$9,324
June 11, 2002 1:46 PM   Subscribe

$9,324 The GAO concludes that some 'vandalism' took place in the Clinton to Bush White House transition. The total repair cost was $9,324. I wonder how much we spent on the GAO investigation and it's 220 page report. I bet it was more than $9,324. (via Drudge)
posted by Argyle (48 comments total)
 
So they're not getting the security deposit back, then?
posted by hackly_fracture at 1:48 PM on June 11, 2002


Is the cost of the report really that important? If someone steals something of mine that's cheap and I file a police report which takes up 20 minutes of an officer's time plus filing then the act of making the report costs more than object stolen. Imagine if they catch the criminal, how much more does that add to the tab?

Criminal investigations shouldn't be based purely on cost vs. loss.
posted by skallas at 1:56 PM on June 11, 2002


If the ruffians didn't vandalize the place, there wouldn't have been an investigation.
posted by adampsyche at 1:57 PM on June 11, 2002


why is the $4,850 for replacing the W-less keyboards listed here? didn't a computer company donate all new keyboards to the new bush administration?

and when is the report coming out about the cost of the vandalism by the outgoing Bush I administration back in 92? and all the other previous outgoing administrations who played a prank or two? perhaphs that is going to be bob barr's next waste of my taxpayer dollars report??
posted by saralovering at 1:57 PM on June 11, 2002




$80 keyboards? What, are they goldplated?
posted by GriffX at 2:31 PM on June 11, 2002


$80 keyboards? What, are they goldplated?

I use an $80 keyboard at home and compared to the wretched P.O.S. keyboard I have to contend with at work it was worth every penny. Believe it or not, some of us find a high quality keyboard desirable. I also use a $50 wireless, optical, scrollwheel, thumb mouse which probably shocks you also. The only problem I have with the government paying $80 for keyboards is that they probably got trashy $15 keyboards anyway...
posted by RevGreg at 3:00 PM on June 11, 2002


Why couldn't they just replace the "W" keys?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:22 PM on June 11, 2002


when is the report coming out about the cost of the vandalism by the outgoing Bush I administration back in 92?

When there's some evidence that there was vandalism by Bush I.

In other words, never.
posted by ljromanoff at 3:23 PM on June 11, 2002


What kills me is that this works out to $78.23 a keyboard. Vandalism is certainly uncalled for, but given that the keys and the keyboards were donated by OfficeMax and given that it takes about 30 seconds to replace a key on a keyboard, this smacks of inflation rivaling the DoD's markup on a screwdriver. What is the Dubya White House going to blow the extra money on? Hookers?
posted by ed at 3:39 PM on June 11, 2002


What is the Dubya White House going to blow the extra money on? Hookers?

No no, hookers were the Clinton Administration. The Bush Administration will spend their extra cash on PHONICS tapes for GW.

I kid. I kid.
posted by BlueTrain at 3:44 PM on June 11, 2002


I think the point is being missed. No matter what was meant by this Clinton prank, it still cost taxpayers $9k and even more went into the report. Even though this thread is going democrat vs. republican, how about neither waste taxpayer money... mmmmkay?
posted by geoff. at 3:53 PM on June 11, 2002


I thought that was a politicians main task no matter what party they belonged to.
there should be someone else paying for them 80$ 'w' keys, they guys who took them. It just so childish, we didn't send them to the white house to horse around.
[agh, bad pun]
posted by dabitch at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2002


This isn't the first - or the last - time that a departing administration staff engaged in pranks and mischief. If you actually read the report you can see that they refer to the fact that it's impossible to determine if the "vandalism" is any worse than in other changeovers.

As far as wasting taxpayer money goes, I think that 76 pages of comments seems a little excessive for an administration that keeps insisting it has "no interest in dwelling upon what happened during the 2001 transition".

Apparently it's pretty hard to stop a pissing contest once you start and this is just another one. Sure it's a waste of my money (to the tune of $500,000 for the report, I'd heard) but it's all worth it if someone gets to be puffed up and sanctimonious for the press, right?
posted by stefanie at 4:09 PM on June 11, 2002


amazing that this is what we find interesting during a political coup d'etat.
posted by mikemonteiro at 4:15 PM on June 11, 2002


key d'etat
posted by th3ph17 at 4:20 PM on June 11, 2002


`They showed nothing less than a complete lack of respect for one of America's most sacred public monuments, and in doing so, they disgraced not just themselves, but institution and the office of the presidency as well.'


I had no idea the W key was so significant! I am going to really really carefull from now on When I use it and I Will also capitalize it to shoW my respect for the White house.

Here is the actual report (pdf): The White House: Allegations of Damage During the 2001 Presidential Transition. GAO-02-360, June 7.

My take: The report makes it clear that while there was some pranksterism (and the W thing is damn funny IMHO) there was also some purported vandalism that appear to be stuff that happens regularly and not just in transition (broken and missing doorknobs, damaged furniture, ). Additionally the claims were pretty erratic 33-150 keyboards is a pretty large range. Among the extremely dubious items was $76 to remove a phone from an office. That is some pretty wacky vandalism! Hey guys lets hook up a phone! $6000+ to label phones and sort out the forwarding? I want that contract!
posted by srboisvert at 4:25 PM on June 11, 2002


amazing that this is what we find interesting during a political coup d'etat.

The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling! Wait, The Sky Is Really Going To Fall Any Minute Now I Swear! ™ Metafilter 2002.
posted by ljromanoff at 4:54 PM on June 11, 2002


"And here's the remote control of perfect purity on the right here. This unfortunate chair has a wobbly leg which succombed to the weight of staffers heavy with evil."
posted by mblandi at 5:15 PM on June 11, 2002


"When there's some evidence that there was vandalism by Bush I."

Bush41?

The GAO also noted allegations of vandalism surfaced when the Clinton administration took over the White House in 1993, replacing President Bush's father. Incoming Clinton staffers observed missing signs and doorknobs, excessive trash and words and initials carved into desks, the report said.

Yep. Now, about the latest Bush crew.

However, the General Accounting Office said because the Bush administration failed to keep records on many alleged misdeeds, it was unable to corroborate some of the claims.

Former Clinton administration employees have acknowledged some pranks - such as removing the ``W'' keys - but say Republican claims of widespread vandalism and theft were overblown.


So, we're supposed to just believe what the Bush43 people say? Well, maybe if you're a dittohead.BTW, Rush says it was $20,000.That's the number the Clinton stalkers will be using.

Obviously, people take some souvenirs when they leave the WH.Some people play pranks and maybe some of them take it too far.That keyboard thing is nothin' but funny, though.We'll see if the same standard is applied to the Bush43 people when they leave the WH in January 2005.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 5:50 PM on June 11, 2002


That's funny...earlier today Drudge was giving the estimate at around $20,000 in damage...

In any case, I have yet to see an article mention that it is standard business practice to replace a keyboard when a new employee comes into a position. They contain all kinds of nasty stuff (hair, skin, etc.), and I've never had a job that did not come with a new one.
posted by troybob at 5:53 PM on June 11, 2002


I've never had a job that did not come with a new one.
You never worked in my office.
posted by thirteen at 6:11 PM on June 11, 2002


"When there's some evidence that there was vandalism by Bush I."

Bush41?

The GAO also noted allegations of vandalism surfaced when the Clinton administration took over the White House in 1993


So allegations are evidence to you? Your sense of justice is pretty warped.

the Bush43 people when they leave the WH in January 2005.

Delusional wishful thinking must make life a pretty disappointing experience.
posted by ljromanoff at 6:11 PM on June 11, 2002


$8000 for drapes in the DOJ.
posted by crunchland at 6:29 PM on June 11, 2002


Until now, I never thought I would feel sorry for mary todd lincoln.
posted by clavdivs at 7:10 PM on June 11, 2002


Delusional wishful thinking must make life a pretty disappointing experience.

This from Mr. Let's-Get--Jesse-Ventura-to-run-for-President-(!)-on-the-Libertarian-ticket-'cause-people-would-take-the-party-seriously-and-we-'d-get-more-than-a-microscopic-percentage-of-votes-then? The mind reels...
posted by y2karl at 7:21 PM on June 11, 2002


This from Mr. Let's-Get--Jesse-Ventura-to-run-for-President-(!)-on-the-Libertarian-ticket-'cause-people-would-take-the-party-seriously-and-we-'d-get-more-than-a-microscopic-percentage-of-votes-then? The mind reels...

I stand by that. Running a celebrity worked for the Green Party, Mr. Reading-My-Web-Site-Still-Hasn't-Cured-You-Of-Your-Fixation-With-The-Bogus-Idea-Of-The-Prison/Industrial-Complex.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:28 PM on June 11, 2002


As I've said before: I can find this much in broken swivel chairs, cubicle walls, swiped RAM chips, non-working telephones, smashed-off fax paper trays, exec and department labels, and (especially) window shades in just about any corporation in America when there's some sort of mass move taking place. Often what is tolerated and ignored by one group is painfully obvious to the newcomers. Is it vandalism? Only if it's deliberate. Proof that it's deliberate?
posted by dhartung at 7:34 PM on June 11, 2002


Only if it's deliberate. Proof that it's deliberate?

Do you think the concentration of missing W keys on the keyboards was merely a coincidence?
posted by ljromanoff at 7:39 PM on June 11, 2002


I'll betcha all those W keys are hidden somewhere obvious in the White House. Like behind the "W"est "Bush" or behind the "W"ild Turkey Bourban. Something like that.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:39 PM on June 11, 2002


Delusional wishful thinking must make life a pretty disappointing experience.

Interesting approach to addressing the issue and staying on-topic....
posted by rushmc at 7:47 PM on June 11, 2002


ljromanoff: the reasons they are allegations and not evidence is that there wasn't a investigation into the matter. nearly everything about the clinton administration was investigated. whether because of repeated and obvious misdeeds, or a coordinated and well financed political attack is your call.
posted by lescour at 8:22 PM on June 11, 2002


So allegations are evidence to you?

ljromanoff is right. I think we should spend another $500k on an investigation into these allegations that Bush I staffers also had a sense of humor, or might have broken some stuff when they moved out. The public has a right to know and damnit, we need to get to the bottom of this. Let the pissing contest continue!
posted by Tempus67 at 8:40 PM on June 11, 2002


My apologies for the last comment, ljromanoff, it was intemperate. And each to our own faked moon landings, OK? I was just reacting to your tone. I don't really have a dog in this fight & as I am not exactly the leading Bush basher hereabouts, go fight nice with the other kids.

Man, you've been on a tear lately--so bitter... You'd think it was you who's trying to quit smoking.
posted by y2karl at 9:00 PM on June 11, 2002


The miracle of American democracy is its nearly painless transition from one corrupt administration to another. In many other nations the transfer of power from one crook to another would have required at least a dozen dead bodies and a truck-load of ammunition.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:11 PM on June 11, 2002


Delusional wishful thinking must make life a pretty disappointing experience.

Hmmm....nah, I'm doing OK.Look at my keyboard, WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

So allegations are evidence to you? Your sense of justice is pretty warped.

Where were you when Clinton was in office?Geez...
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 12:49 AM on June 12, 2002


LJ, you're turning into a crackpot without Holgate to keep your juices flowing. Without him, you seem to be little more than an "as-long-as-he's-a-republican" true believer, unwilling to step out of your role and consider the weight of this story rationally.

In other words it's stupid. Get Lenin out of Fremont or somethin'.
posted by crasspastor at 2:45 AM on June 12, 2002


I wish the "W" keys had shown up on Ebay.
posted by mecran01 at 5:59 AM on June 12, 2002


I have one. You want to buy it? Only $150!
posted by crunchland at 6:04 AM on June 12, 2002


Anyone who thinks $9,000 is a significant government expense hasn't spent much time looking at how the feds burn through money. Just to put the amount in perspective, the National Debt goes up by that much every 11 minutes.
posted by rcade at 6:58 AM on June 12, 2002


I don't see Bob Barr shedding the tears of Jesus over Enron. His threnody on the impurity befallen the national treasure of the White House cellphone supply was probably before all that when they were sitting on high devious cotton.
posted by mblandi at 7:19 AM on June 12, 2002


ljromanoff : So allegations are evidence to you? Your sense of justice is pretty warped.

Dude, that is evidence if those allegations were made by people who saw the damage. It's that whole "direct evidence" thang they make so much of in the movies.
posted by subgenius at 7:25 AM on June 12, 2002


First of all, the $9,000 figure is way off what the actual report says. Broken down by section, the report finds that the damage done was this:

Missing items: $7,565
Furniture: $6,964
Telephone repair: $6,020
Trash Clean-up: $1,150

The GAO did not obtain cost estimates for repairs the faxes and printers damaged by pranksters, nor for the damage caused by graffiti on the walls, etc.

As for the keyboards, the GAO got a wide range of estimates ranging from roughly $2000 to more than $11,000. The most common estimate for keyboard replacement was about $4800. Using that figure, the toal damage listed in the GAO report was:

   $26,549.


Did this exceed the damage done by previous exsting administrations? Here's what the report had to say. Judge for yourself:

The director of the Office of Administration (OA), who had been present during five previous transitions, said that he was “stunned” by what he saw during the 2001 transition and had not seen anything similar during previous ones, particularly in terms of the amount of trash. The OA associate director for facilities management said that there was more to clean during the 2001 transition than during previous transitions. The telephone service director, who had worked in the White House complex since 1973, said that he did not recall seeing, in past transitions, the large amount of trash that he had seen during the 2001 transition. Further, an employee who had worked in the White House complex since 1984 said that office space in the complex was messier during the 2001 transition than all of the other transitions he had seen.

Rcade: willful damage to govenment property is a felony if it exceeds $1,000 under federal law: 18 USC 1361... so by law it IS significant.
posted by mikewas at 7:32 AM on June 12, 2002


Delusional wishful thinking must make life a pretty disappointing experience.

And it seems from your comments that only you would know this to be a fact.
posted by nofundy at 7:32 AM on June 12, 2002


If there was a "large amount of trash," then I rescind my previous comments. This is incredibly serious. Somebody get a rope.
posted by rcade at 7:37 AM on June 12, 2002


Crap, I was thinking of Phil Gramm with my Enron comment. It appears Barr's pure as...

Well, my point is that Barr's posturing a little over the top just like everything else with the attacks on freaking Clinton. Screw 'em all.
posted by mblandi at 8:10 AM on June 12, 2002


Hey mikewas - thanks for that post. Well-researched, even-voiced and meaningful. That figure is more sizable (and the director's quotes more significant) than what I had heard so far... it makes me wonder if the mess is indicative of something else.

Still, not a really big deal.
posted by Marquis at 8:26 AM on June 12, 2002


Dude, that is evidence if those allegations were made by people who saw the damage.

Only if they testify to it. Otherwise anybody can say anything. Doesn't make it evidence.

In other words it's stupid. Get Lenin out of Fremont or somethin'.

Hey! Everybody's reading my web site. Woo hoo!
posted by ljromanoff at 8:33 AM on June 12, 2002


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