stricter oversight in motion, the...

'Antiquated' VA Ill Equipped to Care for Vets

Bush pledges massive overhaul, which requires major funding

(Newser) - Some 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are eligible for VA benefits, and overhauling the overburdened system is firmly in the sights of  President Bush and a bipartisan commission. Citing "fundamental system weaknesses," a GAO report last week outlined a huge bureaucracy rife with staffing and training shortfalls,...

Iraqis 'Fail to Meet Benchmarks'
Iraqis 'Fail to Meet Benchmarks'

Iraqis 'Fail to Meet Benchmarks'

Congressional auditors say most key goals unfulfilled

(Newser) - The Iraqi government has failed to meet most of the key political and military goals—the so called benchmarks—designed to measure the success of the US troop surge, congressional auditors say. An investigation by the Government Accountability Office has concluded that 13 of the 18 benchmarks remain unmet as...

GAO Warns of Decline & Fall .... of America

US problems are the same that destroyed Roman Empire, chief declares

(Newser) - America's dire state resembles that of the Rome just before its fall, the head of the General Accountability Office has warned in a grim new report. "Declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military, and fiscal irresponsibility," could lead to disaster here at...

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