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Feds spent $13.5 million on vehicles it doesn’t know it needs

Published in Blog on July 17, 2017 by Convention Of States Project

The federal government spent $13.5 million on cars and SUVs it has no idea whether it needs, according to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office.

The report found that government workers also billed taxpayers $2.5 million for vehicle upgrades such as heated seats and video entertainment systems.

The watchdog group found that the government spent $1.6 billion to purchase over 64,000 new vehicles between 2011 and 2015, at an average cost of $25,600. The majority of purchases were made by five agencies, the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Justice, and Interior.

The GAO found that some agencies are failing to keep track of whether vehicles are used. For instance, the Customs and Border Protection agency could not determine if 81 percent of its vehicles were used in 2015. Over 1,800 CBP vehicles were driven less than 12,000 miles that year, the minimum mileage required by Homeland Security to justify purchasing a vehicle.

By contrast, the Navy was able to account for all of its 3,652 vehicles reviewed in the GAO report.

The GAO concluded that between just two agencies, the CBP and Natural Resources Conservation Service within the Agriculture Department, the government spent $13.5 million on depreciation and maintenance costs for vehicles that neither agency could say were used.

"Federal agencies spent about $3.4 billion in fiscal year 2015 to keep and operate almost 450,000 federally owned vehicles," the GAO said. "Each federal agency is responsible for determining utilization criteria and assessing vehicle utilization."

"While these costs may not equal the cost savings agencies derive from eliminating underutilized vehicles, without corrective action, agencies are incurring expenses to retain vehicles without determining if they are utilized," the GAO said.

Federal agencies also billed taxpayers for questionable upgrades for cars and trucks.

Click here to read more from the Washington Free Beacon.

Want to help end government waste? Then we need to force Congress to keep track of taxpayer dollars more closely. Click here to learn how a Convention of States can propose constitutional amendments that require Congress to get its finances in order.


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