On my FBN show this week (which re-airs tonight at 10pm) I interviewed Greg Kutz, the director of Government Accountability Office's Special Investigations unit, about fraud he discovered in the government’s Energy Star certification program. Kutz's team managed to get the EPA’s seal of approval on things like a space heater with a feather duster taped on, and a gas powered alarm clock .
Such exposes make the GAO my favorite government agency. This month, they discovered fraud in Head Start programs:
GAO attempted to register fictitious children as part of 15 undercover test scenarios at centers in six states and the District of Columbia. In 8 instances staff at these centers fraudulently misrepresented information, including disregarding part of the families’ income to register over-income children into under-income slots. The undercover tests revealed that 7 Head Start employees lied about applicants’ employment status or misrepresented their earnings.
A DHHS study from earlier this year found that the effects of Head Start wore off entirely by the first grade. So Head Start is both ineffective and ridden with fraud.
Over at BigGovernment.com, Robert Bluey of the Heritage Foundation wonders why the new GAO report hasn't gotten much press.
While the scandal drew coverage from the New York Times and Washington Post , those stories were buried on pages 18 and 17, respectively.
Arguably, the Head Start scandal deserved front-page headlines on newspapers across America last week. Outrage over ACORN centered on the group’s taxpayer funding. The total amount of federal funds that flowed to ACORN was about $53 million dating to 1994.
Head Start, a Great Society program created in 1965 for low-income children, received $9 billion — yes, billion — in appropriations and stimulus funding last year alone. Over the lifetime of the program, it has cost taxpayers more than $150 billion. [QUOTE ENDS]
The head start story is less sexy than the ACORN investigation by two young citizen journalists posing as a pimp and prostitute.
But it's still important.