CAGW and CCAGW Score Major Victories against Government Waste in 2008!

Attempt to Stop Medicare Audits Thwarted
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) derailed an attempt by some lawmakers to scuttle the nationwide rollout of the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program, which has helped the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recoup $357.2 million in overpayments to Medicare providers in just three states since 2005.  CAGW focused a white-hot media spotlight on the success and importance of this money-saving program and used thousands of Citizen’s Demands from its members to demonstrate overwhelming public support for RAC.  Read more about the RAC program and the hundreds of millions of dollars it has saved Medicare.

“Coburn Omnibus” Squashed
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) encouraged and applauded the defeat of the Advance America’s Priorities Act, 35 spending bills that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) compiled in one omnibus package that would have cost taxpayers more than $10 billion.  In crafting what came to be known as the “Coburn Omnibus,” Sen. Reid sought to circumvent the legislative “holds” that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) had placed on the spending bills to prevent them from passing by unanimous consent and force Congress to debate their merits and costs before obligating taxpayers to fund them.  Read more about the “Coburn Omnibus.”

“Cap-and-Trade” Legislation Defeated
CCAGW played a key role in defeating the Climate Security Act, “cap-and-trade” energy legislation that would have raised Americans’ energy costs by an estimated $1.2 trillion by 2018 and created an army of new bureaucrats who would have dictated nearly every aspect of commercial and individual energy use.  CCAGW members sent more than 25,000 e-mails in opposition to Capitol Hill, and Majority Leader Reid pulled the bill from consideration after falling a dozen votes short of the 60 needed to end debate and force a final vote.  Read more about the Climate Security Act.

Condemnation of Auto Execs Hits Mark
The day after the chief executives of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., and Chrysler LLC first testified before a Senate panel, tin cup in hand pleading for a taxpayer bailout, CAGW President Tom Schatz appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in a segment exposing how the auto executives flew to Washington in private corporate jets on November 18 to testify before Congress.  Following the public relations firestorm created by this revelation, General Motors announced it would return two of its leased corporate jets, and on their return trip to Washington in December, the CEOs of the “Big Three” traveled in hybrid vehicles.  Read CAGW’s response to the proposed auto bailout.

Stevens Verdict Validates CAGW Criticisms
A longtime critic of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) for lavishing federal tax dollars on his home state at the expense of national priorities, CAGW saw those concerns validated when  a federal jury found Sen. Stevens guilty on seven counts of failing to report more than $250,000 in improper gifts he received from 1999 to 2006 — when he was CAGW’s top congressional “Porker.”  Sen. Stevens abused his position as the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee for years to bilk taxpayers in order to aggrandize himself and his cronies.  He now faces a possible prison sentence and was defeated for reelection.  Read CAGW’s reaction to Sen. Stevens’ conviction.

CAGW Receives Widespread Media Coverage in 2008
CAGW attracted a national, and even international, spotlight when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) mentioned the organization in ALL THREE of the prime-time, televised presidential debates.  The first reference on September 26 prompted a tenfold increase in traffic to CAGW’s website, and visitors from as far away as Great Britain posted their comments.  CAGW has appeared on television, radio, and in newspapers and newsmagazines from coast-to-coast this year.  From CAGW President Tom Schatz’s weekly appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” and interviews with CAGW spokespersons on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight,” CBS’s “Evening News with Katie Couric,” CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” FOX News Channel’s “Cavuto,” and NBC’s “The Today Show” to citations in the Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Cincinnati Enquirer, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, to name just a few, CAGW has again kept Washington’s runaway spending one of the top news stories in America.

CCAGW PAC Makes Impact on Elections
In the latest election cycle, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Political Action Committee (CCAGW PAC) once again demonstrated how its endorsement is a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” telling voters which candidates are friends of the taxpayer and which are foes.  Of the 53 candidates CCAGW PAC endorsed for the House or Senate, a whopping 39 candidates, or 74 percent, emerged victorious on Election Day.  View a complete list of CCAGW PAC-endorsed candidates.

And in the States…
CCAGW led a grassroots drive that helped defeat California’s Assembly Bill 1X.  Modeled on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s health insurance program that has already incurred nearly $400 million in cost overruns, the California bill aimed to create a near-universal healthcare system in the Golden State.  The business and consumer taxes used to finance the proposal would have impacted virtually every Californian.  CCAGW mobilized thousands of its members and supporters in California by e-mail, and the bill failed to pass the Senate Health Committee by a vote of 7-1.  In addition to this victory, CAGW published six of its widely heralded Piglet Books in California, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington, generating numerous television, radio, and newspaper citations in those states.  Among the absurd examples of state waste detailed in the Piglet Books:  $225 million to subsidize billionaire Richard Branson’s “Spaceport America” in New Mexico; $18 million in cost overruns at the new Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas; $550,000 allocated to the conservation of pheasants in Illinois; and $142,000 spent on licensing animal massage practitioners in Washington state.

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