Stimulus Money Being Spent On Casinos, Zoos, Golf Courses And Swimming Pools
And that kind of spending is actually against not only the law as defined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act but also an executive memorandum sent out by President Obama himself.
Section 1604 of the ARRA reads explicitly:
None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used by any State or local government, or any private entity, for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool.
And a March 20th, 2009 memo sent out by the Obama administration reads, in part:
Funds under the Recovery Act shall not be committed, obligated, or expended by any executive department or agency, and shall not be used by any State or local governmental or private grantee or awardee, to support projects of the type described in section 1604 of Division A of the Recovery Act, which states that “[n]one of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used by any State or local government, or any private entity, for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool.”
But according to a letter sent by Rep. Darrell Issa to Earl Devaney, Chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, the stimulus money has gone to fund projects that represent every single example listed in section 1604 and Obama’s memo as being projects that weren’t supposed to be funded.
Casino: In February 2009, AARA funds were provided to students “at Fortune Bay Resort & Casino to get hands on experience in various departments within the resort and casino at our Career Expo Day.”
Aquarium: In July 2009, AARA funds were awarded to Northwestern University for scientific research on fish. Part of the funding was used for “novel outreach projects (that) will expose the broader public to the results of research, including an art installation concerning the electric fields emitted by these fish and proposed enhancements to the electric fish displays of the Shedd Aquarium.”
Zoo: In September of 2009, $25 million in ARRA funds were awarded to the Smithsonian for projects including the “completion of various projects at the National Zoo.”
Golf Course: AARA funds were awarded to the Forest Hills Golf Course through a U.S. Department of Education grant to the Oregon Department of Education. The award funds a program that allows students in Oregon’s Forest Grove school district to use Forest Hills to learn to golf as part of the physical education curriculum.
Swimming Pool: In July 2009, AARA funds were awarded to Northwestern University to provide “salary an wage compensation for individuals directly involved in AARA-funded projects” including “Pool Lifeguard.”
Not only is the stimulus a complete failure as an economic rescue, the Democrats can’t even seem to follow their own rules in applying it. Or manage the bill from an accountability and transparency perspective.
Either that or maybe they just didn’t know these prohibitions were in the bill they voted for. After all, it’s not like they read it.Tags: Barack Obama, darrell issa, Economy, jobs, Stimulus