07.05.2011 0

Americans for Limited Government calls for independent investigation of Obama official’s spending

By Mark Wohlschlegel – Recently, the Daily Caller broke a story that was originally uncovered by Americans for Limited Government that brought into question the possible misuse of taxpayer funds to subsidize personal travels while in office by one Obama’s political appointees.

Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) became a frequent traveler to his hometown of Seattle after only being two months in office. During a 15 month period, Sims spent 128 days on the road, making 64 trips in his official capacity as a HUD representative. What is astounding is that during all that traveling time, Sims went to Seattle 13 times, spending 45 days there (and that’s only what we are aware of). In doing the math, it equates to an average of 3.5 days per visit, and totals 35% of his travel time.

Sims has strong ties to Seattle. Prior to his appointment Sims served as King County Executive, where he has a track record riddled with controversy – mismanagement, lying, refusing to cooperate, and (surprise) mishandling taxpayer funds.

While we can’t say for certain that Sims did anything illegal, his actions and past record raise suspicion. For all the time he spent out of the office traveling on “official” business (spending taxpayer dollars), 35% of that time was spent in Seattle. Given the significant amount of time one cannot help but ask if these trips were legitimate government business, or thinly disguised personal excursions on the taxpayers’ dollars to carry on some “business as usual” in his old stomping grounds? When his office was questioned about this the answer given the Daily Caller was weak at best. They claimed all his trips were in response to a “formal speech or forum request”. However, when pressed further, they stated it was a “little late to count” how many requests from other cities were denied.

What we have here is a moral disconnect with where government money actually comes from. It doesn’t just appear out of nowhere to subsidize their personal desires, but is labored for, fought for, and sweated for by the manual laborer, the restaurant worker, the grocery cashier, the small business entrepreneur – the hardworking American taxpayer. A government official’s sense of entitlement flies in the face of the taxpayer who entrusts their hard earned money to one who is supposed to be working for them!

Sims recently announced he was leaving his post as HUD’s Deputy Secretary to spend more time with family in Seattle. It seems that he was already spending a lot of time with his family, only on the American taxpayer’s dime. He is just one more example of an Obama appointee who comes to office unqualified for his position with a controversial past, and who is now potentially leaving office under controversy.

On his way out, we believe that he should reimburse the American people for his personal trips to Seattle. To that end, American for Limited Government is filing a request for investigation into Sims use of taxpayer dollars for travel with HUD’s Michael P. Stephens, Acting Inspector General. At best, Ron Sims actions are unethical, and at worst, they are illegal.

Mark Wohlschlegel is a legal analyst with Americans for Limited Government

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