The article called “Federal employees ask taxpayers to buy them personal items” posted on The Washington Examiner news portal by Sarah Westwood discusses the areas of expenditures of the federal employees and the prohibitions concerning the spending of taxpayer dollars. The Washington Examiner is a well known and respectable publication focused on a variety of political issues. It is important to mention that the article by Westwood was found in the section called Watchdog News. Watchdog is the team of the Washington Examiner investigators and researchers that is focused on revealing information about manipulative politicians, tricky bureaucrats, and various frauds.
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The article exposes the policies and prohibitions established by the Government Accountability Office for government employees. It turns out that the employees are strictly forbidden to spend the funds coming from the taxpayers on the items that are deemed unnecessary. This regulation resulted in a number of questions from the side of the government employees concerning the exact limitations of spending. The employees started to ask about particular cases and situations they come across. For example, some of them wondered if buying an umbrella or a raincoat during the rain, when an employee needs to rush to a meeting, would be viewed as a necessity (Westwood par. 12). Others asked if the taxpayer dollars could be used for watering a golf course or to pay for the spouses accompanying government employees on their business trips. Westwood notes that the Government Accountability Office said no to all of these questions (par. 14).
The author of the article also describes some of the purchases that were permitted. Even though the regulations enforced by the Government Accountability Office seem rather strict, some unique payments passed the control. For example, buying Christmas decorations was allowed, the only condition established by the GOA was that the purchased decorations were appropriately sensitive when it comes to the use of religious symbols (Westwood par. 15). The other allowed purchases were not as harmless. In the article, it is mentioned that the Government Accountability Office permitted the Interior Department to use its funds for construction to buy bullets and guns (Westwood par. 17). The weapons were used to get rid of woodpeckers destroying the power transmission lines. The most interesting of the purchases highlighted in the article was mentioned at the very end of it. The Department of Agriculture has secured permission to use taxpayer money to pay for a chartered bus transporting a group of female guests, “providing social and recreational services” (Westwood par. 21). The permission for this request was granted only because there was no specific statutory rule concerning expenses of this kind, even though paying for non-government personnel is generally prohibited.
The article posted on the Washington Examiner underlines that there is a series of very strict rules designed to limit the financial activity of the government employees involving taxpayer funds. This demonstrates the seriousness of anti-corruption policies in the United States of America. The government employees, their actions, and expenditures are carefully watched. At the same time, the article reveals that the Government Accountability Office that forbids the employees to buy umbrellas may, from time to time, allow them to purchase guns and bullets or pay for the bus carrying female entertainers using state funds coming from the taxes. This shows that statutory language can be twisted and manipulated by the properly educated and determined employees.
Westwood, Sarah. Federal employees ask taxpayers to buy them personal items. 2014. Web.