CAGW Names Gary Locke and Robert Groves February’s Porkers of the Month

CAGW Names Gary Locke and Robert Groves February’s Porkers of the Month

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Census Director Robert Groves as CAGW’s February Porkers of the Month. As the deadlines for the constitutionally mandated decennial head count rapidly approach, audits and news reports have revealed that the process is at risk for significant cost overruns, mismanagement, and wasteful spending.

The $2.5 million 30-second “Snapshot of America” Super Bowl Census Bureau ad was rated as one of the three worst ads, and the ongoing media campaign continues to confuse TV viewers and outrage taxpayers. The ads are just the latest, and most high profile, missteps of Census officials. The Bureau must deliver a full count of the population to the President by December 31, 2010. The count is critical to both the allocation of federal resources over the next decade and the integrity of the nation’s electoral process, since it will form the basis of future congressional redistricting activities. The entire process is expected to cost taxpayers more than $14 billion.

A February 16, 2010 Commerce Department Inspector General (IG) audit concluded that the effort is plagued with software and information technology glitches and abusive spending practices. On March 5, 2008, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) designated the 2010 Census as a high-risk program, at risk for significant waste, fraud, and abuse. Unfortunately for taxpayers, the GAO has been proven correct.

Secretary Locke and Director Groves have failed to oversee and control the Census. The Bureau spent $1 billion to develop a handheld device to be used by Census workers as they go door-to-door to cull data from households which fail to return their paper questionnaires (expected to be about one-third of the 130 million households receiving the forms next month by mail). The handheld computer failed spectacularly, the program was halted, and the aborted process delayed the development of a back-up paper-processing system. The February 16, 2010 IG audit reveals that a key software component of that paper-processing system is also riddled with deficiencies.

The audit also reviewed the performance of the 140,000 temporary census workers who went block by block in the fall of 2009 to update the Bureau’s maps and found that costs had ballooned by $88 million, or 25 percent, over the original estimate of $356 million. The bureau spent $3 million on more than 10,000 census workers who pocketed $300 each to show up for training sessions, but were either fired or quit before they performed any work. Another 5,000 workers worked for a day or less but were still paid $300.

For their numerous official miscalculations, absurd ads, and chronic mishandling of the nations’ head count, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Census Director Robert Groves win the dubious title of CAGW’s February Porkers of the Month.

Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

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For more information, contact: Leslie K. Paige
202-467-5334
media@cagw.org

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