Friday, March 18, 2005

Lying to Congress

I work for the federal government. My program is in the middle of the PART (Program Assessment Rating Tool) that is part of Bush’s Management Agenda. It's basically a way for Bush to smack programs and cut their funding to continue paying for his wars and his tax cuts. For instance, questions include, "How have you worked to fix your management deficiencies." Most of them have this tone, "We know you suck and are wasting money; defend yourself." I happen to work for a very good program, and we wanted to do is show that we are very efficient in using our funds for program purposes. This involves buying and helping distribute vaccines to third world countries, mostly children.

Well, the records we have showed that we spent about $150M as a division in FY04. Somehow, the my agency's financial folks told Congress in our FY06 budget justification that we spent $138M. Whoops, where did the other $12M go? We know for a fact that we spent $150M, and we have the records to prove it. But the financial people say we can’t have a different number than the one already reported, and that the discrepancy has to do with new budget lines created for CDC’s restructuring. The ordered us to change our budget figures and basically LIE to Congress. We, of course, refused. Quite strongly. So now the agency is stripping out all of our budget figures to hide the fact that THEY lied to Congress about what we spent! My God, the culture of “stretching the truth” has seeped all the way down to Atlanta from DC. It’s not just for the White House and Pentagon anymore! It's shameful.

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