GAO: Feds Spent $3.7 Billion On Obamacare But Aren’t Sure Where It Went

The Obama administration hasn’t kept track of the $3.7 billion it spent last year on Obamacare and other federal health programs’ implementation, according to a federal audit.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency charged with implementing the health-care law, spent a boatload of money on building and advertising Obamacare exchanges, but it doesn’t have data to show what money it spent on what efforts — or what parts of it were effective.

“CMS’s processes are inconsistent with certain federal accounting and internal control standards,” the General Accountability Office concluded in an audit released Monday evening.

CMS spent a whopping $3.7 billion in fiscal year 2014; as of September 2013, it had 347 staff members whose total salary costs were $79.8 million between March 2010 through 2013, the audit found. Beyond that, not much was clear.

via GAO: Feds Spent $3.7 Billion On Obamacare But Aren’t Sure Where It Went

License plate scanner networks capture movements

A rapidly expanding digital network that uses cameras mounted to traffic signals and police cruisers captures the movements of millions of vehicles across the U.S., regardless of whether the drivers are being investigated by law enforcement.

The license plate scanning systems have multiplied across the U.S. over the last decade, funded largely by Homeland Security grants, and judges recently have upheld authorities’ rights to keep details from hundreds of millions of scans a secret from the public.

Such decisions come as a patchwork of local laws and regulations govern the use of such technology and the distribution of the information they collect, inflaming civil liberties advocates who see this as the next battleground in the fight over high-tech surveillance.

“If I’m not being investigated for a crime, there shouldn’t be a secret police file on me” that details “where I go, where I shop, where I visit,” said Michael Robertson, a tech entrepreneur fighting in court for access to his own files. “That’s crazy, Nazi police-type stuff.”

via License plate scanner networks capture movements

House approves Ron Paul’s ‘Audit the Fed’ bill

Former Rep. Ron Paul’s push to audit the Federal Reserve got another boost Wednesday when the House passed the bill for the second time in three years, and by a bigger margin than before.

The bill, now sponsored by Rep. Paul Broun, Georgia Republican, was approved on a 333-92 vote, with all but one Republican and 106 Democrats in favor of it. That’s a major jump from last time, when a majority of Democrats voted against it.

Still, despite the overwhelming support, the law is likely to die. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had previously indicated support for such an audit, reversed himself in 2012 and said he wouldn’t let the bill come to to the Senate floor.

via House approves Ron Paul’s ‘Audit the Fed’ bill