Mitt Romney constantly raves about how he turned the 2002 US Olympics around and made it solvent again. Prior to Romney’s appointment, surrogates say, the 2002 Olympics was fraught with reports of fraud and mismanagement. Romney acted as CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee from 1999 to 2002. As CEO, Romney received one of those despised ‘big government handouts’ — $1.3 billion from the federal government to fund the games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A report from the US General Accounting Office (GAO) detailed how government funds were disbursed and assigned. As reported on page 36 of the GAO document, of the $1.3 billion, only $254 million (20%) provided for activities related to planning and staging the games. The remaining $1 billion (80%) were used mostly for highway and transit projects that Utah and Salt Lake City officials wanted to have completed. The report presented a pie chart of allocated funds; the caption for this pie chart reads:
Figure 2.4: As of April 2000, Projects Related to Preparing Salt Lake City to Host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games Accounted for the Majority of the Federal Funding and Support
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was appalled and dismayed at the level at which Olympics funds were looted and redistributed “into an incredible pork-barrel project for Salt Lake City and its environs.”
“The GAO now determines that $1.3 billion–and some of those I will read: $974,000 for the Utah State Olympic Public Safety Command; $5 million for the Utah Communications Agency Network; $3 million to Olympic Regional Development Authority, upgrades at Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex; $2.5 million, Salt Lake City Olympics bus facilities; $2.5 million, Salt Lake City Olympics regional park-and-ride lots; $500,000, Salt Lake City Olympics transit bus loan, and on and on; $925,000 to allow the Utah State Olympic Public Safety Command to continue to develop and support a public safety program for the 2002 Winter Olympics; $1 million for the 2002 Winter Olympics security training; $2.2 million for the Charleston Water Conservancy District, UT, to meet sewer infrastructure needs associated with the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. What the Olympic games supposedly hosted and funded by Salt Lake City, which began in corruption and bribery, has now turned into is an incredible pork-barrel project for Salt Lake City and its environs.”
– Sen. John McCain in the United States Senate, Sept. 19, 2000 ─ [Page S8731-S8748 - Congressional Record.]
Romney’s great accomplishment – managing the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic was a massive redistribution of government funds. For a man who claims to be a “Washington outsider,” Mitt has over $1 billion in pork to his name. Impressive!