Questionable tax dollar outlays in the $1.76 trillion spending package.

Gary Baise
Gary Baise

U.S. Senator Rick Scott, R, FL, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last month urging the administration “…to rescind billions of dollars of wasteful and unrelated funding included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act so this money can instead be used to help American families.”

What could he be talking about, you might wonder?

Title VII of the CARES Act begins spending enormous amounts of money. For example, $453 million will be an additional amount of money given to Operation of Indian Programs. This $453 million will be spent between now and September 30, 2021 “…to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally…to carry out deep cleaning of facilities, purchase of personal protective equipment, purchase of information technology to improve teleworking capability, welfare assistance and social services programs (including assistance to individuals), and assistance to tribal governments,…”

Under Title VII, an initial $69 million, which may be needed for Indian Education Programs, is limited to funding tribal colleges and universities, salaries, transportation, and information technology. This of course will be additional funds beyond what has already been budgeted in the 2020 -2021 approved budget.

Kennedy Center provisions

Other government entities receiving CARES Act funds includes the infamous John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. News media outlets have featured the Kennedy Center for receiving these funds and immediately laying off large numbers of workers. Congress allotted $25 million to be made available to the Kennedy Center until September 30, 2021.

The ironic language in the Kennedy Center provision indicates that these funds are made available to cover operating expenses. This money is supposed to go to the Kennedy Center affiliates “…including for employee compensation and benefits, grants, contracts, payments for rent or utilities, fees for artists or performers, information technology, and other administrative expenses.” One requirement put into this provision and not seen in others is that the trustees of the Kennedy Center must submit a report by October 31, 2020, detailing to Congress how the Kennedy Center spent all its money. Click here for the Kennedy Center spending outline.

Arts and humanities

Another $75 million which did not go to the Payroll Protection Provision of the CARES Act was provided to the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities National Endowment for the Arts. Forty percent of these funds “…shall be distributed to State arts agencies and regional arts organizations and 60% of such funds shall be for direct grants.”

Not to be outdone, Congress, rather than worrying about people who have lost their jobs, granted $75 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities. Again 40% shall be distributed to state humanities councils and “…60% of such funds shall be for direct grants.”

This is the same National Endowment that spent $47,000 of your money to teach undergraduate classes about laughing and humor.

By this time everyone in the country realizes the Paycheck Protection Fund is empty. However, the Department of Education’s Stabilization Fund received $30,750,000 to be used by September 30, 2021. These are grant funds to “…provide emergency support…to local educational AGENCIES [emphasis supplied] that the State educational agency deems have been most significantly impacted by coronavirus to support the ability of such local educational agencies to continue to provide educational services to their students and to support the on-going functionality of the local education agency.”

There is even a section entitled “Assistance to Non-Public Schools”. The monies provided to the non-public schools must have their money administered by a public agency.

Another important entity, Legal Services Corporation, was given $50 million. I am not sure why payment to lawyers in the government needs to be made.

U.S. Senator Rick Scott, R, FL, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last month urging the administration “…to rescind billions of dollars of wasteful and unrelated funding included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act so this money can instead be used to help American families.”

What could he be talking about, you might wonder?

Title VII of the CARES Act begins spending enormous amounts of money. For example, $453 million will be an additional amount of money given to Operation of Indian Programs. This $453 million will be spent between now and September 30, 2021 “…to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally…to carry out deep cleaning of facilities, purchase of personal protective equipment, purchase of information technology to improve teleworking capability, welfare assistance and social services programs (including assistance to individuals), and assistance to tribal governments,…”

Under Title VII, an initial $69 million, which may be needed for Indian Education Programs, is limited to funding tribal colleges and universities, salaries, transportation, and information technology. This of course will be additional funds beyond what has already been budgeted in the 2020 -2021 approved budget.

Kennedy Center provisions

Other government entities receiving CARES Act funds includes the infamous John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. News media outlets have featured the Kennedy Center for receiving these funds and immediately laying off large numbers of workers. Congress allotted $25 million to be made available to the Kennedy Center until September 30, 2021.

The ironic language in the Kennedy Center provision indicates that these funds are made available to cover operating expenses. This money is supposed to go to the Kennedy Center affiliates “…including for employee compensation and benefits, grants, contracts, payments for rent or utilities, fees for artists or performers, information technology, and other administrative expenses.” One requirement put into this provision and not seen in others is that the trustees of the Kennedy Center must submit a report by October 31, 2020, detailing to Congress how the Kennedy Center spent all its money. Click here for the Kennedy Center spending outline.

Arts and humanities

Another $75 million which did not go to the Payroll Protection Provision of the CARES Act was provided to the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities National Endowment for the Arts. Forty percent of these funds “…shall be distributed to State arts agencies and regional arts organizations and 60% of such funds shall be for direct grants.”

Not to be outdone, Congress, rather than worrying about people who have lost their jobs, granted $75 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities. Again 40% shall be distributed to state humanities councils and “…60% of such funds shall be for direct grants.”

This is the same National Endowment that spent $47,000 of your money to teach undergraduate classes about laughing and humor.

By this time everyone in the country realizes the Paycheck Protection Fund is empty. However, the Department of Education’s Stabilization Fund received $30,750,000 to be used by September 30, 2021. These are grant funds to “…provide emergency support…to local educational AGENCIES [emphasis supplied] that the State educational agency deems have been most significantly impacted by coronavirus to support the ability of such local educational agencies to continue to provide educational services to their students and to support the on-going functionality of the local education agency.”

There is even a section entitled “Assistance to Non-Public Schools”. The monies provided to the non-public schools must have their money administered by a public agency.

Another important entity, Legal Services Corporation, was given $50 million. I am not sure why payment to lawyers in the government needs to be made.

These are just a few of the many examples of spending in the CARES Act. It is mindboggling.