Feds Spent $3.3 Billion on Office Furniture — While Employees Were Remote

(RightWing.org) – Like several private sector workplaces, the federal government transitioned from employees appearing at the office to working remotely during the recent lockdowns. Nevertheless, a watchdog group recently released a report showing the feds continued spending money on furniture at an alarming rate during that time frame.

On October 3, OpenTheBook released a report showing the federal government’s massive amount of wasted and misappropriated taxpayer money during the pandemic-related lockdowns on office furniture.

The Chicago-based non-profit group reported that spending levels by federal agencies at home and diplomatic missions abroad spent roughly the same amount of taxpayer dollars from 2018 through 2022.

The following examples of excessive spending on office furniture, relative to the office space used during lockdowns, should horrify anyone concerned about the government’s use of their hard-earned tax dollars.

  • Defense Department: Used 23% of its office space but spent roughly $1.2 billion on furniture.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs: 16% office space usage, $428 million spent.
  • Justice Department: 35% usage, spent $408 million.
  • General Services Administration: 9% usage, $308 million spent.
  • Agriculture Department: 9% used, spent $57 million.
  • Transportation Department: 9% usage, $55 million spent.

Likewise, the State Department spent nearly $120,000 purchasing leather recliners for its Islamabad Embassy in Pakistan. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) found it necessary to spend roughly $700,000 on conference room furniture — for its ZOOM meetings? — and the CDC spent nearly $240,000 purchasing solar-powered picnic tables.

OpenTheBook relied heavily on sworn Congressional testimony of the US Government Accountability Office’s (GAO’s) acting director for its Physical Infrastructure Team to compile its report. 

On July 13, Acting Director David Marroni testified before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. He discussed the preliminary results of a GAO study on the underutilization of federal buildings and other related topics, like federal expenditures on furnishing those structures.

In early September, Right Wing covered the news that government buildings remained 75% empty, representing a huge waste of funds and resources. That finding was bolstered by the final version of two reports detailing the findings of that GAO study. One dealt with the impact of remote work, the other on office space usage

Copyright 2023, RightWing.org