The Census Bureau wasted millions of dollars in preparation for its 2010 population count, including thousands of temporary employees who picked up $300 checks without performing work and others who overbilled for travel costs.
Federal investigators caution the excessive charges could multiply once the $15 billion headcount begins in earnest next month unless the agency imposes tighter spending controls, according to excerpts of a forthcoming audit obtained by The Associated Press.
The audit was done by Todd Zinser, the Commerce Department's inspector general. Curiously, the report didn't see a problem with one of the Census' most obvious examples of waste:
On a positive note, investigators backed the Census Bureau's decision to spend $133 million on its advertising campaign, saying it was appropriate to boost public awareness. The spending included a $2.5 million Super Bowl spot that some Republicans had criticized as wasteful.
It wasn't only "some Republicans" who criticized that ad as a waste of money; I'd wager it was a pretty hefty portion of Americans who watched the Super Bowl.