by James E. Horn
K. Harris is no better than any other government employee paid by taxpayers:
Early in my government career, I was involved in researching frequent abuse and misuse of taxpayer (government) housing funds. As a junior officer in Embassies, I was called on to manage government funded houses for Embassy staff personnel from the Ambassador to the lowest ranking staff members. This included fixtures and furnishings paid for by taxpayers.
Before my time, it was wisely determined that people assigned to Embassies (etc.) would get a limited shipping allowance of between 2,000-4,000 pounds (depending on rank and position) for their personal belongings. That saved tons of money that otherwise would be used to ship up to 24,000 pounds of furniture, etc. whenever they moved (every 2-4 years).
When people were/are assigned to embassies, they were provided with quality American made government furniture that was replaced every 6-10 years. When they arrived and were assigned to their housing, they were/are allowed to replace older, used upholstery, curtains, etc. to suit their tastes. Some thought it was a free reign to lavishly spend taxpayer money on exotic fabrics and to demand new furniture. We found it necessary to establish allowances and limitations, and we were sometimes abused for requiring compliance.
In 1974, an Ambassador illegally transferred substantial development funds so that he could build a pool at his residence and then went overboard on furnishing and decorating his residence. A Congressional investigation ensued, and I was called onto analyze the situation and to provide write report with recommendations to the investigating Congressional Committee. As a result, new rules were imposed on federal agencies involved overseas. They provided tiered levels of generous allowances for the rank-and-file staff. Ambassadors and their deputies were put on strict allowances that required Congressional approval for anything above those limited allowances. This curtailed a lot of abuse, and saved tons of taxpayer $$$$.
Just a few years later, I worked for an Ambassador, a Jimmy Carter political appointee hack who suddenly deemed himself to be a landscape architect. He wanted a pool in his back yard, and against my advice went off and agreed with a local contractor (not qualified) to build a big pool in at his official residence. The contractor just dug a big hole. When bills started rolling in and I refused to pay them, all hell broke loose. The Contractor started hounding the Ambassador for payments, and the Ambassador demanded that I pay from money appropriated for other Embassy business. It didn’t happen. In the end, I, a lowly government employee was chased out of the embassy by the Ambassador and I was reassigned to another Embassy. The Ambassador’s pool was not built and the hole in the ground became a serious eyesore and bone of contention between the State Department and the Ambassador. Eventually, the Congress funded the pool – two years after the Ambassador left.
I noted that often when a senior career officer was appointed someplace as an ambassador, some of their spouses suddenly deemed themselves to be interior decorators and made extravagant over-the-top demands. They resented being held to limitations on how much taxpayer money they could spend..
Kamal-a has recently been headlined whining about being confined to the cramped conditions of the 70,000 square foot presidential guest (Blair) house while millions are being spent to renovate the Vice-Presidential estate for her. She does NOT own either property and while she is being treated generously (taxpayer dollars) she still wants more.
No way, babe!
by James E. Horn