And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine…
Sign on the Dotted Line
A waste -- fraud -- and abuse version.
Starting with fraud -- two Illinois lawmakers -- including the number two Democrat in the Senate -- Dick Durbin -- signed letters supporting government grant funding for the My Wing Foundation -- a charity -- claiming to help people with disabilities with tablets and software applications.
Sounds great, right?
Not so much -- the foundation is a fraud.
Bloomberg reports -- the so-called charity's pitchman is Howard Leventhal -- who is currently awaiting sentencing over a separate investment scam -- pocketed the money and used the letters to raise more funds.
Durbin's office said the man used a false name to gain access to the staff.
Day in Court
Next up -- allegations of fraud.
New Mexico's Secretary of State was in court today -- facing charges of violating the laws she was elected to uphold.
Republican Dianna Duran pled not guilty on 64 counts including embezzlement -- fraud -- and money laundering.
She is accused of funneling campaign contributions to her personal bank accounts and withdrawing large sums of money at casinos.
It was Duran's first public appearance since the charges were leveled two weeks ago.
A bipartisan committee in the state house has been created to decide whether or not to recommend Duran's impeachment.
All About the Benjamins
Last -- but certainly not least -- waste.
The Agriculture Department wasted more than $6 million on vehicles -- it hardly used.
An Inspector General audit found -- nearly 6,000 government cars were driven less than 5,000 miles in a year.
That means millions wasted -- quote --
"Had USDA retained accurate log files and performed the minimum annual use tests -- it could have achieved a potential savings of approximately six-point-two million dollars for vehicles that may not have been necessary."
The audit also labelled more than a $1 million in excessive gasoline purchases -- as questionable transactions.
The government concurred with the IG's recommendations -- and will conduct an annual survey on the fleet size.