Research on 'Zombie' Games and Romance Novels Makes Annual 'Wastebook'

Sue Ogrocki/AP file photo

One hundred federal projects were given the annual booby prize for waste on Tuesday in the annual roundup of “egregious spending” compiled by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

The senator’s “Wastebook 2013” shines a light on “wasteful and low-priority spending” totaling almost $30 billion, he said in a release.

“While politicians in Washington spent much of 2013 complaining about sequestration’s impact on domestic programs and our national defense, we still managed to provide benefits to the Fort Hood shooter, study romance novels, help the State Department buy Facebook fans and even help NASA study Congress,” Coburn said. “Had Congress, in particular, been focused on doing its job of setting priorities and cutting the kind of wasteful spending outlined in this report, we could have avoided both a government shutdown and a flawed budget deal that was designed to avert a shutdown.

Examples of the projects deemed frivolous include:

  • The National Endowment for the Humanities’ $914,000 in grants since 2010 to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs and Internet fan fiction;”
  • The Defense Department’s “Mass Destruction of Weapons,” in which the military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of useable vehicles and other military equipment overseas, worth $7 billion;
  • The Army’s justice code, which has allowed Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan to continue collecting military benefits of $278,000 and rising, pending a verdict in his trial;
  • Health and Human Services Department spending of at least $379 million to promote the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which Coburn called “an insurance plan few want and a Website that doesn’t work;”
  • The National Institutes of Health’s $325,525 study to “find out wives should calm down” when they’re angry at their husbands;
  • NASA’s $3 million study on “how Congress works;”
  • The National Science Foundation’s $150,000 grant to a North Carolina company to “develop a math learning game based on the zombie apocalypse.”
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.