Before he became the first Cabinet member fired by President Donald Trump, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price went on a $2 billion spending spree during his final week in office.
According to a watchdog group, OpenTheBooks.com, Price’s department led the way in the annual Washington ritual known as “Use It Or Lose It.” During the final week of the fiscal year, when Oct. 1 approaches, federal agencies spend as much as they can of their remaining budget, knowing the leftovers will be wiped off their books within days.
Price’s penchant for extravagant transportation – he lost his job due to $400,000 spent on private charter flights in eight months – also played a role in the big bucks spent at the end Fiscal Year 2017. Open The Books found that HHS, for God knows what reason, made a $1.5 million purchase of a fleet of armored vehicles.
The overall $2 billion extravaganza put HHS atop the list of Top 10 big-spender departments from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1. Others high on the list were the Departments of Energy, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security.
In a piece written for Forbes by Open The Books CEO Adam Andrzejewski, the examples of questionable spending are numerous. If it sounds like the feds were spending like drunken sailors, well, that’s not far from the truth.
The State Department spent nearly $79,000 on booze for 10 American embassies including Nigeria ($4,288), Peru ($4,453), Denmark ($4,736), Belgium ($6,760), Zambia ($6,429), and Sri Lanka ($9,613).
In the final week of FY2017, the Department of Agriculture dished out $306,617 for guns from Glock, Inc., plus an array of ammunition. The Ag bureaucrats also bought a drone for about $17,000.
The Department of Veterans Affairs spent $15.6 million on new office furniture as other agencies spent millions on luxury furnishings.
The White House was also a part of this barrage as President Trump’s office alone spent $21.8 million, which is more than three times the $6 million former President Obama’s office spent to close out FY2016. Trump’s spending included $6.2 million in electrical hardware and supplies; $490,000 on tents and tarps; $489,517 on furniture; $10,612 on floor coverings; and $197,438 on newspapers and periodicals.