Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Tom Coburn

Social Security Disability Fraud Hides the Biggest Fraud of All

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 12, 2017:

English: Mug shot of Charles Ponzi (March 3, 1...

Mug shot of Charles Ponzi (March 3, 1882 – January 18, 1949).

The Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General reported in 2015 that nearly half of the nine million people receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance) benefits were being overpaid, running up $17 billion in excess disbursements over the previous 10 years.

Such overpayments were just the beginning of the story. On Monday, a former Kentucky attorney pleaded guilty to filing more than 1,700 false SSI disability claims in a scheme that netted him millions in fees that he lavishly dished out to his co-conspirators: a Social Security administrative law judge and a psychologist, among others. In his plea bargain, former attorney Eric Conn fingered Judge David Daugherty (whom he said birthed the scheme originally) and Dr. Alfred Adkins.

The fees that Conn collected ran into the millions, while Social Security dished out some $550 million in benefits to beneficiaries who willingly participated, some of them saying later that they didn’t really know what was happening but were happy to pay Conn $200 in cash under the table for his “advice” and assurance that their claims would be approved.

The setup was simple:

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Social Security Disability Fraudster Just Tip of the Iceberg

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 11, 2017: 

A former Kentucky attorney pleaded guilty on Monday to filing more than 1,700 fake disability applications under Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The complex scheme netted Eric Conn millions in kickbacks while costing SSI an estimated $550 million in phony benefits paid out to unsuspecting beneficiaries.

Conn’s plea bargain accused his co-conspirators, psychologist Alfred Adkins and Social Security Administrative Law Judge David Daugherty along with other unnamed individuals, of working with him in the scam. Conn claimed that the scheme was hatched originally by Daugherty.

The setup was simple:

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Final and Buried Reports Reveal Fantastic Government Waste

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 6, 2016:  

English: Official portrait of US Rep. James La...

Senator James Lankford

Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) issued his second annual Federal Fumbles study last week, totaling $247 billion in wasteful projects and nonsensical studies. When fellow Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn retired, the job of finding and then criticizing wasteful projects fell to Lankford.

He is up to the task:

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ObamaCare is Failing, Just as It was Designed to Do

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 12, 2016: 

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Barack Obama signing ObamaCare into law.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must be proud. The health insurers behind ObamaCare are losing money and some are considering leaving the monstrosity altogether. Many of the co-ops that sprang up during the rollout have closed their doors, despite receiving millions in government aid.

Harry knew exactly what he was going when he built it. In an interview at “Nevada Week in Review” in 2013, before the rollout, Reid said:

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Health Insurers Going Broke, Thanks to ObamaCare

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 10, 2016:  

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

Obama’s signature on ObamaCare bill.

The results for 2015 are in. The losses health insurers experienced following the rollout of the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, otherwise known as ObamaCare) in 2014 got even worse. Seventy percent of insurers lost money on individual health plans, according to McKinsey and Company, the global management consulting firm. And it isn’t likely to improve any in 2016.

On Wednesday Humana Inc. reported that

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Several Sources Highlight Federal Misspending After “Wastebook” Author Retires

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 2, 2015:  

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-OK).

Former Senator Tom Coburn

Before retiring from Congress as Oklahoma’s junior senator, Tom Coburn issued an invitation to others in office to take up where he left off in bringing to light outrageous federal boondoggles. As the editor of Wastebook, Coburn delighted in exposing preposterous examples of government waste, and using them to embarrass the various agencies responsible.

One of those taking up the cudgel is Oklahoma Senator James Langford, who just issued his first edition of Federal Fumbles,

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Latest Poll: Vast Majority Oppose Gas Tax Increase

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 17, 2014:

A new poll from Benson Strategy Group confirms not only that most Americans don’t want an increase in their gasoline taxes but that they’re afraid Congress will enact one anyway. Coming on the heels of Republicans joining with Democrats to pass a pork-laden CRomnibus bill earlier this week, the poll’s results show that two out of every three Americans don’t want to pay more at the pump. 

Those polled are likely also concerned that the recent precipitous drop in the price of gas will be seized by the Congress as an opportunity to raise the tax with minimal initial pain to drivers. 

An early attempt by a safe-district liberal Democrat from Oregon, Earl Blumenauer, a year ago to raise gas taxes by 15 cents a gallon failed to gain any traction, with just one co-sponsorship coming from a House member who knew he would be retiring this year. 

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$25 Billion Wasted last year, says Senator Coburn

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, October 24, 2014: 

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-OK).

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).

Entering his final year as Senator from Oklahoma, Dr. Tom Coburn just issued his “Wastebook” for 2014, listing 100 examples of government waste totaling more than $25 billion. They range from the ridiculous to the sublime, from the silly to the fraudulent. The fact that $25 billion is less than 7/10 of 1% of the total budget does little to mute the message or soften the impact of the ghastly, egregious projects at which the federal government is throwing heaps and gobs of taxpayer monies.

Faced with deadlines, journalists at the Washington Post, MSN.com, and GOPUSA.com were forced to pick and choose from this rancid buffet. The Post selected

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Sen. Coburn’s Final 2014 Wastebook Is Funny, Sad, and Outrageous

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, October 23, 2014:

Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn’s final edition of his “Wastebook” lists 100 ways that the federal government is wasting taxpayer dollars on wacky, useless, and exasperating projects. Coburn first served in the House of Representatives for three terms and then two more terms as Senator. Battling prostate cancer and keeping his pledge not to run for a third term, Coburn is retiring at the end of this year. He has rightfully earned the sobriquet from big spending Democrats as “Dr. No.”

Journalists across the political spectrum enjoyed selecting their own “favorite” projects to explore, decry, and ridicule. Josh Hicks at the Washington Post picked his favorite nine, including

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$100 Billion in Improper Welfare Payments Uncovered

News that the federal government spends $100 billion improperly caused barely a ripple in light of its enormous budget and the continuous flow of revelations of such waste and corruption that have provided journalists with full-time careers in tracking them down and writing about them.

$100 billion is less than 3 percent of the federal government’s annual budget and most observers are probably happy that it isn’t any worse than that. Two such journos at National Review uncovered

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Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn Releases His Annual “Wastebook”

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 20th, 2013:

In his press release announcing the publication of his annual “Wastebook” summarizing 100 examples of egregious, wasteful, and outrageous government spending, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn tried to make himself appear “holier than thou” by

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Senator Tom Coburn’s “Holier-than-Thou” release of his 2013 “Wastebook”

In Tuesday’s press release Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced the publication of his annual “Wastebook” which highlights Congress’ “most egregious spending” while at the same time distancing himself from the big spenders and earmarkers in Congress who provided fodder for his book:

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…

What’s lacking is the common sense and courage in Washington to make those choices – and passage of fiscally-responsible bills – possible.

Coburn then provided some teasers out of the 100 examples in his Wastebook:

The Popular Romance Project has received nearly $1 million from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) 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 military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of useable vehicles and other military equipment [in Afghanistan] … rather than sell it or ship it back home…

In January, 2013, Congress passed a bill to provide $60.4 billion for [victims of] Hurricane Sandy. However, instead of rushing aid to the people who need it most, state-level officials … spent [$65 million of it] on tourism-related TV ads…

Since NASA is no longer conducting space flights, they have plenty of time and money to fund … the “Green Ninja” in which a man dressed in a Green Ninja costume teaches children about global warming.

While promoting his book recently on CBS News, Coburn tried to distance himself from any responsibility for such “egregious spending” by asking rhetorically: “Where was the adult in the room when this was going on?” Interviewer Nancy Cordes then asked if any of his previous editions of Wastebook had made any impact or had reduced or eliminated any of the more outrageous examples of waste:

Cordes: Have you ever gotten any traction in Congress, where members say “We’re actually going to get rid of this?”

Coburn: No. They don’t pay attention to it. It’s hard work to get rid of junk, it’s hard work to do oversight, it’s hard word to hold agencies accountable. And so what they would rather do is look good at home, get re-elected, and continue to spend money, and that’s Republican and Democrat alike.

What Cordes failed to ask at that moment would have been the perfect follow-on question:

How does your effort, then, and your voting record, separate you from them? Doesn’t this Wastebook of yours cost a lot of taxpayer money? Isn’t this part of your attempt to look good at home while providing cover for your own votes for some of these projects? Isn’t this part of your attempt to continue to get reelected?

Unfortunately there is no record of Cordes asking, or of Coburn’s response. But in July 2007 when Coburn criticized pork-barrel spending by Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson that would benefit Nelson’s son’s employer with millions of dollars of taxpayer money, newspapers in both Nebraska and Oklahoma noted that Coburn himself failed to criticize similar earmarks that he voted for that benefited his own state of Oklahoma.

In May, 2012 Coburn voted for H.R. 2072, to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank with increased lending limits backed by taxpayer monies from $100 billion to $140 billion. According to analysts assessing his vote, the federal government has no constitutional authority to risk taxpayers’ money “to provide loans the private sector considers too risky to provide.” Those analysts added:

Indeed, U.S. government-backed export financing is a form of corporate welfare, and if the Ex-Im Bank goes bust (as happened to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the taxpayers will get stuck holding the bag.

Perhaps Coburn can be forgiven for not knowing that such wasteful spending is part of a plan to reduce America’s influence in the world, first clearly laid out when Coburn was just 10 years old, in 1958 in Indianapolis, Indiana. At a meeting in December, candy maker Robert Welch spoke for three days to some friends about the direction the country was headed, claiming it was part of a plan to “surrender American sovereignty, piece-by-piece and step-by-step, to various international organizations…”. Part one of that plan was:

Greatly expanded government spending for every conceivable means of getting rid of ever larger sums of American money as wastefully as possible.

Other parts included:

Higher and then much higher taxes…

An increasingly unbalanced budget despite the higher taxes…

Greatly increased socialistic controls over every operation of our economy and every activity of our daily lives. This is to be accompanied naturally and automatically by a correspondingly huge increase in the size of our bureaucracy and in both the cost and reach of our domestic government.

Coburn’s report illustrates the success of that plan to which he himself is contributing. The man has feet of clay. He not only is the author of Wastebook but a contributor to it as well.

 

 

 

 

 

President Obama Losing Support from His Own

As President Obama’s poll numbers continue to drop, even his most ardent supporters are getting weary, according to the New York Times. Unhappiness over the president’s position on issues like the National Security Agency’s surveillance policies, the “red line” controversy over Syria with its threatened military intervention and the

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Background Check Bill for Private Gun Sales is Stalled

The one-two punch of separate pushbacks against any gun control legislation that involves a national database of gun owners has stalled in the Senate, perhaps permanently. First, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn told Fox News on Sunday that any legislation that includes a national registry will kill it. He said that there

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Senator Coburn: “The DOD is the ‘Department of Everything'”

What Freedom Looks Like

(Photo credit: Roger Smith)

Following his office’s publishing of his annual “Wastebook” last month, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has now released another oversight report, this one exploring waste and “non-defense” spending in the Department of Defense (DOD), entitled the “Department of Everything.”

In his “Wastebook” Coburn concluded that “all the outrageous and wasteful contents of this report were made possible by either the action or lack of action of Congress, earning it the well-deserved but unwanted distinction as the biggest waste of taxpayer money in 2012.”  Right behind the Congress, however, is the Department of Defense, which has been spending taxpayer monies on projects, programs and plans not related to the DOD’s primary function: defending the republic.

Although he thinks potential savings could exceed $70 billion over the next ten years if all of his suggestions were implemented, he also says that his report has just skimmed the surface, and savings could be much larger. He stated:

I prepared this report because the American people expect the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget to go toward our nation’s defense.

That isn’t happening. Billions of defense dollars are being spent on programs and missions that have little or nothing to do with national security, or are already being performed by other government agencies. Spending more on grocery stores than guns doesn’t make any sense. And using defense dollars to run microbreweries, study Twitter slang, create beef jerky, or examine Star Trek does nothing to defend our nation.

These are actual programs he and his staff uncovered by asking three simple questions:

  1. Does the mission of this program or agency directly relate to the mission of the Department of Defense?
  2. Does another federal agency or government or private entity already provide the services provided by this program or agency?
  3. Could these resources be better targeted towards higher priority defense needs, such as taking care of troops on the front lines or reducing our $16 trillion national debt?

What he and his staff found was merely a smattering, a skimming, a “starting point for reviewing Pentagon spending that is unnecessary, wasteful or simply not related to defense.”  He calls this wasteful spending a “rising tide of the red [ink] menace.” Here is some of what they uncovered:

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Marching Towards the Fiscal Cliff

John Boehner - Caricature

John Boehner (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

This article from the Washington Times perfectly illustrates how Washington is going to deal with the “fiscal cliff,” which means that nothing much will happen to bend the trajectory away from inevitable bankruptcy.

First, the inevitable warnings from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) which focuses only on the immediate:

Even if all of the fiscal tightening was eliminated, the economy would remain below its potential and the unemployment rate would remain higher than usual for some time.

If the fiscal tightening was removed, and the policies that are currently in effect were kept in place indefinitely, a continued surge in federal debt during the rest of this decade and beyond would raise the risk of a fiscal crisis … and would eventually reduce the nation’s output and income below what would [otherwise] occur.

This certainly isn’t the galvanizing language that would motivate congress to do something significant about the real debt: the $222 trillion debt the government currently owes.

House Speaker Boehner is holding firm against tax increases, for the moment. While Obama is giving indications that he might soften a little about

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Senator Coburn’s 2012 Wastebook Names Biggest Waste: Congress

Dollars down the Drain

Dollars down the Drain (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

For each of the past three years, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has published his annual Wastebook, and each year the press has had a field day digging into the 200-page report to expose the most outrageous, wasteful, and annoying projects Congress is funding with taxpayer monies. In 2010, for instance, Coburn’s report noted that $200,000 went to research that studied why political candidates “make vague statements,” while his 2011 report exposed squandering of $700,000 to study cow burps, robot dragons, and “bridges to nowhere.”

Fox News considered these to be “highlights” in the 2012 edition:

  • Free cellphone service to 16.5 million Americans;
  • $325,000 to create a “Robosquirrel” to test the interaction between a fake squirrel and a real snake;
  • Pennies that cost two cents each to make; and
  • Waste in the food stamp program, including an exotic dancer who collected $1,000 a month in food stamps while earning $85,000 a year as a stripper (while writing off on her taxes “cosmetic enhancements” somehow related to her profession)

Stephen Dinan, in the Washington Times, couldn’t resist citing other “highlights” from Coburn’s report:

  • $1.5 million for a study on how to build a better computer gaming stick
  • $100,000 to send a comedy troupe on a tour of India, and
  • Nearly $1 million to see if a male fruit fly would be more attracted to an older female fruit fly than a younger one, or vice versa.

Coburn appears to be the right man for the job, as he seems to have steered clear of supporting any obvious “highlights” of his own. He is known in the Senate as 

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Senator Rand Paul’s Bill to Protect Citizens From Drone Surveillance

U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field

U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field (Photo credit: AN HONORABLE GERMAN)

When Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced his bill in June, he was responding to growing concerns over privacy by American citizens. The purpose of his bill is elegantly simple: “To protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles commonly called drones.” Paul’s bill is very specific:

[A] person or entity acting under the authority [of], or funded in whole or in part by, the Government of the United States shall not use a drone to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute or regulation except to the extent authorized in a warrant that satisfies the requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Paul explained that “Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics.”

One of those claiming to have had his rights infringed upon is Rodney Brossart of Lakota, North Dakota, who is “the first American citizen to be arrested with the help of a Predator surveillance drone,” according to USNews. Brossart’s troubles began in 2010 when six cows

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SSDI Recipients to Take 21-percent Cut

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of ...

In April the trustees of Social Security and Medicare announced that beneficiaries of those programs face a cut in their benefits of about 25 percent by 2033 if Congress does nothing. But buried in their report was their estimate that beneficiaries receiving disability benefits under Social Security, known as the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI), will see their checks reduced much sooner—by 21 percent within four years—because of burgeoning disability claims.

Pamela Villarreal, writing for the National Center for Policy Analysis, explained that a number of factors are behind the explosion in disability claims—nearly 1 million in just the last three years—including the broadening of the definition of “disability,” the expiration of unemployment benefits, the impact of the Great Recession on the jobs market, the lack of accountability by the Social Security Administration, malingering by the program’s recipients, and the unwillingness of Congress to

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Senator Tom Coburn’s Annual “Wastebook” Released

"Dr. Coburn and Senator Obama look over t...

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced his annual report, “2011 Wastebook,” noting, “This report details 100 of the countless unnecessary, duplicative, or just plain stupid projects spread throughout the federal government and paid for with your tax dollars this year.” He added, “Over the past 12 months, Washington politicians argued, debated and lamented about how to reign [sic] in the federal government’s out of control spending. All the while, Washington was on a shopping binge, spending money we do not have on things we do not need, like the $6.9 billion worth of examples provided in this report.”

Of the 100 projects covered, three are especially egregious, and reflect the “spend spend spend” mentality prevalent in the halls of Congress. “The Super Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska is one of two projected bridges which became notorious during the 2008 presidential campaign.

The Knik Arm Bridge is designed to connect residents in the southern part of the Matanuska/Susitna Valley, or “MatSu,” with Anchorage, which would save them an hour’s driving time each way. The bridge would be 2.7 miles long and cost between $650 and $700 million (some estimates are much  higher). The only problem is that there are very few residents living in MatSu, hence the bridge is named in Coburn’s report. Corburn complained, “At least $15.3 million was spent on the project this year alone. In total, more than $65 million in federal taxpayer money has been directed to various aspects of the project, including $57,390 for a 14-minute video, ‘The Knik Arm Crossing: Bridge to Our Future.’ ”

And $1 million of that money was spent just for staff salaries to promote the project. 

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.