Senator Coburn Releases Report Exposing Unspent Federal Money

Friday, June 8th 2012, 8:00 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is on another spending crusade. This time, he says he's found billions of dollars that could pay down the nation's debt - or be returned to taxpayers.

Instead, it's being held - essentially forever - for projects that may never happen.

Senator Tom Coburn calls it "Money for Nothing."

The new report from his office finds big bucks - hiding in forgotten federal bank accounts.

Read Money For Nothing.

For example, back in 2005, Congress earmarked your tax money to build a futuristic magnetic levitation train across the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas.

Too many technical issues forced supporters abandoned the project. The train may never be built, and the $45-million set aside for project could sit unused forever.

In 2010, Congress set aside tax money to help 30,000 unemployed families avoid foreclosure. But the program ended with $568 million leftover.

TARP money allocated back in 2008 to help homeowners fight foreclosure is still sitting around four years later: $34.6 billion of it.

One in four American bridges is dangerously deficient or obsolete. Yet, $13 billion in federal funds earmarked by Congress for highway projects sits unspent.

Or there's the $2.7 million still leftover in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bank account - money that, by law, can only be spent "on an event that ended more than 15 years ago.

Coburn says no one has the guts to give the money back to the American people - or to use it to pay down America's growing debt.

"Well, I can write a bill that would get all of that money back. The question is it would never get to the floor. They don't want to fight the political battle of saying ‘He gaveth and he taketh away.' They don't want the negative press," Senator Tom Coburn said.

A Democratic Senator from Virginia, Mark Warner - is pushing a law this week on Capitol Hill, to develop a way for Congress to know what money's being spent, and what's still sitting around.