Browsing: Joe Biden

Transparency board to hold open meeting

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It may say something about federal attitudes toward openness that the Government Accountability and Transparency Board typically meets in secret. But for the record, the board—launched by the Obama administration two years ago to tackle big-picture spending issues—will hold a public meeting next month. The purpose is to let members of the public weigh in with presentations “regarding accountability and transparency for federal expenditures made through contracts and grants,” according to a recent Federal Register notice. Among the questions on which the board wants input at the Jan. 22 meeting: “What questions are you trying to answer with federal spending…

OMB review follows report of excessive DOJ pastry spending

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Go figure: The humble muffin has become a government change agent. In what is probably the first-ever Office of Management and Budget directive with a connection to overpriced baked goods, Director Jack Lew is ordering agencies to take stock of their conference spending and report back by Nov. 1. The impetus, of course, is that newly released report by the Justice Department’s inspector general that uncovered numerous examples of questionable expenses at DOJ conferences from October 2007 through September 2009. What really caught the attention of politicians and the media, however, was the finding that muffins at one Washington gathering cost more than $16 each. No matter that the hotel in question…

Procurement scandals, Onion-style

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Happy Friday! To ease you into your Labor Day weekend, enjoy a few headlines from The Onion, such as “Pentagon Ripped Off By Shady Weapons Dealer:” Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted losing $192 million in defense funds Tuesday when he unwittingly purchased a large number of bogus BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles from a disreputable arms dealer known only as “Steve.” “When I got the crate open at the office, it turned out the ‘missiles’ were nothing more than old sewer pipes filled with newspapers and capped with construction cones, all painted to look legit,” Gates said. That’s probably the Onion’s best…

Biden opens mouth, inserts foot

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Just leave it to Joe Biden to find a way to embarrass himself in his administration’s moment of triumph. (FYI, the following video contains a half-mumbled profanity, in case your co-workers are sensitive to that kind of thing.) There’s only one proper way to respond to that:

Transition Watch: Out with the old

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There are 8,600 facilities with at least one set of the official portraits of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, and at noon eastern tomorrow the portraits will have to be “removed and respectfully disposed” of, according to a GSA spokeswoman. The spokeswoman didn’t expand on what “respectfully dispose” means, so your guess is as good as ours. The portraits will be replaced by the official photos of President Obama and Vice President Biden as soon as prints become available, which probably means most offices won’t see these smiling faces until March, according to GSA.