Anti-terror grants fight car thieves, economic downturn, the undead, report says
A grant program administered by the Department of Homeland Security has morphed from a fund designed to fight terror into a pork-barrel program that pads local governments’ budgets, according to a report to be released Wednesday by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.).
The report, titled “Safety at Any Price: Assessing the Impact of Homeland Security Spending in U.S. Cities,” focuses on Homeland Security’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).
“Since 2003, DHS has spent $35 billion on grant programs that were intended to make Americans safer from terrorist attacks,” a spokesman for Sen. Coburn wrote in an email. “But DHS failed to establish goals or metrics to ensure that funds were used to make Americans safe and cannot say how much safer we are today after spending $35 billion.”
The report says the UASI grant program has ballooned beyond its original intent and lacks the oversight and rigorous measurements needed to determine its effectiveness.
The report also points out numerous examples of wasteful and inappropriate spending by grant recipients.
One example of wasteful spending highlighted by the report is a security conference for which the grant money paid the $1,000 entrance fee.