The Perversity of Federal Grants

Fox News hits on an old story–EPA gives millions a year in grants to enviro groups to fund their political activities.

EPA conducts about half of its work, or $4.3 billion in 2004, through grants, mostly to state, local and tribal governments. Non-profits account for about 7 percent of the total, including many ordered by Congress. Besides the environmental groups, many recipients are agriculture and industry allies with keen interest in EPA regulatory policies, along with academic, civic and other groups that advocate on health, the elderly and consumer issues. Overall, the inspector general has cited grant oversight as an EPA weakness.

Put all the spin on this you may want to, using tax dollars to fund policy advocacy groups is crazy. Not only does it violate common sense, it undermines the decision process of the grant making organization–EPA/fed government. It also perverts the groups receiving the grants, which should be facing the market test for their advocacy and ideas by relying on support from people who share their views, not taxpayer funds. Ahh, but redistribution is so sweet when you are on the upside of it.