ABC's Cuomo falsely suggests Obama is culpable for billions misspent under Bush
Research ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER
On ABC's Good Morning America, Chris Cuomo falsely suggested "a new report" found that $72 billion has been misspent this year under the Obama administration. In fact, according to the Heritage Foundation study that Cuomo cited, "The federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008," and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) similarly found that "[a]gencies reported improper payment estimates of $72 billion for fiscal year 2008" -- when President Bush was still in office.
Cuomo falsely suggests misspending occurred this year
From the August 3 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:
CUOMO: And now we keep hearing all of these billions of dollars, how -- where is it going? It's so hard to digest. But a new report breaks it into numbers that are a little easier to understand. Look at it this way: It finds that federal spending will average nearly $34,000 per household this year. That's up $8,000 since just last year. And it may go up even more as lawmakers look to extend unemployment benefits. Here's a good one also: $72 billion spent by our government to the wrong people, in either double payments or missed payments. Can you believe that? It's true.
In fact, misspending Cuomo cited occurred in fiscal year 2008
Cuomo cited a study by the conservative Heritage Foundation. During the segment, Cuomo referred to a "new report" while an on-screen graphic cited the Heritage Foundation, but Cuomo did not mention the group by name or indicate that it is a conservative think tank.
The Heritage Foundation study said the federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008 -- not this year. In a July 27 "special report" titled "Federal Spending by the Numbers 2009," the Heritage Foundation stated, "The federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008" [emphasis added]. The study stated that its sourcing for the figure is "[o]n file at the Heritage Foundation."
GAO also reported "improper payment estimates of $72 billion for fiscal year 2008." An April 22 GAO report on "improper payments" similarly found that "[a]gencies reported improper payment estimates of $72 billion for fiscal year 2008, which represented about 4 percent of the $1.8 trillion of reported outlays for the related programs."