US year-end sprees detailed

Government agencies waste at least $2 billion each year in "hurry up" year-end spending splurges, according to a Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee report released Sunday.

The study found spending abuses in 10 federal agencies and listed dozens of "use it or lose it" purchases at the end of recent fiscal years. It said the expenditures come as agencies try "to prevent funds from reverting to the Treasury or to prevent budget cuts."

For example, the panel found that the Army awarded $187,631 worth of contracts on the last working day of fiscal 1978 for construction at a base scheduled to be closed.

It also found that the Interior Department purchased $378,000 worth of furniture in the last month of fiscal 1979, even though the department was paying more than $200,000 a year to store more than $300,000 worth of unused furniture.

In fiscal 1977 and 1978, expenditures in September, the last month of the fiscal year, exceeded those for August by an average of $41 billion, a 95 percent increase, the report said.

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