If you’ve ever lived in Chicago, you know all about ghost voters. Len O’Connor’s political biography of Mayor Richard J. Daley, Boss, detailed the rampant vote fraud that customarily took place in Chicago. O’Connor explained in some detail how these sketchy practices gave JFK his razor-thin victory in 1960. The votes of the Deceased-American community have put not only JFK but also many other Democrats into office over the years, and I suspect that Barack Hussein Obama got his start in politics that way too.
Nothing has changed since Hizzoner’s day, except perhaps for the voting-machine technology that allows vote fraud to be perpetrated more efficiently and with less likelihood of detection. Then as now, the Democrats concentrate their ghost-voter fraud in minority and/or poverty-stricken wards and precincts where they already have control; the additional, fraudulent Democrat votes are “lost in the noise” and thus go undetected.
Ghost voters haunt many places besides Chicago. That’s why Republican candidates know that, in order to win, they have to garner a simple majority plus enough additional votes to overcome the “margin of fraud.” And that’s why the Democrats are mounting a panic-stricken resistance against State government requirements for voter identification. It’ll be a lot more work for them to forge and distribute credible fake IDs for all of those ghost voters.
The term “ghost payroll” seldom refers to the Deceased-American community per se. Usually, it involves government employees who receive paychecks but who seldom (or never) show up or do any work. Here again, that’s a long-standing Chicago tradition.
The term “ghost payroll” also refers to “corrupt labor unions who list employees as active and receiving pay when they are not, in order to steal payroll money for the Mafia”.
A distinct, but related, form of graft is represented by those “double-dippers” who retire from a position as union boss, with a hefty pension, and then go to work for some governmental body to collect another hefty pension. (See: The Obama and Chicago way: One-day rehiring nets former Chicago labor leader a $158,000 city pension.) While flagrantly unethical, such maneuvers are not necessarily illegal.
Here’s where the dead really cash in. (Never mind the fact that hearses don’t come with luggage racks; the family members of the departed, or whoever else is living at their old mailing addresses, do the actual collecting.)
It’s no secret that, under the right circumstances, you can do pretty well for yourself if you land a job with the federal government. And if you stay there long enough, you can set yourself up for a nice, secure retirement situation until you die. But did you know the party doesn’t have to stop just because of a pesky detail such as reaching room temperature? You can keep right on cashing in!
The federal government pays out millions of dollars to dead people each year — including deceased retired federal workers, according to a new report.
In the past five years, the Office of Personnel Management has made more than $601 million in benefits payments to deceased federal annuitants, according to the agency’s inspector general. Total annual payouts range between $100 million and $150 million.
Inspector General Patrick E. McFarland, who previously reported on the improper payments in 2005 and 2008, urged OPM to more closely track such mistakes.
As Doug Mataconis points out at Outside the Beltway, we’re not talking about a staggering amount of money here in terms of the total federal budget, but in today’s toxic atmosphere regarding waste and spending, this is going to be a problem for somebody.
It’s actually quite inexplicable considering that one branch of the Federal Government actually does a fairly decent job of cutting off benefits after death. The Social Security Administration is well-known for sending notices to banks immediately upon learning of a recipients death — something that happens very quickly nowadays since deceased person’s Social Security Numbers are immediately reported as such by the relevant authority in the jurisdiction where they live — and also recouping payments after death on a pro rata basis. Why the OPM is unable to do this?
The other issue, of course, is that there’s some actual fraud going on here. Family members who continue to collect benefits after a retiree dies are defrauding the Federal Government. Since the odds of recovering anything from people like this years after the fact are minimal at best, it strikes me that the best deterrent would be to start prosecuting these people and send the message that defrauding Uncle Sam comes with consequences.
Well, that’s a bit unfair, don’t you think? I mean, in Chicago the dead can vote. How do you expect them to pay for gas to get to the ballot booth if you cut off their retirement benefits?
All jokes aside, this isn’t a new problem. We’ve known about it for years and the story pops up from time to time. (Particularly during a heated election cycle.) The real question, as Doug notes, is how has the OPM failed to make any serious inroads in eliminating it yet when Social Security has been so much more effective in tackling the problem. I assume that each retiree’s social security number is on record and somehow associated with their account. We’re not living in the era of dusty log books kept in hand written records. Do you mean to say there isn’t a way to automatically report the fact that the person has died to OPM as soon as Social Security knows about it?