from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2016, Issue No. 100
December 12, 2016

Secrecy News Blog:


The government mistakenly disbursed more than $137 billion in Fiscal Year 2015, the highest annual level of wrongful spending ever reported, the Congressional Research Service noted last week. Over $1 trillion in improper payments have been made by government agencies since 2004.

Improper payments "are payments made in an incorrect amount, payments that should not have been made at all, or payments made to an ineligible recipient or for an ineligible purpose," CRS said.

Congress has enacted legislation to improve reporting and recovery of improper payments, but implementation "has been uneven across the government." See Improper Payments Legislation: Key Provisions, Implementation, and Selected Proposals in the 114th Congress, December 7, 2016:

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

The U.S. Income Distribution: Trends and Issues, December 8, 2016:

Has the U.S. Government Ever "Defaulted"?, December 8, 2016:

Federal Citations to the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, updated December 6, 2016:

EPA's Mid-Term Evaluation of Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards, CRS Insight, December 6, 2016:

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions, December 6, 2016:

Terrorist Material Support: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B, updated December 8, 2016:

Smith v. Obama: A Servicemember's Legal Challenge to the Campaign Against the Islamic State, CRS Legal Sidebar, December 7, 2016:

Democratic Republic of Congo: Targeted Sanctions, CRS Insight, December 8, 2016:

The Trump-Tsai Call and the United States' "Unofficial" Relationship with Taiwan, CRS Insight, December 8, 2016:

Nuclear Cooperation with Other Countries: A Primer, updated December 6, 2016:

At the end of a House Oversight Committee hearing on "overclassification" last week (just after the 2:04:00 mark), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) observed that the Federation of American Scientists publishes "bootleg" copies of CRS reports on the FAS website-- and he thanked us for it.

"On a weekend I go to your website to find out what the Congressional Research Service has prepared," he said. "How ridiculous is that?"


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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