Kuster wants to close at least some of the federal government’s empty bank accounts

Last modified: 5/7/2013 12:12:19 PM
Apparently, this is the sort of thing that requires an act of Congress: U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster wants to close at least some of the thousands of federal bank accounts that have no money in them.

The federal government is paying service fees for 13,712 bank accounts that show a balance of zero, to the tune of at least $890,000 this year, The Washington Post reported last month.

Federal officials are making a push to close those accounts, and they’re actually making progress — The Post said there were more than 28,000 empty accounts at the end of the 2011 fiscal year.

Now Kuster, a New Hampshire Democrat, and North Dakota Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer are filing legislation that would seek to force federal agencies to shut down those accounts, the “Closing Long-Empty Accounts Now Act.”

Under the bill, the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency would make a list of empty federal bank accounts and recommend which should be closed. Federal agencies would then have a week to comply.

“Both parties can agree that there is no excuse for the government to squander millions of dollars maintaining empty federal bank accounts that serve no purpose,” Kuster said today in a news release. “No family or business would knowingly tolerate that type of waste, and neither should the federal government. That’s just common sense.”

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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