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Investigation by Adam Andrzejewski originally published by RealClearInvestigations and RealClearWire
In 2008, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence Institute in California, or SETI Institute, collected $9.4 million in federal grants — $13.4 million in 2024 dollars — to search for aliens in outer space, as its name obviously implies.
That’s according to the “Wastebook” reporting published by the late U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn. For years, these reports shined a white-hot spotlight on federal frauds and taxpayer abuses.
Coburn, a U.S. Senator from Oklahoma, earned the nickname “Dr. No” by stopping thousands of pork-barrel projects using the Senate rules. Projects that he couldn’t stop, Coburn included in his oversight reports.
Coburn’s Wastebook 2008 included 65 examples of outrageous spending worth more than $1.3 billion, including the $9.4 million in grants to the SETI Institute.
“The SETI Institute is devoted to searching for life in outer space, but has not had any luck yet,” Sen. Coburn quipped in his 2008 report.
Some of that funding came by way of a member of Congress securing $1.6 million from the budget of the Defense Department.
“I think most people think there are aliens out there,” said John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists, commenting several years ago on public investments for SETI. “With the limitations in space and time I don’t think we’ll ever see any of them. But communicating with them is another matter. It’s awfully expensive and difficult to try to send a human being through space, but sending radio signals, that’s cheap.”
Many American taxpayers might take issue with his definition of “cheap,” considering $9.4 million is more money than most will ever see.
By Adam Andrzejewski – The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com
This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.