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Government in Action!

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Bookkeepers Wanted: Pentagon investigators discovered in August that a small South Carolina company fraudulently collected $20.5 million in shipping costs, including one invoice of $999,798 for sending two washers (cost: 19 cents each) to a base in Texas. According to Bloomberg News, the Defense Department was said to have a policy of automatically and unquestioningly paying shipping bills labeled "priority."

The Senate Finance Committee found in April that more than 450,000 federal employees and retirees owe back federal income taxes (totaling about $3 billion), including almost 5 percent of the employees and retirees of the U.S. Tax Court.

Bureaucrats Being Bureaucrats: About 30 Iowa school districts had their funding applications for preschool grants tossed out in September, the state Department of Education said, because the paperwork was not double-spaced, as required.

In August, the Palestinian Authority admitted that, after Hamas violently split from the government in mid-June, civil servants nonetheless failed to act quickly and thus in July continued to pay the salaries of about 3,000 Hamas security officers (who were formerly PA employees, but who by then were fighting the PA).

Jane Balogh, 66, was informed in September that she will not be prosecuted for defrauding elections officials in Seattle, despite having illegally registered her dog, Duncan M. MacDonald, to vote. Balogh, protesting how easy officials have made it for people to vote illegally, put her home phone account in Duncan's name, which is all the proof required for registration, then signed him up, and when an absentee ballot arrived, she went public about her scheme. However, despite the public confession, Duncan continued to be sent official absentee ballots for the two subsequent election cycles.

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