Monday, May 25, 2015

Interests Section sinks money into flags, signs

U.S. Interests Section is stocking up on flags
The U.S. Interests Section in Havana has spent $473,258 since Dec. 17 when the U.S. and Cuba announced plans to pursue diplomatic relations.
I wonder how much of the some of the spending is tied to the Interests Section's eventual conversion into an embassy. Recent contracts include:
  • $23,560 to Apco Graphics Inc. in Lanham, Md., for "temporary seal and lettering for the building
  • $17,082.25 to CVS Systems Incorporated in Marion, Ind., for American flags (the same company sells the standard 50-star, U.S. government-sanctioned flag and is prepared to sell a 51-star model if Puerto Rico ever becomes a state).
  • $18,546.42 to an undisclosed contractor for an "LED lamp for office building."
Galls "tactical polo shirt"
Other recent expenses include:
  • $10,110 in swimming pool chemicals
  • $7,744.96 for "office supplies - VIP delegation"
  • $3,294.61 in men's footwear from Galls in Lexington, Ky.
  • $4,002 for "tactical polo shirts" from an undisclosed vendor (likely Galls, which sells the shirts for $39.99 to $44.99 each).
The Interests Section top five expenses since Dec. 17 are listed under the following categories:
  • Fuel dealers: $160,386
  • Other depository credit intermediation: $48,000 (Definition: "Establishments primarily engaged in accepting deposits and lending funds (except commercial banking, savings institutions, and credit unions). Establishments known as industrial banks or Morris Plans and primarily engaged in accepting deposits, and private banks...are included in this industry."
  • Facilities support services: $35,380
  • Furniture merchant wholesalers: $24,135
  • Sign manufacturing: $23,274
See interactive graphics of the Interests Section spending here and the State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs here.

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