Kellan Howell, The Washington Times
• The Department of State has spent over $36 million on public opinion polling in foreign countries, including nations that are U.S. allies.
• In fiscal years 2007 and 2008, the State Department dabbled in the culinary arts, spending roughly $62,000 on cooking videos and demonstrations promoting U.S. agricultural products overseas, including an online cooking demonstration streamed in Japan. ...
Overseas, the State Department and the U.S. Army spend heavily on surveys, with purchases totaling roughly $56 million since 2007.
Much of that spending is vague. Of the $36.5 million the State Department spent on international polling since 2007, $34.3 million was disclosed as being paid to “miscellaneous foreign vendors.”
In an email to The Washington Times, a State Department official said the department “endeavors to be good stewards of taxpayer money,” and added that the agency looks for efficiencies in its programs and reviews expenses, “always aware of the fiscal restraints in which all government institutions must operate.” ...