Wrongful Spending Hits Record Levels, & More From CRS

12.12.16 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The government mistakenly disbursed more than $137 billion in Fiscal Year 2015, the highest annual level of wrongful spending ever reported, the Congressional Research Service noted last week. Over $1 trillion in improper payments have been made by government agencies since 2004.

Improper payments “are payments made in an incorrect amount, payments that should not have been made at all, or payments made to an ineligible recipient or for an ineligible purpose,” CRS said.

Congress has enacted legislation to improve reporting and recovery of improper payments, but implementation “has been uneven across the government.” See Improper Payments Legislation: Key Provisions, Implementation, and Selected Proposals in the 114th Congress, December 7, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

The U.S. Income Distribution: Trends and Issues, December 8, 2016

Has the U.S. Government Ever “Defaulted”?, December 8, 2016

Federal Citations to the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, updated December 6, 2016

EPA’s Mid-Term Evaluation of Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards, CRS Insight, December 6, 2016

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions, December 6, 2016

Terrorist Material Support: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B, updated December 8, 2016

Smith v. Obama: A Servicemember’s Legal Challenge to the Campaign Against the Islamic State, CRS Legal Sidebar, December 7, 2016

Democratic Republic of Congo: Targeted Sanctions, CRS Insight, December 8, 2016

The Trump-Tsai Call and the United States’ “Unofficial” Relationship with Taiwan, CRS Insight, December 8, 2016

Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer, updated December 6, 2016

At the end of a House Oversight Committee hearing on “overclassification” last week (just after the 2:04:00 mark), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) observed that the Federation of American Scientists publishes “bootleg” copies of CRS reports on the FAS website– and he thanked us for it.

“On a weekend I go to your website to find out what the Congressional Research Service has prepared,” he said. “How ridiculous is that?”