It’s nice to know we still have politicians in Washington who feel it their duty to be good stewards of the American tax dollar. 

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is one of these good stewards (full disclosure: I used to work for the Senator and I remain a big fan!).  Today, he released a treasure map of sorts—a map that leads to where your taxpayer dollars are being wasted spent. Treasure MAP: The Market Access Program’s Bounty of Waste, Loot and Spoils Plundered from Taxpayers highlights more than $2 billion in taxpayer dollars that are being used to pay the advertising costs of U.S. companies doing business overseas through a little-known U.S. Department of Agriculture program called the Market Access Program (MAP). That’s right, you, the beleaguered taxpayer are paying the advertising bills for wealthy corporations.

Among the more bizarre findings the report exposes:

  • An almond growing company has received more than$28 million from MAP since 1999 to market its almonds overseas.
  • A reality television show filmed in India $20 million.
  • An American fruit company has received $34.1 million since 1999.
  • California raisin growers received $31.7 million since 1998 to promote branded California raisins, internationally.
  • A company specializing in organic hair products for dogs, cats, and horses, including “Boost! Volumizing Spray” and “Freeze! Hair Hold” hair sprays for dogs, received MAP funds to boost sales in the U.S. and overseas.