Politicians in general, Democrats and Republicans are known for excessive and unimportant spending. They say they are concerned for taxpayers and where their taxes are being spent, but their actions say otherwise. In the past, I’ve reported about government spending on things like studying snail sex and duck penises, now we are hearing about two government entities that are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on awards for their staff.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department criticized the U.S. Marshals Service for their excessive spending on ‘swag’, otherwise known as plaques, trophies and other items used as awards, on their staff. According to the DOJ lambasting, the US Marshals Service spent $793,118 on a variety of ‘swag’ between the years of 2005 to 2010. Among the ‘swag’ items, they spent $13,605 on Christmas ornaments bearing the US Marshals Service’s logo, $16,084 for blankets and throws, $36,596 on lapel pins and $115,081 on challenge coins.
The DOJ investigators reported:
“These expenditures were excessive and, in some instances, in contravention of Department Policies and Government Accountability Office decisions and guidance. Furthermore, IOD’s spending on promotional items increased by 975 percent during the 6-year period examined . . . and vastly outpaced the growth of the [U.S. Marshals Service] appropriation during the same period.”
Now ask yourself what is worse than a government agency whose spending is out of control? Would you agree that what’s worse is that the agency leveling the criticism against that agency is itself guilt of the very same thing?
The watchdog group known as Cause of Action, used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents that revealed that the DOJ is just as guilty as the US Marshals Service in their ‘swag’ spending. They discovered that the Annual Attorney General Awards Ceremony has spent over $410,000 on ‘swag’ for just three ceremonies from 2009 to 2011.
In 2009, the DOJ spent an average of $280 per award. But, there were 286 awards consisting of plaques, crystal eagle statuettes and desktop trophies. The total just for the 2009 awards was just over $80,000.
In 2010, the DOJ spent an average of $449 per award. This time, there were 357 awards, bringing the total for just the awards to $160,337.
In 2011, the DOJ spend an average of $450 per award, for 384 awards and total of $172,845.
For the three award ceremonies, the DOJ spent a total of $413,427. Add that to the nearly $800,000 of the US Marshals Service and you have $1.2 million of tax payer money being used for ‘swag’. And that’s just 2 government agencies. What are all of the other government departments and agencies spending for their ‘swags’?
I’ve been involved in purchasing ‘swag’ awards for a retail company and for a non-profit ministry and our costs per ‘swag’ ranged from $20 to $50, max and the number of recipients were also kept to a minimum. I know it’s nice to be recognized for a job well done, but since I’m one of the taxpayers paying for their awards, I am offended and outraged at how much our government is spending on these awards and believe that they can show their appreciation much cheaper than they are.