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Economist finds $21 trillion in 'unauthorized government spending'

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Researchers say they found a total of $21 trillion in unauthorized spending in the departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development over an 18-year span.

Posted: Dec. 15, 2017 7:46 PM

A new study accuses two U.S. government departments of making $21 trillion in unauthorized expenditures from 1998-2015.

Michigan State University economist Mark Skidmore worked with graduate students and a former government official to uncover this type of spending in the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Defense.

Researchers released these findings findings just after the Department of Defense announced it will launch an independent audit earlier in December.

“While we can’t know for sure what role our efforts to compile original government documents and share them with the public has played, we believe it may have made a difference,” said Skidmore.

The Pentagon did not release a specific reason to announce the audit, but it did say 1,200 auditors will take part in the department-wide process. These audits will occur annually with reports being released in November.

Skidmore's team says they uncovered $21 trillion in undocumented adjustments during the 18-year span. 

The economist says he got involved in this research after he heard of a report which indicated the Army had $6.5 trillion in unsupported adjustments. Skidmore is now advocating for lawmakers to conduct an investigation to address these expenditures.

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