When it comes to the federal government, the drinks are on you.
Federal spending – mainly by the State Department – on liquor, wine and beer in the fourth year of the Obama administration was about $1.3 million, according to the Washington Times. That’s about four times as much as it was at the same point of the Bush presidency.
“You could say that Washington’s quite literally drunk on other people’s money,” Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, told the Times, which honored the booze binge on Thursday with its weekly Golden Hammer award for government waste.
“It’s very symbolic of the kind of problem we have in a whole host of government areas,” he said. “Obviously, the government operates in an environment with very few restraints. So unlike a business or a nonprofit, when they want to purchase for an event, they have to weigh it against expenses that people in government don’t.”
The Times story focused on spending by the Obama/Kerry State Department, since other booze bought by the government can go to military bases, where it’s just resold. That’s not what happens at embassy affairs, though. The State Department spent about $400,000 on alcohol in 2013.
And since the federal government doesn’t have to worry about things like expenses when it comes to diplomatic relations – say, like spending $1 million to send the first lady and her family on a vacation to China – the taps is open when it comes to spending on booze for diplomatic missions.
According to the Times, the State Department didn’t comment on its latest report, but issued a statement in 2010 saying booze is just part of job to carry out “its representational activities, including its diplomatic receptions, in as effective and as culturally appropriate a manner as possible.”
It’s interesting that that diplomatic tippling was four times more “culturally appropriate” in 2013 as it was in 2005, though.
Makes you wonder who the Obama/Kerry State Department is pouring drinks for.
If it’s vodka for Russians, it’s not working.
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