WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today,U.S. Senator Rand Paul released the latest edition of ‘The Waste Report,’ an ongoing project cataloguing egregious examples of waste within the U.S. government.
In today’s report, Dr. Paul uncovers the Department of State offering a grant of $60,000 in taxpayer funds to train television camera operators for Estonia’s ETV+ channel. Since ETV+ is Estonian Public Broadcasting’s third television channel, the American people would be right to ask how all the existing television camera expertise disappeared - and why they have to pay to replace it.
‘The Waste Report’ can be found HERE or below.
From slowly panning in when things get serious, to the fast-paced pursuit of a running back breaking away, television cameras and their operators play an integral and often unsung role in our TV viewing experience. But operating a TV camera is not easy; it is a technical job that requires advanced training. Thanks to the U.S. Department of State (State), you are paying for some of that special training… in Estonia.
State is currently advertising a $60,000 grant opportunity to train camera operators for ETV+, Estonian Public Broadcasting’s (ERR) Russian-speaking channel. Interested parties are invited to submit proposals, which should include sending an American team of trainers, including a Russian-English translator, to Estonia to conduct training there. Separately, in July or August, “when [the] ETV+ production team is on leave,” the grant recipient is expected to bring five camera operators to the U.S. for a 10-day training session in a “learning-studio.”
Since it is a public broadcasting channel, ETV+ is primarily funded through Estonia’s Ministry of Culture, receiving about €1.8 million in startup cash last year and having a €2.53 million budget for 2015 - in which it planned to air just two hours of original programming daily. ETV+, by the way, is ERR’s third TV channel, so one might expect the technical expertise for camera operation to already exist within the ERR family.
We also should note that since we first discovered this grant opportunity, the original posting has been taken down and replaced with a new posting under a similar, but different, grant opportunity number. The only other change was to take out reference specifically to ETV+. Perhaps someone realized an observer (such as the FSO Subcommittee) might start looking into ETV+ and asking why the U.S. taxpayers are funding this?