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Judicial Watch • State Dept. Racks Up Hefty Liquor Tab To Properly Represent U.S.

State Dept. Racks Up Hefty Liquor Tab To Properly Represent U.S.

State Dept. Racks Up Hefty Liquor Tab To Properly Represent U.S.

APRIL 16, 2010

While Americans continue to struggle financially one federal agency alone annually spends hundreds of thousands of tax dollars on booze, despite the president’s strict order to slash wasteful spending in government.

Headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Department of State is known to rack up hefty yearly liquor tabs that often exceed a quarter of a million dollars, according to newspaper analysis of agency records. Officials at the executive agency responsible for the country’s international relations seem to have exquisite taste in alcohol.

Last year alone the State Department stuck taxpayers with a whopping $300,000 bill for alcoholic beverages, nearly double the amount billed the previous year, according to spending records analyzed in the probe. The purchases included $2,483 for “assorted spirits for gratuities to vendors” at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York and $9,501 for “Christmas gratuities” of whiskey and wine at the U.S. Embassy in South Korea. Shortly after President Obama urged federal agencies to cut wasteful spending, the State Department dished out nearly $4,000 on Jack Daniels whiskey for an overseas embassy.

Examples of purchases in previous years include more than $20,000 for “representational liquors for Christmas gratuities” for the U.S. Embassy in Greece, $7,554 for a “supply of alcoholic beverages and gratuities” at the U.S. Embassy in India and $7,160 on alcohol and “gratuities for local contacts” for the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg. The U.S. Embassy in Belgium also paid more than $5,000 for red and white wine.

The State Department also spends hefty sums on liquor domestically, not just abroad. A New York store billed the agency more than $50,000 for alcohol purchases for the U.S. representation at the United Nations. In all, the State Department has spent more than $1 million on booze since 2004.

It’s all part of the department’s work in representing the United States and its interests here and abroad, according to a State Department spokesman, who assures the expenditures are permitted under law. In fact, the Secretary of State may provide for receptions, entertainment and “representational expenses” to enable the proper representation of the United States and its interests, the agency spokesman points out.

 


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