Grapevine: Is Congress a small business?

And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine…

Size Matters

Small businesses come in all kinds -- from local bakeries to small breweries.
Apparently Congress is small business -- at least when it comes to ObamaCare.

The classification makes it possible for the DC Small Business Health Benefit Exchange to give D.C. tax dollars to Congress to help pay for health insurance for members and staff -- even though it is way over the 50-employee maximum.
More than 12,000 members of congress and staff have used the market to get covered -- receiving $77 million in taxpayer funds.

Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit in the D.C. Court of Appeals -- quote --
"It is unlawful and unethical for district officials to use local dollars to participate in Congress' Obamacare fraud."

The D.C. exchange says it is legal because a federal rule supplants district's laws.

Wasted Energy

Two government contractors over-billed the Energy Department -- and used the money for home renovations and school donations.
The Maryland Weatherization Program was given $74 million dollars -- including more than 60 million from stimulus funds.
The Inspector General report found unethical accounting practices led to improper payments.

One troubling example -- "the construction on a contractor's inside director's home was funded in part with Program funds."

The two contractors collected more than $15 million in taxpayer funds -- with almost $2 million flagged as questionable spending.

To Infinity and Beyond

Finally -- turns out a trip to the moon is pretty cheap -- at least if you are the astronaut.

Buzz Aldrin recently published his travel voucher from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Aldrin says he qualified for a reimbursement worth $33 and change.

Points of travel over the 20-day journey included Texas -- Cape Kennedy -- the moon -- the Pacific Ocean -- Hawaii -- and finally back to Houston.

There was plenty of other paperwork too --

Aldrin tweeted -- "Yes the #Apollo11 crew also signed customs forms. We brought back moon rocks & moon dust samples. Moon disease to be determined."

Thankfully -- no moon disease ever showed up.