WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) named the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as the latest recipient of his Golden Fleece Award for failing to account for an estimated 34.3 percent of laptops purchased between 2013 and 2017.
“DOT has earned my Golden Fleece this month not only for losing nearly $3 million in taxpayer-purchased equipment, but also for ignoring the standards to prevent this kind of loss in the first place,” said Congressman Hill. “As recipients of hard-earned taxpayer dollars, our federal agencies should hold themselves to the highest standards of oversight and accountability for tracking inventory. There are many infrastructure projects in central Arkansas that could have put the taxpayer dollars lost by DOT to better use.”
In a letter to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao, Congressman Hill wrote:
Dear Secretary Chao:
I write today to inform you that your agency is the most recent recipient of my Golden Fleece Award. I am awarding the Golden Fleece to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) because it could not account for an estimated 34.3 percent of laptops purchased between 2013 and 2017.
According to a recent DOT Office of Inspector General (OIG) report DOT purchased 5,448 laptops between n FY 2013 to 2017 at a cost of approximately $8.6 million. Further, the OIG report states, "[the OIG] estimate[s] that DOT could not account for 1,870 or 34.3 percent of the 5,448 laptops in the universe. This represents $2.9 million in funds that could have been put to better use (33.8 percent of the $8.6 million in the universe)." Our government agencies must ensure proper controls are in place so equipment purchased with taxpayer funds does not go unaccounted for.
When our nation is more than $23 trillion in debt, our federal agencies must be good stewards of taxpayers' dollars. Should you require any additional authority from Congress to address these concerns, I urge you to notify us as soon as possible. I thank you for your consideration and look forward to working with you to address this important issue.
Member of Congress
About the Golden Fleece Award
Every year, Congress appropriates trillions of dollars to fund the federal government, and every year the federal government wastes portions of these funds in unconscionable ways. In an attempt to increase accountability for every single government program, Congressman Hill decided to bring back the Golden Fleece Award.
Originally introduced by Democratic U.S. Senator from Wisconsin William Proxmire in March 1975, the Golden Fleece Award was a monthly bulletin on the most frivolous and wasteful uses of hardworking taxpayers’ dollars. The Golden Fleece Award became a staple in the U.S. Senate during this time, and Senator Robert Byrd once stated that the awards were “as much a part of the Senate as quorum calls and filibusters.”
In reviving this idea, the Golden Fleece Award will again have the opportunity to serve as an important reminder to taxpayers about the need for necessary, commonsense reforms to our federal spending.