Politicians on both sides of the political spectrum gnash their teeth about fraud and waste in Lifeline Assistance, the free government cell phone program. However, we suspect that there will be considerably fewer complaints about money wasted on cell phones by government employees.
According to an Inspector General report issued last week, the Department of Energy wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on cell phones and other mobile data devices that were never used.
FreeBeacon.com said, “More than 3,600 of DOE mobile devices, including cell phones and air cards, used less than a third of their data plan allowances…”
But wait — the details get even worse. The report indicates that the DoE wasted more than $325,000 on 1,021 devices that used none — absolutely none — of the data paid for in fiscal year 2012.
“The problems we identified occurred, in part,” the report says, “because the department had not always developed and/or implemented effective policies and procedures to govern the issuance, use, and monitoring of mobile computing devices and services.”
Who’s to blame for this outrageous, flagrant waste of taxpayer dollars? The report points the finger of guilt at “officials at several [DOE] sites” who, and we paraphrase, inadequately monitored their employees data usage.
That’s what’s known as an understatement.
Turns out that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Inspector General report also revealed that Department of Energy also wasted money by reimbursing contractors for “more than the cost the government would have paid for a government-procured mobile device service plan.” The total overpayments amounted to more than $500,000.
“Without improvements, the report concluded, “the department may not realize costs savings of more than $2.3 million over the next 3 years at just the programs and sites reviewed.”
Here’s our takeaway from this report:
Politicians constantly threaten to defund Lifeline Assistance, the free government cell phone program designed to help low-income Americans, because of fraud and abuse. We would hope those same politicians take note of this report and demand immediate changes across the entire federal government structure. After all, the Inspector General’s report uncovers millions of dollars in waste in just one Department in the vast federal apparatus.
￼Imagine how many additional millions of dollars are wasted on unneeded, unused cell phones in every other department.
Fair is fair. Instead of putting the entire burden of cost cuts on the nation’s poor, let’s put an equal or greater burden on our own government.
Source: Free Beacon