Thursday

November 15th, 2018

Diversions

Government in Action

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Nov. 24, 2016

Government in Action


The Drug Enforcement Administration has schemed for several years to pay airline and Amtrak employees for tips on passengers who might be traveling with large sums of cash, so that the DEA can interview them -- with an eye toward seizing the cash under federal law if they merely "suspect" that the money is involved in illegal activity. A USA Today investigation, reported in August, revealed that the agency had seized $209 million in a decade, from 5,200 travelers who, even if no criminal charge results, almost never get all their money back (and, of 87 recent cash seizures, only two actually resulted in charges). One Amtrak employee was secretly paid $854,460 over a decade for snitching passenger information to the DEA. [USA Today, 8-11-2016, 1-7-2016]


Update: In August, the Defense Department's inspector general affirmed once again (following on 2013 disclosures) that the agency has little knowledge of where its money goes -- this time admitting that the Department of the Army had made $6.5 trillion in accounting "adjustments" that appeared simply to be made up out of thin air, just to get the books balanced for 2015. (In part, the problem was laid to 16,000 financial data files that simply disappeared with no trace.) "As a result," reported Fortune magazine, "there has been no way to know how the Defense Department -- far and away the biggest chunk of Congress's annual budget -- spends the public's money." [Fortune, 8-19-2016]


Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles