Many News Outlets Report Bogus Stimulus Jobs Claims, But Not The Fish Wrapper

One story that has been gaining more and more traction in the media lately is how the Obama administration is inflating their number of jobs "created or saved."  In particular, the data on the recovery.gov site has shown things such as millions of dollars going to congressional districts that don't exist.  As reported by Jonathan Karl at ABC News (hardly a right-wing organization, for those FOX News whiners):

Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There's one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts.

"We report what the recipients submit to us," said Ed Pound, Communications Director for the Board.

Pound told ABC News the board receives declarations from the recipients - state governments, federal agencies and universities - of stimulus money about what program is being funded.

"Some recipients clearly don't know what congressional district they live in, so they appear to be just throwing in any number. We expected all along that recipients would make mistakes on their congressional districts, on jobs numbers, on award amounts, and so on. Human beings make mistakes," Pound said.

The issue has raised hackles on Capitol Hill.

Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc, who chairs the powerful House appropriations Committee, issued a paper statement demanding that the recovery.gov Web site be updated.

"The inaccuracies on recovery.gov that have come to light are outrageous and the Administration owes itself, the Congress, and every American a commitment to work night and day to correct the ludicrous mistakes."

And ABC News has found many more entries for projects like this in places that are incorrectly identified.

ABC News was able to locate several examples on the government's Web site outlining hundreds of millions of dollars spent and jobs created in Congressional districts that have been misidentified.

For example, recovery.gov says $34 million in stimulus money has been spent in Arizona's 86th congressional district in a project for the Navajo Housing authority, which is actually located in the 1st congressional district.
 
The reporting problems are not limited to Arizona, ABC News found.

In Oklahoma, recovery.gov lists more than $19 million in spending -- and 15 jobs created -- in yet more congressional districts that don't exist.

In Iowa, it shows $10.6 million spent – and 39 jobs created -- in nonexistent districts.

In Connecticut's 42nd district (which also does not exist), the Web site claims 25 jobs created with zero stimulus dollars.

The list of spending and job creation in fictional congressional districts extends to U.S. territories as well.

$68.3 million spent and 72.2 million spent in the 1st congressional district of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

$8.4 million spent and 40.3 jobs created in the 99th congressional district of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

$1.5 million spent and .3 jobs created in the 69th district and $35 million for 142 jobs in the 99th district of the Northern Mariana Islands.

$47.7 million spent and 291 jobs created in Puerto Rico's 99th congressional district.

 Late Monday, officials with the Recovery Board created to track the stimulus spending, said the mistakes in crediting nonexistent congressional districts were caused by human error.

And the Washington Examiner gives more details on these imaginary jobs, including a nice map: 

More than ten percent of the jobs the Obama administration has claimed were "created or saved" by the $787 billion stimulus package are doubtful or imaginary, according to reports compiled from eleven major newspapers and the Associated Press.

Based only on our analysis of stimulus media coverage in the last two weeks, The Examiner has created this interactive map to document exaggerated stimulus claims. The map, which will be updated as new revelations appear, currently reflects an exaggeration by the Obama administration of about 75,000 jobs, out of the 640,000 jobs supposedly "created or saved."

The map reflects reports from The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, the Sacramento Bee, The New York Times, USA Today, the Las Vegas Sun, the Detroit Free Press, the New York Post, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It remains a work in progress because relatively few newspapers have scrutinized stimulus spending so far.

The Obama administration has claimed that the $787 billion economic stimulus package "saved or created" some 650,000 jobs. But almost as soon as the White House trotted out this figure, news organizations found huge exaggerations in the reported data. Many of the jobs reportedly created do not exist or cannot be accounted for.

UPDATE: Today's report from ABC News tells us that prior to releasing its jobs report, the administration cut out 60,000 additional jobs from unreliable reports, none of which appear to overlap with the ones we've highlighted here. Had those jobs been included in the original count, the number of jobs "created or saved" by the stimulus would have exceeded 700,000, and the number of imaginary or doubtful jobs would have approached 20 percent.

Television stations are starting to take notice, such as KUSI in San Diego, who called out Barbara Boxer on how few jobs have really been created.  Even the L.A. Times is getting in on the act:

Chicago politics, where voting is such a revered civic duty that people do it even after they're dead, cold, stiff, stuffed, boxed and buried beneath the permafrost for years, has now come to D.C. with the Obama administration.

This afternoon comes the most encouraging economic news, courtesy of our keen-eyed buddy Rick Klein over at ABC, that the Obama administration's $787-billion economic stimulus has, for example, thankfully created 30 new jobs in a little-known rural corner of Arizona at a cost to American taxpayers of only $761,420.

That works out to only $25,380.67 spent to create each individual job.

Seems like a lot per slot, but those 30 folks must be happy to be employed again and paying taxes.

This will be a real feather in the cap of Vice President Joe Biden, who's been left behind and assigned by the ever-campaigning president to monitor the stimulus plan, its spending and effectiveness moving into the crucial midterm elections of 2010. Might the Democrats snatch that House seat?

So the people of that 15th Congressional District in staunchly Republican Arizona should be pretty happy about this.

Trouble is, there is no 15th Congressional District in Arizona. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Doesn't exist. Not in Arizona. Not even on paper at the Democratic National Committee. There are only eight. Period.

But the administration's much-vaunted recovery.gov website reported these jobs as being created there.

Could well be a computer glitch. Lord knows humans would never make such a dumb, misleading mistake, even in politics.

But then the trouble is that just months after grandly unveiling the recovery.gov website to showcase its economic prowess and tech-savvy, the Obama administration just spent 18 million additional taxpayer dollars to redesign the still new website.

And that site proudly also reported nonexistent new stimulus spending not just in Arizona but other states across the country.

So that looks to have worked pretty well, at least if you're counting computer designer jobs created.

Anyway, how do you think the 15th will vote next year?

And other states, such as New Mexico, Kanas, Minnesota, and New Hampshire, have similarly fictitious districts:

New Mexico Watchdog reported earlier in the day that the Obama Administration claimed to create jobs in congressional districts that did not exist.

That reporting error, however, was not limited to New Mexico. Reports are pouring in from everywhere. State watchdogs across the country have found what appear to be phantom congressional districts within Recovery.gov’s statistics. Click the links below to see what a Watchdog reporter has found in your state:

Kansas Watchdog: 4

According to Recovery.org, the Stimulus has created or saved 5,934.8 or5,940.37 jobs in Kansas including 10 in the 9th Congressional district, nine jobs in the 8th District and three in the 6th district and two in the 14th. The 00, 99th, 5th, 76th, 68th and 36th districts saw no job creation. Of course Kansas only has four Congressional districts. Read the full story Here.

Minnesota: 11

The North Star state, of course, has a total of eight congressional districts. You’d never know it by logging on to the federal clearinghouse for all things stimulus. The summary page for tracking where the stimulus money is going lists Minnesota as having a total of 19 congressional districts. Altogether, the eleven extra congressional districts posted received more than $7 million in stimulus spending, creating or saving about 50 jobs. Read the full story Here.

New Hampshire Watchdog: 3

According to the summary of stimulus jobs “created or saved” in New Hampshire, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has created 3.2 jobs in the 6th District, zero jobs in the 4th District, and two jobs in the 27th District. New Hampshire, of course, only has two Congressional Districts. Read the full story Here.

New Mexico Watchdog: 10

Other fictional New Mexico Congressional Districts receiving stimulus money were NM 40 (no jobs for $7.96 million), NM 4 (10 jobs created/saved for $4.72 million), NM 13 (5 jobs created for $3.3 million), NM 16 (no jobs for $517,980), NM 9 (no jobs for $100,000), NM 6 (1 job created/saved for $63,199) and the 25th Congressional District that received a mere $6,819. Read the full story Here.

Ohio Watchdog: 10

Congressional District 00 and 99 were two of ten new congressional districts listed as receiving federal stimulus dollars this year. Eight of those districts received money but did not create any jobs. Read the full story Here.

West Virginia Watchdog: 8

Over a billion dollars has come to West Virginia thanks to the Recovery Act. $2,387,321 of that total is going towards eight fictional Congressional districts: the 54th, 9th, 4th, 6th, 12th, 13th, and 00. Read the full story Here.

So with all this going on, how much coverage has the Daily Dead Fish Wrapper given to this topic?  None.  Zilch.  Nada.  But hey, Al Gore is coming to town.  Wouldn't want to miss that now, would you?

Surprised?  Not me.

Don't let the facts get in the way

Wow, what part of the facts don't you understand?  Taxpayer money is going to non-existent districts, and those numbers are being used to attempt to justify the porkulus spending, and that's all you can come up with?  Don't let the facts get in the way, eh?

Are You Still Running This?

You realize of course that the non-existing districts claptrap is a political ploy to capture the imagination of people like yourself?

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