Democrat Senator Landrieu Illegally Charged Taxpayers For 43 Private Flights

Landrieu Internal Review Reveals 43 Trips Inappropriately Funded – The Hill

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Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) found that over $33,700 in campaign flights were inappropriately charged to her official account in an internal review of her finances released Friday.

The report is sure to draw added scrutiny to her use of charter planes just as her main opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), is set to introduce a resolution meant to highlight such spending, which he calls a “waste of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars.”

The review, which was released four days after her self-imposed deadline of Sept. 8, found that the senator took 43 trips, which amounted to 136 campaign functions, that were paid for by funds meant for official business only. Eleven percent of the total amount Landrieu’s office paid for chartered flights should have been paid out of her campaign funds, the review found.

Landrieu’s office said she fully reimbursed the Treasury with campaign funds and has notified the Senate Ethics Committee of the errors. She also said in a statement that she’s implemented a new bookkeeping system to prevent similar errors from happening again.

“The review I ordered last month found these mistakes stemming from sloppy book keeping. I take full responsibility. They should have never happened, and I apologize for this,” Landrieu said. “A new system has been established that has been successfully used by a number of senate offices to provide a safeguard from this happening in the future.”

Landrieu ordered the internal review after it was reported that she inappropriately used $3,200 in official funds to pay for a flight to and from a campaign event in November. That report sparked criticism from Republicans, and inspired an attack ad that claimed Landrieu “lives like a movie star.”

The release of Landrieu’s internal review again prompted Republicans to hammer Landrieu on the issue.

“With 43 illegal flights and more than 100 campaign events, this was clearly policy of her office to use taxpayer means whenever possible to attend events,” said Louisiana Republican Party Executive Director Jason Dore. “Mary’s staff has changed. The donors have changed. The one thing that has been constant is this is Mary Landrieu’s office. She’s the one responsible for this practice going on in her office.”

Cassidy’s bill would require members of Congress to report any funds used to pay for private chartered planes to the Ethics Committee or the Committee on House Administration within 30 days of the flight.

“Taking charter planes unnecessarily is a waste of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars. It makes no sense to fly on a $3,000 private jet if you can get to the same location in a few hours’ drive time and a $50 tank of gas,” he said in a statement obtained by The Hill. “Washington’s spending is out of control and this is one of the reasons why. Ensuring that Washington is transparent and tax dollars are spent wisely is a priority.”

Cassidy’s office said constituents had expressed alarm at Landrieu’s use of chartered planes, which had partially inspired the resolution.

Landrieu remains one of Democrats’ most vulnerable senators, and the most recent poll showed a tight race, with Cassidy leading Landrieu by two points. Many expect the three-way primary fight, between Cassidy, Landrieu and Tea Party-backed Rob Maness, to head to a runoff this fall.

Polling shows a tight race.

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U.S. Taxpayers Paid $2.4M To Develop Origami Condoms

Taxpayers Paid $2.4 Million To Develop ‘Origami’ Condoms – Washington Free Beacon

Taxpayers have paid more than $2.4 million to develop “origami condoms,” including male and female versions, and the “first of its kind anal condom.”

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Out to “reinvent the condom,” Los Angeles businessman Danny Resnic has completed the first rounds of testing for three variations based on Japanese folding paper, courtesy of the National Institutes of Health.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development initially spent $212,162 for a feasibility study on Resnic’s “new condom” in 2006. The idea was a non-rolled, silicone-based condom that “increases pleasure” and is more effective at preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

The issue is important to Resnic who said a broken condom in the 1990s changed his life.

“We all know that latex condoms don’t feel great. They break, they slip, and they interfere with intimacy,” Resnic said, sporting green neon shoes and sitting next to an outdoor fireplace for a promotional video on his website.

“From my perspective, the latex condom, designed in 1918, just got it wrong,” he said. “In 1993 I had a life-changing incident, a broken condom and an HIV diagnosis. This drastically changed my view about condoms.”

“Like many people, I don’t love condoms for the obvious reasons,” Resnic continued. “Do you know anyone who does? What if there was something new and radical that you loved using instead of latex condoms?”

Resnic says he has done just that, creating a design that gives the feeling of “sex without a condom: the real deal.”

Perfecting his condoms would not be possible without the U.S. taxpayers. “Generous research and development funding” provided by the NIH supported Resnic’s company’s research and development and four Phase I clinical trials. Since 2006, he has received $2,466,482 to test the three variations.

The NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases then began funding Resnic’s clinical trials in 2009, providing two grants worth $1,130,670 to design and test the Origami RAI condom for “receptive anal intercourse.”

The “feasibility and acceptability study” tested the anal condom, which is “worn internally by a receptive male or female partner,” on 24 couples.

The condom is intended to “provide better sensation and less breakage” and to “increase the acceptability of condoms among those who practice anal intercourse and are at risk of HIV / STIs.”

“Unlike the off-label use of the rolled latex male condom, the [origami anal condom] OAC creates direct tactile contact for the penis inside the internally lubricated condom,” the company said. “The Top partner does not need to wear a condom, creating an experience closer to ‘sex without a condom.’”

“You can walk around and do most any activity with the condom pre-inserted,” Resnic said.

The anal condom is expected to hit the market in late 2015. It is undergoing further clinical trials.

Additionally, Resnic received $591,950 to test his “Origami female condom” on 40 heterosexual couples.

The female condom’s design provides “maximum protection against breakage, slippage, and viral permeability.” It features a “unique patented reservoir designed to minimize semen backflow,” the grant said. A video demonstration is provided on Resnic’s website.

Finally, the initial study for the “Origami male condom” cost $531,700, beginning in 2011. The male and female versions, which can “accommodate a range of penis sizes,” are also expected to reach the market in 2015.

“I am grateful for the support from the epidemiology research community and the NIH, without whom these innovations would not be possible,” Resnic said on his website.

Resnic’s version of the male condom has received praise for its original design, being the first non-rolled, “accordion-folded” condom.

“We re-invented the condom,” a promotional video on the Origami condom website said. The video will be used on social media to market the products, since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) restricts their advertising on television and radio.

Set to electronic dance music and neon colors, the 30-second promo begins with a song:

We’ve realized that people are still having sex
They’ve been told not to
Perhaps they are perplexed

When you see them holding hands
They’re making future plans to engage in the activity
Do you understand me?

People are still having sex
Lust keeps on lurking
Nothing makes them stop

“We did not anticipate the marketing challenge with FCC restrictions on media placement for the condom ads on TV and radio,” Resnic said. “The FCC will not allow a condom to be shown on TV, and radio messages have language restrictions. This makes it really difficult to market a product that cannot be seen or discussed.”

Resnic, who studied design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., said the “strategic” promo works around the FCC rules. “Origami condoms won’t go viral, but our promo should,” he said.

The Origami condom has been praised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is also providing millions in research for new condom designs. The billionaire and Microsoft founder is a strong proponent for increasing contraceptive use in developing countries in response to “population growth.”

Resnic also sees his products as being used around the world.

“In the long term we believe we can make a sustainable and measurable difference to reduce incidence of HIV and unplanned pregnancies on a global scale,” he said.

Requests for comment from NIH were not returned.

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Feds To Sell GM Shares By Year’s End… And Screw Taxpayers Out Of $10 Billion

The Government’s Getting Out Of GM, But It’ll Cost Taxpayers – ChicoER

The U.S. government Thursday said it plans to sell the last of its stake in General Motors by the end of the year, ending a financial crisis era bailout that ultimately couldn’t help save Detroit from bankruptcy.

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The Treasury Department still owns GM shares equal to less than 2 percent of the company, but said in a statement that it intends to sell them by the end of the year.

The government received 912 million shares in exchange for a $49.5 billion bailout during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. So far it has recovered $38.4 billion of the money, but selling the remaining shares at Wednesday’s $37.69 closing price gets the government $1.17 billion, leaving taxpayers short by roughly $10 billion.

GM shares would need to rise to $95.51 each, more than double Thursday’s price , for taxpayers to break even on the bailout.

The government says the bailout was needed five years ago to save the American auto industry and more than a million jobs. It never expected to get all of the money back.

“Had we not acted to support the automotive industry, the cost to the country would have been substantial – in terms of lost jobs, lost tax revenue, reduced economic production and other consequences,” Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Tim Bowler said in the statement.

Taxpayers’ initially got a 61 percent stake in GM in exchange for the bailout. Treasury gradually has sold off its stake since a November 2010 initial public offering.

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U.S. Taxpayers Spend $355,825 To Reduce Stigmatization Of India’s Transgenders

U.S. Taxpayers Spend $355,825 To Reduce Stigmatization Of India’s Transgenders – CNS

The federal government is spending $355,825 in taxpayer dollars to develop a “culturally relevant stigma-reducing intervention” program for the transgender population in India.

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Bindiya Rana, right, a transgender candidate in Pakistan’s elections, talks with locals in Karachi, Pakistan

The National Institutes of Health issued a two-phase grant to the Ohio-based Baldwin-Wallace College to conduct the study. The first phase cost $173,221. The second phase cost $182,604.

The reason given for the study is “HIV prevalence is disproportionately high among Male-to-female transgenders (Hijra) in India.”

“Stigma among health care providers limits HIV testing, treatment and care and creates a barrier to HIV protective behavior,” the project summary says. “Stigmatization of transgender by healthcare providers has been documented, and is identified as a significant barrier to effective HIV prevention responses among this marginalized, at-risk population in India. However, evidence based interventions to reduce stigma and discrimination among health care providers are seriously lacking.”

The title of the study is “Project Shakti: Stigma Reduction, Health Care Provider Awareness and Knowledge.”

CNSNews.com asked an NIH spokesperson several questions, including, “Since this study focuses on India, what is the benefit to the U.S.? Why is it worthwhile to U.S. taxpayers?”

In a written response, the NIH told CNSNews.com only, “NIH research addresses the full spectrum of human health across all populations of Americans. Behavioral research will continue to be an important area of research supported by NIH.”

The NIH referred back to the project summary for any other comment.

The funding for the project ends in August.

“The proposed project will address this need by developing a theory-based, culturally relevant stigma-reducing intervention targeting health care providers in Mumbai, India,” the NIH project summary says. “The proposed multidisciplinary US-India collaborative research team with significant HIV/AIDS research experience will implement a two-year formative study to develop and pilot health-care provider-focused stigma reducing intervention.”

The project summary continues, “The study has three specific aims: 1) Document cause and manifestation of stigma among health care providers in Mumbai; 2) Use the information to design a provider-focused intervention module, and obtain community feedback; 3) Pilot the revised intervention module among 50 healthcare providers, and assess its feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effect on health service behavior among healthcare providers. These data will prepare the team to conduct a large scale randomized controlled trial in India.”

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Taxpayers Funding 35 Six-Figure Union Chiefs At Transportation Department

Taxpayers Funding 35 Six-Figure Union Chiefs At Transportation Department – Washington Examiner

Thirty five federal employees with the U.S. Department of Transportation are being paid tax-funded salaries averaging more than $135,000 annually, but they don’t do work for the public. They work full-time for unions.

The 35 and their salary data were obtained by a conservative political activist group, Americans for Limited Government, which submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the DOT. A total of $4.8 million was paid by the government for the full-time salaries of the union officials.

“It is obscene that in one department alone, taxpayers are being stuck with almost $5 million in public employee union salary costs,” said Bill Wilson, ALG’s president. “These unions collect member dues and should pay for their own employees.”

Twenty one of the 35 are officials of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, with eight of the 21 being paid in excess of $170,000, according to ALG.

The lowest salary paid among the 35 was an official with the National Federation of Federal Employees who is paid $80,748.

Federal employee unions, led by the largest, the American Federation of Government Employees, aren’t able to negotiate compensation, but they are allowed by federal law to bargain on virtually all other working conditions throughout the federal government. Federal law also requires that departments and agencies continue to pay the salaries of career employees who work on “official time” performing union duties.

For more from ALG, go here.

Official time expenses are tracked government-wide by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. In its most recent report, OPM said the Department of Transportation paid more than $15.4 million in such costs in 2010, compared to $12.5 million in 2009.

The OPM report estimated that government-wide costs for official time exceeded $137 million, an increase of 6.42 percent over the preceding year.

“We estimate each agency’s official time wage costs by multiplying the reported official time hours by each agency’s average bargaining unit employee hourly wage plus fringe benefits,” OPM said in its report.

“This increase reflects, in part, the increased number of bargaining unit employees and the corresponding increase in official time usage government-wide. Official time costs represented less than two tenths of one percent of the total civilian personnel budget (salary and benefits) for federal civil service bargaining unit employees,” OPM said.

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Full-Blown Leftist Insanity: San Francisco Taxpayers Now Forced To Fund Sex Change Operations

Gender Spenders: San Francisco To Foot Bill For Sex Changes – Fox News

In the midst of cash-strapped Californians approving new taxes to prevent further cuts in essential state services, San Francisco health officials appear to have found the money to fund what they say is a much-needed service to residents living in the City by the Bay:

Sex changes.

The gender-switching surgeries are part of a comprehensive program for treating transgender people that the city’s Health Commission green-lighted on Tuesday and announced two days later. Backers say it will help ease the mental anguish of people who feel they are trapped in bodies of the wrong gender, but critics wonder why the taxpayers should foot the bill.

“Taxpayers cannot afford this, as there are unintended costs and unintended consequences unrelated to the actual surgery, such as their longer-term hormone treatment, psychology needs and other longer term health issues,” said Thomas Moyer, a City by the Bay resident and author of “A Conservative Survival Guide to San Francisco.”

Under Mayor Ed Lee, the city’s current budget topped $7 billion for the first time in history this year. In addition to the local tax burden, residents have seen their cash-strapped state slash an array of services.

The idea of taxpayer-funded sex change operations came out of talks between public health officials and transgender rights advocates who wanted mastectomies, genital reconstructions and other surgeries covered under San Francisco’s universal health care program. City

Public Health Director Barbara Garcia said the program could be in operation late next year, once her department has studied how many people it would serve, how much it would cost and who would perform the surgeries.

Transgender advocates hailed the vote.

“All Americans, in consultation with their doctors, should be able to receive the medical care they need to live healthy lives,” said Kristina Wertz, program director for the San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center. “That’s why we applaud San Francisco’s decision to allow transgender people the ability to receive the medical care they need to be healthy.”

But Moyer said people should pay for their own sex changes, and public money would be better spent elsewhere.

“This surgery is not an essential health function, especially when it would be taking money away from those suffering from chronic illnesses like cancer, Aids, and heart disease,” Moyer said. “We are already stretched too thin as San Francisco is facing a budget deficit and won’t be able to afford the costs of this.”

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Taxpayers Spent $1.4 Billion On Obama Family Last Year, Perks Questioned In New Book

Taxpayers Spent $1.4 Billion On Obama Family Last Year, Perks Questioned In New Book – Daily Caller

Taxpayers spent $1.4 billion dollars on everything from staffing, housing, flying and entertaining President Obama and his family last year, according to the author of a new book on taxpayer-funded presidential perks.

In comparison, British taxpayers spent just $57.8 million on the royal family.

Author Robert Keith Gray writes in “Presidential Perks Gone Royal” that Obama isn’t the only president to have taken advantage of the expensive trappings of his office. But the amount of money spent on the first family, he argues, has risen tremendously under the Obama administration and needs to be reined in.

Gray told The Daily Caller that the $1.4 billion spent on the Obama family last year is the “total cost of the presidency,” factoring the cost of the “biggest staff in history at the highest wages ever,” a 50 percent increase in the numbers of appointed czars and an Air Force One “running with the frequency of a scheduled air line.”

“The most concerning thing, I think, is the use of taxpayer funds to actually abet his re-election,” Gray, who worked in the Eisenhower administration and for other Republican presidents, said in an interview with TheDC on Wednesday.

“The press has been so slow in picking up on this extraordinary increase in the president’s expenses,” Gray told TheDC.

Specifically, Gray said taxpayer dollars are subsidizing Obama’s re-election effort when he uses Air Force One to jet across the country campaigning.

When the trip is deemed political, it’s customary for the president to pay the equivalent of a first class commercial ticket for certain passengers. But Gray says that hardly covers the taxpayer cost of flying the president and his staffers around on Air Force One.

“When the United States’ billion-dollar air armada is being used politically, is it fair to taxpayers that we only be reimbursed by the president’s campaign committee for the value of one first-class commercial ticket for each passenger who is deemed aboard ‘for political purposes?’” Gray asks in the book.

“And is that bargain-price advantage fair to those opposing an incumbent president?”

In the book, Gray admits Americans want their president to be safe and comfortable but argues the system should be reformed to stop the amount of unquestioned perks given to the president.

“There is no mechanism for anyone’s objection if a president were to pay his chief of staff $5,000,000 a year,” he told TheDC. “And nothing but a president’s conscience can dissuade him from buying his own reelection with use of some public money.”

Aside from a salary, the president gets a $50,000 a year expense account, a $100,000 travel account, $19,000 entertainment budget and an additional million for “unanticipated needs,” he notes.

Here is a sample of other pricey taxpayer funded perks exclusively reserved for the president:

The president can to appoint high-paid staffers without Senate confirmation: Obama has 469 senior staffers and 226 are paid more than $100,000 a year, according to the book. Seventy-seven are paid as much as $172,000 per year. He also has appointed 43 “czars.”

The president can vacation for free at Camp David: Gray writes that each round trip made to Camp David costs the taxpayers $25,350. It’s also estimated that the combined transportation and personnel costs for a Camp David visit are $295,000 per night.

The president has a full-time movie projectionist in the White House theater: Projectionists sleep at the White House and are there 24 hours a day in case anyone needs to see a movie. “Compared to the 450 times President Carter used the movie theater in his four years in the White House, the average American citizen, according to industry statistics, goes out to see a movie slightly less than five times a year,” Gray writes.

The president’s family’s gets certain travel and security expenses paid while vacationing: “First Lady Michelle Obama drew flack from the media and irate citizens when it was disclosed that, not counting Saturdays and Sundays, she spent 42 days on vacation – within the span of one year.”

The president’s dog gets its own high-paid staffer: “Bo made the news when he and his handler were flown to join the president on vacation in Maine,” Gray wrote about the Obama family dog. “It has been reported that the first family’s dog handler was paid $102,000, last year.”

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