Federal Government Under Fire for Billion-Dollar Furniture Splurge Amid Empty Offices

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In a striking revelation, a report from taxpayer watchdog OpenTheBooks has spotlighted the U.S. Federal Government’s extravagant spending on office furniture and décor, totaling $3.3 billion, during a period when the majority of its employees were working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The report, released last Tuesday, underscores a stark contrast between the government’s lavish spending and the largely deserted federal office spaces.

It was found that between 2020 and 2022, over $1 billion per year was spent on opulent décor for federal spaces, despite office capacity in 17 of the 24 federal agencies plummeting to as low as nine percent and peaking at only 49 percent in 2023, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Some of the highlighted expenditures include $237,960 on solar-powered picnic tables for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and $120,000 on luxurious Ethan Allen leather chairs for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency did not lag behind, allocating almost $250,000 for high-end Herman Miller furniture.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also came under scrutiny for spending $6.5 million on new décor while simultaneously downsizing to a smaller 300,000-square-foot office space in Pennsylvania.

Furthermore, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation was spotlighted for allocating $15 million for new furniture, equivalent to $14,400 per employee.

The Pentagon topped the list of the highest spenders among federal agencies, splurging a staggering $1.2 billion on new furniture, while the Department of Justice, State Department, and Department of Homeland Security spent $408 million, $302 million, and $155 million respectively.

This revelation comes at a critical time, as lawmakers in Congress have been embroiled in heated debates over federal spending, especially as the government narrowly avoided a shutdown recently.

OpenTheBooks CEO and founder, Adam Andrzejewski, emphasized that the report should serve as a foundation to enhance oversight in federal spending. “As Congress continues to fight over spending, we want to make it clear that there are massive amounts of money being appropriated, spent, wasted, and sometimes hidden from the taxpayer,” Andrzejewski told The Post.

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