WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, delivered his weekly “Waste of the Week” speech and highlighted $864,161 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) paid to two Amtrak employees for information that Amtrak employees were already required to provide to the DEA as part of their jobs.
Currently, the Amtrak Police Department and the DEA participate in a joint task force that works to interdict passengers trafficking contraband on Amtrak trains. This task force makes relevant information available to the DEA at no cost.
According to an investigation by the Justice Department’s Inspector General, the DEA wasted taxpayer dollars and paid two Amtrak employees to do exactly what this task force is designed to do. For one of the employees, this went on for 20 years. Yet for two decades, no one at the DEA questioned these payments.
Even worse, the IG’s investigation concluded that when DEA officials sought approval to register these Amtrak employees as informants in the DEA’s “confidential source program,” the required documents did not indicate that these informants would be paid.
“My point today is not to question the use of confidential sources but to point out that that federal agencies like the DEA should never pay for information they already have access to,” said Coats. “This is a waste of taxpayer dollars and poor stewardship of limited resources. Twenty years of the DEA paying for information that they were already supposed to receive at no cost without a second thought indicates a serious, systemic spending problem that spans multiple parties and presidents. We must ‘pull the plug’ on this type of waste.”
Click here to watch Coats speak on the Senate floor.