Wednesday Waste: Feds Spend Big for Empty Accounts

Wednesday Waste | May 8, 2013

Recently, the Washington Post uncovered that the government will spend at least $890,000 this year to hold thousands of accounts with a zero balance. The accounts, 13,712 in total, were supposed to be closed but the paperwork has not been filed. While these empty accounts are still open, they are accruing fees for having a zero balance.

The accounts are opened by specific agencies to house grant money and are obligated to pay monthly rent on those accounts. When the grant money is depleted or time is expired, the agency has to close out the account or continue to pay the fee. The Washington Post reports that last year the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that these accounts were costing about $2.1 million annually.

As the sequester budget cuts wreck havoc on park and museum travelers, each year taxpayers are paying $65 for every empty account to exist. Thomas Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste noted “It’s just lack of attention to detail and poor management…If anyone had kept open a bank account with no money, and was getting a charge every month, they would do everything they could to close it.”

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