02 November 2007

Proceeds to Benefit . . . ?

This is the kind of congressional oversight I can really relate to:

Over the past year, as the government issued nearly 14 million new passports, it collected at least $111.4 million more in passport fees than its stated costs, according to calculations by The Associated Press based on figures from State Department and congressional investigators.

. . . [Sens. Byron Dorgan and Charles Schumer] are asking the Bush administration for an accounting of where the passport profits go.

Emphasis mine. In fairness, the article goes on to state that the government uses some profits to "provide free passports to relatives of dead soldiers traveling overseas to attend funeral services." I can't really argue with that. Then there's this, though:

But the senators said it was "inconceivable" all the government's profits were used for those purposes, and they asked [Secretary of State] Rice for a detailed accounting of where the money went.

The GAO has yet to publicly release it's investigation findings, so of course the State Dept. has no comment. When I know where the average traveler can apply for his or her refund (wishful thinking), I'll post it on this site. In the meantime, you can read the whole article here.