GovWatch: Report says Air Force overspending by billions

The U.S. Air Force plans to spend $8.8 billion on possibly unnecessary attack drones, according to an inspector general’s report last week that claims the military didn’t properly assess how many MQ-9 Reaper aircraft it really needed before budgeting $76.8 billion to buy 401 of them.

The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General recommends further study of how many drones the Air Force needs. A review started in August, the report says.

Coincidentally, the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense also last week released a report criticizing the Department of Defense for spending another $8 billion on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which has gone over budget on research and development by $39.1 billion.

In calling for an end to the costly F-35 production, Taxpayers for Common Sense points out other things that cost the U.S. government $8 billion or less:

  • The Army Reserve
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Military construction and family housing
  • The National Science Foundation

Contractor paid $200 per hour sues for $10M

A management consultant who was at the center of a Department of Labor Office of Inspector General investigation in 2011 is suing the federal government for $10 million because he says that report has damaged his reputation and made it difficult for him to work.

Stewart Liff, who admits in the suit filed July 10 that he was paid between $150 and $200 per hour while working for various government agencies, claims his “professional life and reputation have been savaged” by the investigation.

The report from 2011 dealt with the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, which at the time was headed by Liff’s former colleague Raymond Jefferson.

It accused Jefferson of violating contract procurement rules in order to hire Liff. Jefferson resigned after the report was released.

The Washington Post reported that Liff was paid approximately $700,000 over a 16-month period for human resources and management consulting services, including recommending the proper color scheme for VETS offices.

“Liff was grossly mischaracterized by the DOL-OIG report, made out essentially to be an overpaid, fraudulent contractor who had bilked the taxpayers for highly questionable services,” the complaint says.

Liff is suing for compensatory damages of $10 million because he says he’s been shut out of government contract work and is forced to “stay afloat on occasional, temporary private sector projects.”

Real housewives of federal prison

In a plot twist to the reality show “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” two of the show’s stars were sentenced to prison last week for tax evasion and a long-running financial fraud conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Teresa Giudice, 42, and her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, 44, were sentenced to 15 months and 41 months in prison, respectively.

Federal authorities say they fraudulently obtained mortgages and other loans by falsely over-reporting their income from September 2001 through September 2008. In July 2005, for example, they got a $361,250 mortgage with a loan application that said Teresa was a REALTOR who made $15,000 a month when, in fact, she was unemployed.

When they did make money from the television show, which premiered in May 2009, they hid their income from a bankruptcy court. Guiseppe also didn’t file tax returns on $996,459 in income he received from 2004 through 2008.

“Reality hit home today for Giuseppe and Teresa Giudice,” said IRS special agent Jonathan D. Larsen. “They are now both convicted felons with prison sentences to serve. Choosing lies over the truth when dealing with the IRS, banks, and the bankruptcy court will not be tolerated.”

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