You know how Big Government is always wasting money on unnecessary crap like feeding children, keeping bridges from falling down, and inspecting meat? We know those things are wasteful, because Fox News tells us so. And now we learn that, beforeTyrant Obama's 2011 directive to cut down on funding for logo-embossed crap (which was loudly protested by the logo-embossed-crap industry), it turns out that the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) managed to spend nearly $2 million on "promotional items" -- really important things that advanced the mission of the USMS by making people aware of its existence, like poker chips, golf towels, pens, calendars and for all we know, logo-bedecked Personal Sanitary Supplies for the ladies and hula hoops for the kids. There was a bit of a News Flap last November when an initial report from the Justice Department's Inspector General suggested that the USMS had blown over $800,000 on such useless promotional swag, but that report didn't contain any details -- so the nice folks at Muckrock did a Freedom of Information Act request for the invoices -- and got 173 pages of documents detailing purchases of necessary promotional crap like stickers, lanyards, "challenge coins," travel mugs, tee shirts, "Junior Deputy Badges," mouse pads, and god knows what else. The total came to almost $2 million, including purchases for local and regional offices.


Some highlights!

The documents show that largest spender on the state-district level by far was Texas, whose three branches of the USMS spent a combined $133,000 on t-shirts, ties, pillows, and even Christmas ornaments between 2009 and 2012. In addition, the South District of Texas was the biggest single spender for a district office during that period, with just under $60,000 going to USMS-branded leather coasters and silk ties.

And then there's the Investigative Operations Division, which nationally spent over $400K on such necessities as quill pens, Christmas ornaments, baseball bats, scarves, ties, glass coasters, marble coasters, puzzle coasters, tumblers, rocks glasses, and stuffed bears.

Still, you have to acknowledge the important stimulus to the important Crappy Gewgaw segment of the economy:

The District of Massachusetts spent over $3,000 on light-up yoyos, mini footballs, mini soccer balls, and stress balls in the shape of a police car; the District of Northern Illinois spent nearly two grand on 350 “laser wristbands” and 500 “flashing superballs” in 2011; and dozens of other districts spent thousands on baseball bats, pencil cases, and stuffed animals. Teddy bears (possibly one of these?) were a particularly popular item, with the IOD alone spending well over $2,000 on plush toys in just a few years.

As far as we could tell, none of those teddy bears were the kind sometimes used by police departments to help comfort young crime victims -- they were more like the light-up yo-yos.

Also, roughly a quarter of the costs over several years went to "challenge coins" and other coin-y things, which are "often given out to agents and visiting law enforcement officers to help ‘promote goodwill.’"

We think it's probably worth emphasizing something that's sort of mentioned offhandedly in the Muckrock story: yes, this crap is worthless and wasteful, and not even a Big Government Liberal would defend it -- but also, when you get an email from your idiot uncle about all the money DOJ wasted under Obama, it's probably also worth noting that most of these expenditures came before that 2011 Obama initiative to cut spending on swag, and a good chunk of it preceded the reign of the Kenyan Usurper. Not that it will matter -- as we all know, Obama is very good at traveling back in time to create problems like Obamaphones and welfare fraud. And the solution to this problem that's already been addressed is, obviously, to invade Iraq and cut corporate taxes.

[MuckRock News]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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