A Tale of Two Newspapers - And Three Politicians, Part 4

Obama's political friends live high on the public purse too.

The first article in this series pointed out that Mr. Obama desires that Joe Biden succeed him as President, but if and only if he agrees to have Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts, as his running mate.

Having explained why Mr. Obama regards Mr. Patrick as a worthy successor to continue his policies of extorting money from businesses and giving tax money to his friends, we discussed his overall failures of governance to explain why Mr. Obama can be confident that Mr. Patrick will carry on with his legacy of administrative incompetence and may even carry it to new heights.  This final article shows how the two are similar even at the personal level: Gov. Patrick has imitated Mr. Obama in wasting public money by living high on the public purse, and will likely continue that legacy as well.

Lavish Travel

Mr. Patrick's relationship with the Obamas goes back a long way, and he learned personal fleecing of the public purse at the feet of a master.  The Herald reported on July 16, 2015 that the Governor and his wife Diane took a number of  taxpayer-funded trips between 2011 and 2014:
  • $8,342 - flight to Colombia
  • $5,751 - flight to Dublin
  • $12,356 - flights to Denmark, France, and the UK
  • $16,797 - flight to Israel

That doesn't sound terribly expensive, except that it's only the tip of the iceberg because they took along a lot of cronies and donors on each trip.  Gov. Patrick secretly directed public agencies to divert $27 million into off-budget accounts that paid $1.35 million for various junkets which were supposed to persuade foreign companies to invest in Massachusetts.  These accounts also paid for high-priced tourism advertising to lure Americans to come visit Massachusetts.  To no one's surprise, the advertising contract went to a long-term Patrick crony.

Why did government agencies contribute to the Governor's off-budget slush fund?  "The (Patrick) administration asked us to," said Katie Hauser, speaking for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.  The Authority is an ongoing boondoggle which was set up to fund a convention center and hotel complex which was supposed to generate enough tourism dollars to pay off the bonds which were sold to build the center.  It's run in the red ever since it was founded, and putting $23.5 million into the Governor's slush fund didn't help.

The governor consistently under-reported his travel spending:

  • 2011 trip to Brazil and Chile was reported as costing $250,000, but actually cost $364,000
  • 2014 trip to Israel and the UAE was budgeted at $175,000, but actually cost $254,000
  • 2011 trip to Asia was reported at "only" $130,000, but really cost $202,000

We're told that the First Family's vacation travel has cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars given the size of their entourage, the places they stay, and the cost of government-supplied air travel.  While Gov. Patrick's junkets don't quite meet that lofty standard, he's done nearly as good a job of encouraging his underlings to waste taxpayer money as Mr. Obama has.

We remember newspaper reports of elaborate government-funded "conferences" where IRS employees and workers in other agencies spent lavishly in imitation of their boss.  Although Gov. Patrick's underlings haven't been able to match the federal bureaucrats in spending, it's not for lack of trying.

When the Boston public transit system shut down last winter, it turned out that the head of the agency had traveled to many out-of-state meetings and conventions which were supposedly concerned with how to run transit agencies.  Could it be that all that travel made her forget that running trains all night would blow the snow off the tracks?

She's something of a piker, though.  On September 15, 2015, the Herald discussed the travel expenses of Suzanne Bump, the state auditor:

Taxpayers have picked up the bill for $29,451 in Bump travel costs since January 2011, when she took office...

That just about matches the combined $30,000 travel expenses rung up by two attorneys general, two state treasurers, the secretary of state, and the inspector general during that same period, the review found.

Auditor Bump has attended 16 out-of-state conferences.  It seems that she has so little real work to do that she's spent as much travel money as 6 other state employees of comparable level in the hierarchy.  If she has that little to do, maybe her office should be abolished?  She certainly doesn't appear to be doing very much auditing, which given that it's Massachusetts, you'd think would be a full-time occupation for an entire firm of attorneys and accountants!

Protecting the Obama Legacy

But when it comes right down to it - why shouldn't Gov. Patrick waste millions on useless junkets to other countries?  Why shouldn't Gov. Patrick shower taxpayer money on his friends?  After all, the governmental purpose of the Massachusetts state government for lo these many years, and apparently of the Federal government these days too, is to provide lives of ease and comfort for government employees while offering top-level politicians a chance to get sufficiently well-connected as to afterwards get rich.

Why shouldn't any Democrat take advantage of such a sweet setup?  The major newspapers won't object in the slightest, and they can scream "Vast right-wing conspiracy" if anyone accuses them of theft or any other form of malfeasance.

The Washington Times reports that the Obama Administration has made dud "green energy" loans every bit as misguided as anything Gov. Patrick dreamed up: Taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2.2 billion in expected costs from the federal government's energy loan guarantee programs, according to a new audit that suggests - shock! - that the controversial projects may not pay for themselves as officials had promised.

Mr. Obama wasted trillions of dollars, rewarded his friends, and trashed our economy despite - or perhaps because of - never having held a responsible executive office before.  With two terms of experience behind him, just think how much more damage Gov. Patrick can do as President Biden's Dick Cheney!

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

Look you only have so much time to save up for retirement. As president only 4 to 8 years. After that it is only speaker's fees which will be paltry unless you wife is still in the administration and can do favors. Without that you only get beer money in your retirement - not near enough to keep all the girl friends happy. Besides all the miserable dirty things you had to do to get office and keep it, you deserve a great life in retirement. Why we only have 100 million stashed in over seas accounts. It is unbelievable how greedy others are and how little of that 10 billion we took from the State department came our way... If only Hillary hadn't blown all that money trying to get elected we would be much better off.
- William Clinton

October 6, 2015 10:38 PM
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