Waste, Fraud and Abuse

NEW: Stormwater tax drowns voters

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
East Jordan Iron Works

California is embarking on a program of capturing storm water from flood control channels for urban landscaping at high costs.  And stormwater capture projects won’t require voter approval under Proposition 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act, because courts have ruled stormwater recapture is no...

Lack of mental health accounting ‘sheer craziness’

Monday, October 13th, 2014
Prop 63 Logo

  In 2004 California voters passed Proposition 63, based on the promise it would tax the rich to help the state’s mentally ill population. But 10 years later, while it’s been successful in taking about $10 billion from top earners, state officials are largely clueless about whether the ...

Covered CA premiums set to spike

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Dave Jones - wikimedia

  For some time, Obamacare critics have warned that health insurance premiums would skyrocket once the Affordable Care Act went into effect. Now they say the leap in premiums, as calculated by state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, is just the beginning of hefty annual hikes in the year...

Consumer Watchdog criticized for ‘misleading’ report

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
fact check title

The shoe's on the other foot for Consumer Watchdog (no connection to CalWatchdog.com). Routinely critical of state regulators for failing to protect consumers, the consumer advocacy group has been criticized by an independent oversight panel for presenting "incorrect" and "misleading" informa...

FTB spends 5 years, fails to collect $392

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Franchise Tax Board

  California’s Franchise Tax Board spent thousands of dollars over five years in the futile pursuit of a Redondo Beach septuagenarian for $392. For more than half of that time, FTB staff lost the taxpayer's records and didn’t inform him of it. Willard Christine appealed the FTB’s ta...

Court hears objections to high-speed rail

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
NEW: Court hears objections to high-speed rail

This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Part 1 is here. The first article in this series on the crucial May 23 hearing before the Third District Court of Appeal reported that questions asked by the justices seemed to lean in one direction: toward a reversal of a lower-court decision on March 4 ...

Judge blasts ‘corrupt’ Cal Fire in wildfire lawsuit

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Moolight Fire, wikimedia

  Superior Court Judge Leslie Nichols this month ruled that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection repeatedly deceived and withheld evidence in a lawsuit seeking $8.1 million from a company and several landowners for a wildfire that the company did not cause. The judge furthe...

Covered California video features gyrating Richard Simmons

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Covered California video features gyrating Richard Simmons

Facing a $78 million budget shortfall, Covered California spent $1.37 million on an outreach campaign that included a video featuring exercise guru Richard Simmons gyrating on the floor and hugging a kneeling contortionist whose buttocks stuck in the air. The “Tell a Friend -- Get Covered” ca...

Buy 1, Get 3 Free! Experts say Obamacare ‘grace period’ gives fraudsters the green light

Monday, November 25th, 2013
Louie Gohmert officialphoto

Tucked inside nearly 11,000 pages of the Affordable Care Act is a little-known provision that doles out three months of free health care to individuals who choose to default on their premiums. People who receive the federal subsidy to be part of Obamacare will be allowed to incur a three-...

Disability groups deliver petitions to Goodwill

Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Goodwill donations

  Disability advocacy groups throughout the country are planning a sizeable delivery to Goodwill Industries today. But, instead of secondhand clothing or gently-used goods, the disability rights groups will be dropping off thousands of signed petitions from citizens who are demanding that the no...