The National Guard is apparently getting next to no bang for its buck when it comes to a massive sponsorship deal with NASCAR. According to a new report published in USA Today, the Guard spent a total of $88 million on the sponsorship agreement with NASCAR between 2011 and 2013, with nary a new recruit to show for it. Particularly in 2012, the Guard spent $26.5 million to sponsor NASCAR, which netted 24,800 prospective recruits directly from the program. However, of that group only 20 met the qualifications for entry into the Guard, and not a single one actually joined.
The stunning figures have not gone unnoticed. "Not getting any recruits spending 90 million dollars...it doesn't matter what organization anyone works for, you just stop doing that," says Tom Schatz with Citizens Against Government Waste. "But here in Washington, since there are no consequences for wasting the taxpayers' money in most cases, we just keep spending it." Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) echoed similar sentiments as she prepared to hold a hearing on the Guard recruitment program this week. She accused the Guard of "wasting a bunch of money."
Schatz tells KTRH there have been legislative efforts in Congress to end this type of spending, but all have failed so far. "We're going to continue to support efforts to stop the Department of Defense from spending tens of millions of dollars on sporting event sponsorships," he says. "The Department of Defense is under sequestration, they are fighting for every penny they can to defend the country, and sports sponsorships should not be something that DoD is doing." Indeed, other service branches, including the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard all canceled past sponsor deals with NASCAR. Critics want the National Guard to join that list. "There are far more important things for the Department of Defense to be doing than sponsoring sporting events," says Schatz.