Presidential lapse: Feds spread $815 million in land grants without tracking results

Dept. of Interior IG report snip

Snip from IG report, Dept. of Interior, on federal land grants.

Budget hawks target forced entitlements like Medicare for cuts, and budget gluttons just want to print more money despite record debt levels for the US government. However, both sides of the congressional aisle, and also the executive branch headed by the president, have something in common—they lapse when it comes to tracking taxpayer dollars conferred on savvy profiteers.

Dept. Interior IG report cover

The Dept. of Interior IG report is posted online. Most Americans won’t bother to read it. Nor will media.

A new report from the Inspector General for the Dept. of the Interior is another in a long line of lapses. This particular executive branch lapse belongs to former president Barack Obama. I’m not surprised. He made it clear in his books graft and corruption were to be expected and that was fine by him as long as some of the money trickled down to the little people.

Americans are now being told the federal government in only two fiscal years doled out $815 million for land grants. Those grants presumably cover conservation projects or rights-of-way.

Once the money was handed over—likely, in a number of cases to political cronies—the government simply stopped tracking it. 

Therefore no one will be shocked the feds have no idea whether the money was used for legitimate purposes. To my knowledge, no media over the 8 years the Obama regime held the White House ever asked a single question about this particular money pot. In one case, as reported by The Daily Caller, the land covered by the grant contained a bar.

How bad is it?

The IG said:

“We found that in fiscal years 2014 and 2015 alone, these programs awarded 701 grants to purchase land valued at a total of about $815 million. We also found that the methods of tracking these purchases varied across programs, from bureau maintained databases to reliance on “institutional knowledge.” Finally, according to respondents, the majority of grantees were not reporting their land inventories to the awarding agencies, as required by 2 C.F.R. § 200.329. [and]

Unlike direct Federal acquisitions, land purchased using grant funds does not become Federal land; rather, the title is held by the grantee, who is also responsible for honoring the specific purpose of the grant, such as conservation or public access. The grantee is also typically responsible for selecting a real estate appraiser to determine the value of the property, which is then provided to the awarding agency as support for the value of the land.”

It will surprise no one that very often the land was overvalued.

This is one small piece of the looter puzzle. Federal programs, grants in particular, are handed out like candy, often to please supporters and activists. Meanwhile, Democrats demand tax hikes (and, as with the massive tax bill Obamacare/PPACA, get them) while the GOP natters about tax cuts (don’t hold your breath, middle class).

An oversight averaging more than $400 million a year is inexcusable. You won’t hear much about this just as you haven’t heard much about the others. After all, Russia is currently the politico and media sizzle topic, and it’s a perfect ruse for the DC cesspool to maintain the status quo.

The full IG report is online. Try this. Instead of turning on the evening gossip at supper time, try reading an actual report on just how sorry the government we fund with our hard earned dollars is.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/August 3, 2017)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.

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