The AP sums it up pretty clearly in the first sentence:
The Census Bureau wasted millions of dollars in preparation for its 2010 population count, including thousands of temporary employees who picked up $300 checks without performing work and others who overbilled for travel costs.
Points of waste include:
- Census employees were paid more than $300 each to attend training sessions but quit (or were let go) before performing any actual work. Cost to American taxpayers to pay over 10,000 people to simply walk in a pick up a check… $3 million.
- An additional 5,000 employees collected $300 (for an additional $1.5 million) for the same training to work for one day or less.
- Another 23 “temporary” employees were paid 55 cents per mile even though the number of miles they reported exceeded the total number of hours they actually worked.
- Another 581 employees who claimed to have spent the majority of their time driving (instead of conducting field work) also received full mileage reimbursements, which investigators called “questionable”.
As far back as October, Census director Robert Groves admitted that the costs had already ballooned $88 million higher than the original estimate of $356 million… and this was for “preparations” alone… and it was 4 months ago. How big is the balloon now? How big will it be next month wehen the census campaign is launched… and how big will it be when it’s over?
Interestingly, Todd Zinser, the Commerce Department’s inspector general did suport the Census Bureau’s decision to spend $133 million on its advertising campaign to increase public awareness. He even considers the $2.5 million dollar tab for the 30-second Super Bowl ad, “appropriate”, even though he says, “some (unspecified) Republicans” had criticized the expenditure as wasteful. Perhaps by, “some Republicans” Mr. Zinser meant the 3,854 people (91%) who responded, “Not funny, not worth the cost” to the question – “How would you rate the Super Bowl Ad” conducted by PollDaddy or the people on SuperBowlCommercials.org who give you the opportunity to watch the commercial in standard vision or to “see your tax money wasted in HD!”