It might have been cheaper if the feds had plugged BP's blown wellhead with dollar bills—or so an early AP analysis of Uncle Sam's expenditures on the response and cleanup. Mind you, these details are for the first $142 million the government is disclosing, a small fraction; BP, however, has already been billed for more than $500,000. Among the bizarre, mundane, and mysterious budget lines:
- $18,000 PR monitoring: Apparently bearing Dubya's Katrina experience in mind, the White House paid a FEMA contract worker $18,000 to write reports about whether media coverage of the response was positive, negative, or misinformed. Feds say BP's paying for this one.
- $10,000 video: Showed a routine oil rig inspection; unclear if ever used by any media.
- $216,625 no-bid contract to survey seabirds: This one went to an environmental group that has slammed Sarah Palin's "extreme anti-conservation record." Sarah Palin, who might run in 2012, notes the AP.
- $52,000 on a boat charter: This was described as a "marine charter for things." Clearly...
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