Tipton tries to stop cash for surveys

A measure to prohibit federal agencies from sending cash in mass surveys would halt practices that critics say is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The Survey Savings Accountability Act also would ensure the quality of the surveys, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R. Colo., said in introducing the measure.

Sending cash in the mail with surveys “is a blatant waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars” and raises questions about the quality of the data it generates,” Tipton said in a statement.

Tipton earlier this year attached an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill banning affected agencies such as Bureau of Reclamation from funding surveys in which money is used to encourage respondents to complete the surveys.

The bill he introduced would broaden the ban to all agencies.

The practice came to light when the Bureau of Reclamation in 2011 sent almost $30,000 in a survey about removing four dams in California and Oregon.

The survey was mailed to 11,000 households in California, Oregon and selected households elsewhere.  Each received packets with a cover letter, postage-paid return envelope and survey with a $2 bill included.

Of the 1,245 people who failed to respond, 286 filled out forms when they were contacted a second time and given $20 each.

One respondent commented, “No wonder the US is having $$ problems if the government has extra $2 bills to mail out randomly,” and another wrote back, “Wow, what a waste of time. I have neither the time or interest in something I have not a clue about happening clear across the country. Sorry.

“P.S.Thanks for the 2 bucks.”


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