Epic waste: The myth of Tom Coburn

Tom Coburn rants about government waste being the problem. Waste may be the problem but he is not the solution. Photo: AP Photos

WASHINGTON, October 7, 2013 — Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has created a cottage industry in Washington. 

The Federal Government is rife with waste, fraud, abuse and corruption. Every American knows this. Every seventh grader knows this. Television and newspapers know this.


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In fact, TV news as well as print and digital reporters love stories about government waste. It is something that generally gets Americans unhappy.

Tom Coburn knows this too. Every year, he produces something called the “Waste Book.” It details fraud and waste in the federal government. Coburn has ripped the government for spending $1.5 billion on a fraud ridden cellphone program. He has ripped the government for spending millions of dollars for a “Mars menu” even though there are no plans for NASA to go to Mars. He has ripped the government for abuse in the food stamp program, including last year featuring the story of a stripper who made $85,000 in tips and was on food stamps.

Coburn is in the news again. This time he is railing about the fraud in the Social Security Disability Program. He was featured on 60 Minutes Sunday night and there is a nice story Monday in the Washington Times about his war on fraud in the Social Security Disability program.

It is an open secret that program is riddled with fraud. It has become the welfare program for those who cannot get welfare. It is a cash cow for lawyers and non-lawyers who are permitted to handle SSDI claims. 


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Coburn has been focusing on one lawyer in Kentucky, who at least according to Coburn has been misusing the system to make a lot of money in fees for himself.

There is just one problem.

There is a dirty secret about Tom Coburn.

Coburn loves to get on the media and talk about fraud and waste. It has become his niche. Instead of being grilled by the liberal media for allegedly being a conservative, he comes out with these “attacks” on waste and he gets a nice softball interview from left leaning Steve Kroft at CBS.


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Tom Coburn’s dirty secret is that he does nothing about the fraud. Sure he rants and rails about it, but what has he done?

The answer is nothing.

Fraud and waste are there in the federal government in massive amounts. What has Coburn done? He has gotten himself a lot of face time on the media. But that is it.

What programs has Coburn eliminated? No one has to go look that up on the Internet. The answer is simple: None.

When was the last time Tom Coburn stood on the floor of the Senate for 21 hours to try and have a fraud ridden program eliminated? When was the last time he filibustered a bill to get a fraud ridden program eliminated?

The answer is, he has not. 

The government discovered long ago that fraud was good business for the government. It’s good business for Tom Coburn too. He discovered he could complain about fraud while doing nothing and the media would swoon over him.

Two years ago, a General Accountability Office report was released detailing hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud in the government.  At the time, Coburn said that report will make “all of us look like jackasses.”

Real Americans did not need that report to think that everyone in Washington looks like a jackass. 

Including you, Senator Coburn.


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Judson Phillips

Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet.

A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says.

Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in February 2009 after hearing Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC.   “I heard there was going to be a Tea Party in Chicago inspired by Santelli, but didn’t know if anyone was doing a rally in Nashville where I was based.  Finally I emailed Michelle Malkin and asked her if there was a Tea Party in Nashville.  Malkin sent an email back saying, ‘No, why don’t you organize one?’  I did.”

The first Tea Party in Nashville was held late February 2009 which drew a crowd of about 600. Judson then organized the Tax Day Tea Party in Nashville, which drew over 10,000 people into downtown.   It was at this time that Tea Party Nation was formed.  Later that year, Judson decided to bring activists from across the country together, so he organized the first National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, which featured Alaska’s former Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin as it’s keynote speaker.

He currently manages the Tea Party Nation website, writes several daily columns and is working on more projects than any one person should.  He is a frequent guest on cable and broadcast news shows, including on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and others.

Contact Judson Phillips

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