By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

Between 1980 and 1981, the National Institute of Education, then a part of the Department of Education, turned a blind eye to how a $900,000 contract — worth $3.1 million in 2022 dollars — was spent. Their lax oversight resulted in the money being blown on buying a disco and promoting a rock concert, among other things.

Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, awarded the National Institute of Education his Golden Fleece Award for their reckless disregard for taxpayers’ money.

The funds were supposed to pay consultants to organize national conferences for educators.

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The consultants’ job was to set up meetings, reimburse travel costs, pay honoraria, and handle other administrative tasks, Proxmire said. They were supposed to submit their bills to the National Institute for Education for approval and reimbursement. Sadly, lax oversight and controls led to abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Auditors found that the consulting firm used government funds to give $100,000 in personal loans to three of its executives, which were never paid back.

Among other waste and abuse, the firm used government funds to support other businesses that the firm owned. These unrelated businesses used the government funding to cover administrative expenses while it promoted a rock concert, purchased a disco, speculated on real estate, opened mining operations in Greece, and sold airplanes in Bangladesh, according to Proxmire.

One would think that if the agency had seen where this money was going, it wouldn’t have paid the consulting firm. Unfortunately, those tasked with monitoring the receipts and making reimbursements didn’t investigate where the money was going. They only wrote checks.

Syndicated with permission from Real Clear Wire.

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