From a report being issued by Senators Tom Coburn and John McCain:
Stimulus money is going toward iPods for high school students in Utah, cellphones for smokers trying to quit in Washington and advertising devoted to the promotion of ... the stimulus.
The findings are part of a 74-page report put out by a pair of Republican senators who contend the $862-billion program is fraught with needless spending.
The report questions a decision to spend $1 million on iPod Touch devices for 1,600 students at Kearns High School in Kearns, Utah. No jobs will be created. The school will load the iPods with educational applications that teachers hope will motivate students. Such applications include guides to identify trees, leaves and bird calls. Students will get to keep the devices if they meet graduation requirements, a school district spokesman said.
Another project singled out in the report is a $498,000 grant to a unit of the American Legacy Foundation, which will provide BlackBerry Curve smart phones to Washington residents trying to quit smoking. The predominately low-income smokers who receive the phones may call a hotline or use the phones' software capabilities to help with their addiction. Two jobs will be created directly by the program, a spokesman said.
In several cases, stimulus money went toward the promotion and study of the stimulus program, at a cost of millions of dollars.
A few weeks ago, Congressman Aaron Schock and others brought to light possible legal problems stemming from the use of stimulus dollars to buy signs touting the stimulus. There are laws meant to prevent taxpayer dollars being used for political campaigns. Studies examining how the stimulus program (that is closely identified with Barack Obama) is being perceived are taxpayer dollars being used to determine if the "messaging" behind the program was working to sway people regarding its merits.