The data come from the General Services Administration.
Mo' Better Cars
CPI's report titled "Limousine liberals? Number of government-owned limos has soared under Obama," published at iWatchnews.org, the group's investigative publication, shows just how much this administration's liberals love a good ride.
According to General Services Administration data, the number of limousines in the federal fleet increased from 238 in fiscal 2008, the last year of the George W. Bush administration, to 412 in 2010. Much of the 73 percent increase — 111 of the 174 additional limos — took place in fiscal 2009, more than eight months of which corresponded with Obama’s first year in office. However, some of those purchases could reflect requests made by the Bush administration during an appropriations process that would have begun in the spring of 2008.
The fattest federal fat cats, iWatch reported, were at the State and Homeland Security departments. State had 259 limos, an increase of 194 since 2008, and DHS had 118, a loss of four.
The State Department … said its limos are deployed by overseas diplomats and in the United States by Secretary of State Clinton and “distinguished foreign visitors.” Many of the limos in its fleet are armored to protect against attack. The department said its Obama-era increase in armored limos is “both in proportion to the increased threat to diplomats serving overseas and is in proportion to the increase number of diplomats we have serving in high threat environments.” Appropriations documents indicate the State Department was engaged in a longer-term effort to increase the number of armored vehicles that would have stretched back to at least 2007.
And what do the department's "protectees" ride in? In a $60,000 Cadillac DTS, which is the base price that does not include the cost of outfitting the limo with armor-plate.
Who Knows How Many Limos the Government Really Has? Not GSA
Yet an even more staggering figure from GSA is how much gas this green administration burns, apropos of its ban on drilling for new oil resources off the shores of the United States, instead subsidizing oil profits for Brazil's Petrobras. All totaled, the government "burned through 963,000 gallons of fuel a day with its fleet of 600,00 vehicles." And Uncle Sam "spent $1.9 billion on new vehicles in fiscal 2009," the website reports.
Topping all this off, GSA isn't sure how many limos the government owns. The number could be lower … or perhaps much higher, iWatch reported, citing a GSA spokesman:
The GSA said its limousine numbers are not reliable, even though the federal fleet numbers are officially recorded every year. In a statement, GSA spokeswoman Sara Merriam said, “The categories in the Fleet Report are overly broad, and the term 'limousine' is not defined,” adding that “vehicles represented as limousines can range from protective duty vehicles to sedans.” Asked whether the GSA actually knows how many limos it has in its fleet, Merriam responded that GSA “cannot say that its report accurately reflects the number of limousines.”
iWatch interviewed a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, who was none too happy about the inability of the federal bureaucracy to keep track of the automobiles it owns. “They can’t figure out a way to define a limo?" asked Leslie Paige of CAGW. "How hard can it be? If the government can’t track limos, I’m not sure we should trust the numbers they put out there on anything.”