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Companies rush to spend fed money before fiscal year ends
And as the fiscal year winds down... Many government agencies are rushing to spend what's left of their budgets.
Tom Foreman takes a look at how agencies are side stepping congressional oversight and wasting our tax dollars.
"We need a little Christmas, right this very minute..."
Just like the cast in the classic movie "Mame," every September Washington belts out a chorus of "we need a little Christmas" with a spending spree.
"..it hasn't snowed a single flurry but Santa dear we're in a hurry..."
As the fiscal year winds down to October, many government offices rush to spend every dime left and critics say that means money for furniture, electronics, office supplies, scientific studies, and much more.
Why? Tom Schatz from citizens against government waste.
"If money is not spent, the agencies are penalized for not spending the money. They will get less money in the next fiscal year."
That's right: billions are spent because agencies are terrified if they don't use all the money they have, congress may assume they didn't really need it. Public Notice is a non-profit aimed at helping taxpayers understand such things.
"There's actually businesses in Washington, D.C. That are meant to help contractors identify where resources are left and then go after those dollars and help these agencies spend that money that they have left in their budgets."
To be fair, some argue this is just a natural result of running a massive government.
"It's not as if people are lined up just spending willy nilly, they just get delayed for various reasons throughout the year and then end up in that last six or eight weeks and really need to move quickly."
Still, critics say the rapid-fire spending shortchanges competitive bidding, and sidesteps congressional oversight. Problems that could be solved if agencies were allowed to roll over surpluses, or forced to even out their expenditures...
"Do you think that if this is actually brought under control that the government can save money?"
"Cutting off these expenditures will certainly save money because unnecessary items won't be purchased."