Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s latest target of potential taxpayer waste is the federal government’s fleet of 642,000 automobiles. A General Services Administration report says operating cars and trucks for federal agencies cost taxpayers nearly 3.5 billion dollars last year.
Grassley says getting unused or underused vehicles off the federal fleet could save million of dollars. "I suppose cars sitting around depreciate like everything else and if they aren’t being used, that’s a waste of taxpayer’s money just as much as if they’re being misused in some way," the Republican said.
Audits show some departments paid drivers for top officials as much as 90,000 dollars a year. Grassley says auditing federal agencies isn’t the answer. "In some cases, you wonder whether or not they have a financial management system at all in some departments…at the very least, they’re inadequate." Grassley said. "Audits are for after the facts…I thing financial control means that you don’t buy cars you don’t need in the first place."
Grassley complains of what he calls "kingdom building" at federal agencies, where officials believe they yield more power if they have a large fleet of vehicles.