The zombie apocalypse may be fake, but officials spent real government money preparing for it.
That's according to an annual report from Sen. Tom Coburn that documents wasteful spending by the Department of Homeland Security.
The report asserts that the DHS spent $35 million to shore up security across the country. But not all the money was well spent, says Coburn.
The Oklahoma senator stated in a press release announcing the report, "Safety at Any Price," that "This report shows that too often so-called security spending is making our nation less secure by directing scarce dollars to low-priority projects and low-risk areas."
He added, "For instance, paying for first responders to attend a HALO Counterterrorism Summit at a California island spa resort featuring a simulated zombie apocalypse does little to discourage potential terrorists."
One of the sillier expenses was a demonstration of how to suppress a zombie apocalypse. According to Coburn:
Strategic Operations, a tactical training firm, was hired to put on a "zombie-driven show" designed to simulate a real-life terrorism event. The firm performed two shows on Halloween, which featured 40 actors dressed as zombies getting gunned down by a military tactical unit.
Other less dramatic but possibly questionable expenditures, according to the report, include a tank-like "bearcat" purchased by the city of Keane, New Hampshire, (population of 23,000) to patrol a pumpkin patch festival. An underwater robot bought for $98,000 in a town in Ohio was said to be used for underwater rescues.
Another odd purchase: The report alleges that Michigan law enforcement officials used DHS funds to buy 13 snow cone machines.
For its part, the DHS spokesman told U.S. News that its funding decisions are fine.
"The Department appreciates the issues raised in Senator Coburn's report, but fundamentally disagrees with the report's position on the value of homeland security grants and the importance of investments in our first responders on the frontlines and the development of critical capabilities at the local level. We have seen the value of these grants time and again."