A surprising new government report shows that taxpayers have been footing the bill for retiree benefits not just for federal workers, but for independent freelance contractors who do work for the government as well.

And no one is watching the store to see if your tax dollars are being wasted.

Taxpayers for years have been covering private contractors’ retiree costs for things like pensions and health care, even though these workers are not on the federal payroll.

For the Department of Energy alone, overall this coverage cost taxpayers $6.8 billion over the last 10 years, according to the new GAO report recently sent to Congress. Nine out of ten  dollars spent on the DOE’s annual budget goes towards contracts, including contractor retiree benefits.

The problem is, the GAO only knows about this problem at the DOE — no one in government knows, or is tracking with regular, transparent reports to Congress, the tax money going out the door for these costs at other agencies, like the Pentagon, Homeland Security, the National Institutes of Health, or NASA.

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