Good afternoon folks - 

We both know that Washington’s reckless spending is spiraling out of control, and today, we are nearly $20 trillion in debt, meaning each Iowan shoulders more than $61,000 of that burden. Rather than using hard-earned dollars on an education, food, or agricultural needs, Iowans are forced to pay for Washington’s repeated reckless spending habits. 

That's why, every month, I identify areas of waste, abuse and inefficiencies and give out the Squeal Award, which recognizes a government expense, program or concept that has proven to be wasteful and must be cut.

Squeal Award: USAID Travel Expenses

Picture this – you’re boarding a plane headed to an exotic or historic destination, like Rome or Dubai. You settle into your roomy business or first-class seat and the best part is, you didn’t have to pay for any of this. Sound too good to be true? Not if you were a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) employee between at least 2012-2014.

You see, recently released documents show that USAID employees have been abusing the system, purchasing business or first-class tickets for years, racking up nearly $3.1 million in taxpayer dollars on extravagant plane travel between 2012 and 2014 and according to news reports, almost $19 million was spent from 2009 to 2013!

One employee even took a $15,000 business-class trip, when the same trip would have only cost $3,000 if the employee had flown coach. 

While there are some instances where first or business class travel is allowed, for example if the employee is disabled or if no coach seating is available, this audit found that 76 percent of the trips that were scrutinized failed to fall under the agency requirements for premium-class travel. 

This frivolous and irresponsible misuse of taxpayer dollars is simply unacceptable. 

It’s long-overdue that the USAID ground such deluxe travel accommodations at the taxpayer’s expense. I will continue to monitor this closely and hereby award this month’s Squeal Award to the United States Agency for International Development employee travel. 

Do you have an example of government waste or inefficiencies that I should take a look at? Send me an email by clicking here.

Thank you!