The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Welcome Spendopedia

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


There’s a new sheriff in town called Spendopedia and its going after the big, wasteful spenders.  The web-based site was launched this month and is a project of the Public Notice Research and Education Fund.  Its home page says it is “a Wikipedia-like resource for questionable spending by the United States federal government to which anyone can submit content.”

The site provides a list of questionable or wasteful federal spending and invites anyone to join.  You simply set up an account and begin editing whatever articles are in the collection.  If you want to add a new article, you email the managers of the site, include your Spendopedia name, and they will give your account editing permission.

If you are adding a new page to the wiki, it must meet the Spendopedia’s two criteria to be considered. These are:

  1. The program must be federally-funded.
  2. The spending must have been included in some sort of preceding discussion from the media, a political leader, government watchdog, NGO, etc.

The managers of the site state that if your idea meets the two criteria, you can start a new entry but asks that you consider the following questions when adding to Spendopedia.

  1. How does this spending benefit the United States as a whole as opposed to just the locality in which it was spent?
  2. Keeping in mind the need to prioritize, would you consider at least asking your member of Congress to look into the efficacy of this program?
  3. Keeping in mind the need to prioritize, would you consider asking your member of Congress to cut this program?
  4. How does this program fulfill the basic mission of the federal agency from whom it receives funding?
  5. Did this program go through a proper vetting process in order to receive funding? For example, is it clear that this funding was something that was championed by a member of Congress, or did it go through the federal grant-making process?
  6. If a contract, was it competitively awarded?
  7. What are the potential effects of cutting this spending?

The Washington Times interviewed the creator of Spendopedia, Joe Mansour, who is the digital director at the Public Notice Research and Education Fund.  The organization’s goal is to explain to the American people how their lives are impacted everyday by the actions of federal and state government policy.  They lament that our nation spends $3.3 million every second of every day, that our nation has no budget, huge deficits, and an immense national debt that is now nearly $17 trillion.  They note these policies put our nation’s economy at risk of run-away inflation, higher interest rates, and less private investment.  The organization believes that educating the American people about these policies and the harm they cause to their country and their family will empower them to change things.

Mansour mentions in the article, "Too often, information about wasteful spending pops in a news story or blog post, and then disappears into the black hole of the Internet…our goal for Spendopedia was to create a Wikipedia-style resource for citizens to learn more about how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent."

According to The Washington Times each posted article discusses programs “that have been labeled as wasteful by news organizations, members of Congress or federal investigators.  Each example of fiscal abuse gets its own article that includes a total cost to taxpayers.”  Spendopedia claims it has “tracked more than $170 billion in questionable spending.”  The site also tries to put the amount of money that is being discussed into terms that make it easy to understand such as a particular government project wasted enough money that would have purchased 40 billion Big Macs or paid the salaries of 3 million soldiers.

Here is a good one.  Question: How long would it take me to pay you $1 trillion if I gave you $1.00 every second?  Answer: 32,000 years.

Anyone can sign up and add a comment on Spendopedia, according to Mr. Mansour, whether “be they a concerned citizen, a journalist, a blogger or a Capitol Hill staffer."

Sounds like fun. Be sure to sign up and help Sheriff Spendopedia call out the big, wasteful spenders!

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