Accountability

Published — October 28, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Looking for something haunting this Halloween?

Trick or treaters are gather for a Halloween celebrations on the North Lawn of the White House. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Introduction

If you really want to put a fright into the neighbors this weekend, forget the plastic lawn decorations. Instead, read them this bedtime story about how 40% of Medicare-funded cancer screenings are medically unnecessary. Or this one, about the 876% annual interest rate some “payday” lenders have used. As our treat to you this Halloween weekend, we’ve compiled some of the most scary statistics iWatch News has uncovered this year. Read at your own risk.

Frightful facts

1,998 firearmsThe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed to passfrom weapons dealers to gun runners during a 15-month period. By John SolomonDavid Heath and Gordon Witkin
4,300 livesCould have been saved annually if President Obama had allowedrecommendations from the EPA for air quality regulations. By Corbin Hiar
184 bundlersNumber of President Obama’s 2008 fundraisers ($50,000 or more, 556 in total) who were appointed to a key administration position, won a government contract or received similar ‘social’ incentives. By Fred SchulteJohn Aloysius Farrell and Jeremy Borden
2,000 lbs.Amount of mislabeled fish product, previously deemed ready for sale, that was pulled from El Corte Inglés store shelves across Spain. By Mar CabraMarcos Garcia Rey and Kate Willson
50 refineriesThat continue to use dangerous hydrofluoric acid, putting workers and 16 million Americans who live nearby at risk. By Jim Morris and Chris Hamby
$1.5 billionThe Department of Defense’s estimated cost of bringing its accounting practices (for an annual budget of $671 billion) to a ‘reliable’ level. By R. Jeffrey Smith
2.9 millionNumber of Americans whose clean drinking water would be affected by the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would stretch across the U.S. By Corbin Hiar
29 doctorsGathered to set the cost of more than 200 different Medicare-funded medical procedures. By Joe Eaton
1,673%The markup charged to the U.S. Army by defense contractor Boeing for a helicopter part worth $190 — they paid $3,369.48. By Ben Wieder
$2 billionPortion of the Department of Defense’s budget that is used to fund U.S. involvement in Iraq, each week. By Sandy Johnson
876%Maximum annual interest rate charged until recently for a high-cost “payday loan” at Mountain America Credit Union. Controversial high-cost payday lending continues at 14 other non-profit credit unions. By Ben Hallman
73%The increase in usage of limousines for transportation by the Obama administration over the previous Bush administration. By Joe Eaton
40%Portion of Medicare-funded cancer screenings that are medically unnecessary. By Rochelle Sharpe and Elizabeth Lucas

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