Originally published Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 10:03:07 PM EST on ePluribus Media.
Hat-tip to jrichards of DelphiForums for the pointer to the primary source article.
Sometimes, “follow the money” is best done in rather obscure places, then compared and contrasted to other items of interest to see where things fall on (or off) the balance sheet.
An obscure but potentially informative source to aid in following the money trail is the Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR). The recently released edition — the 23rd such report, which has been compiled and published almost continuously since 19831 — represents all the domestic federal spending for Fiscal Year 2005. The principal author is Gerry Keffer, chief of the Federal Programs Branch at the Census Bureau, who leads a team of eight Census workers in the task of compiling the CFFR.
The Consolidated Federal Funds Report includes a variety of ways to look at how the government spends money, including per-capita breakouts from the federal down to the state, city and county level. That’s not all, either:
It is also possible to look at federal spending as it relates to specific government agencies. Keffer breaks out spending among the top five states at one of the biggest federal agencies: “Defense Department spending totaled $374 billion in 2005, an 8 percent increase over 2004, and was highest in California, Virginia, Texas, Florida and Maryland.”
Why is this, or any other financial report, significant? Because they help people take a look under the hood and see how the money flows, where it goes, who gets it and (theoretically) what gets done with it.
Given our government’s propensity for mishandling the monies entrusted to it, and the use of same for propaganda2, having more than one potential source of information is critical, particularly now. The BushCheney Republicans in the US Government aren’t simply trying to improve the image of the nation — they are actively trying to influence media coverage, essentially gaming the system for their advantage.
“Following the money” can also lead to the tying together of players from some controversies to other impending controversies, providing the initial tentative clues that could lead to exposing interesting connections elsewhere.
Never underestimate the depth or breadth of potential malfeasance or the monetary ties that bind them together; money is the lifeblood of many systems in our civilized society, and as often as not it acts as the primary feeding tube to the corrupt, cancerous tumors infesting our national body of politics and the halls of power in which it dwells.
In the comments below, what other sources of publicly available information have you found that help us in our quest to keep tabs on an ever-secretive government and the somewhat wayward manner in which our national funds are spent?
1. Much of the information for this article comes from the piece Following the Money by Max Cacas of FederalNewsRadio, published October 12, 2007 – 6:42am.
2. Link goes to a ThinkProgress article; more information on the spending of millions on propaganda can be found here on SourceWatch.