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Looking for Something Haunting this Halloween?: DC’s Scariest Statistics

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 statisticsiWatch News has uncovered this year. Read at your own risk. 



1,998 firearms

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed to pass from weapons dealers to gun runners during a 15-month period. 

4,300 lives

Could have been saved annually if President Obama had allowedrecommendations from the EPA for air quality regulations. 

184 bundlers

Number 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. 

2,000 lbs.

Amount of mislabeled fish product, previously deemed ready for sale, that was pulled from El Corte Inglés store shelves across Spain.

50 refineries

That continue to use dangerous hydrofluoric acid, putting workers and 16 million Americans who live nearby at risk. 

$1.5 billion

The Department of Defense’s estimated cost of bringing its accounting practices (for an annual budget of $671 billion) to a ‘reliable’ level. 

2.9 million

Number of Americans whose clean drinking water would be affected by the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would stretch across the U.S. 

29 doctors

Gathered to set the cost of more than 200 different Medicare-funded medical procedures. 


The markup charged to the U.S. Army by defense contractor Boeing for a helicopter part worth $190 — they paid $3,369.48. 

$2 billion

Portion of the Department of Defense’s budget that is used to fund U.S. involvement in Iraq, each week. 


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. 


The increase in usage of limousines for transportation by the Obama administration over the previous Bush administration. 


Portion of Medicare-funded cancer screenings that are medically unnecessary. 
Reprinted by Permission © 2023, The Center for Public Integrity®. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume I, Number 302

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The Center for Public Integrity is dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern in the USA and around the world.