And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine…
A Fistful of Dollars
A Friday full of tax dollars -- going to waste.
Let's start in Tennessee -- where the state has applied for a trademark for a new logo.
The red square with the state's abbreviation is simple -- and yet -- expensive.
A marketing company was paid $46,000 for that little box design.
Critics were not happy -- one example --
"Tennessee's new logo -- a $46,000 Microsoft Paint Square."
Tennessee watchdog reports the logo is set to be unveiled next month.
The governor's office says the change is aimed at getting a consistent look across all government websites and documents --
But it did not address the funding criticism.
Taking Our Time
Questions about tax dollars aren't just happening at the state level.
The federal government has no data to prove if a multi-billion dollar initiative for Beginning Farmers -- has worked at all -- since 1982.
The inspector general found that -- quote --
"USDA can neither ensure that the $3.9 billion of Beginning Farmer Assistance in fiscal years (FYs) 2012 and 2013 has achieved effective and measurable outcomes nor determine if three decades of Beginning Farmers Assistance has resulted in sustainable farming operations."
The IG recommends the Agriculture Department design a way to measure the effectiveness of the program.
Just like it was asked to do -- in 1982 -- and again in 2007.
But wait -- there's more.
The construction of a Veterans hospital in Colorado almost came to an end this weekend -- because even Congress is sick of throwing money at it.
The project's estimated costs have ballooned to one-and-three-quarter billion dollars-- from an original estimate of $328 million.
Late this afternoon -- Congress passed a three-week funding bill -- but some lawmakers are at their wits' end.
Quote -- "It is a last-chance effort to convince VA and Obama administration leaders to take the department's problems seriously."
And-- "The VA ignored my warnings for two years that the Aurora hospital was out of control."
Think Happy Thoughts
We don’t want to end on a sour note.
There may a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Bonuses for Cost-Cutters Act of 2015 -- introduced by Senators Rand Paul and Mark Warner.
The bill would offer cash payments -- up to $10,000 -- for federal workers who find and report wasteful spending.
Paul's office says -- the bill is aimed at curbing the -- use it or lose it -- mentality toward federal budgets.