View Photo Gallery: A look back at some government blunders, from the not-quite-$16 muffin to troubles at the FAA.

So what was the federal government’s biggest “oops” moment of the year? The readers have spoken.


With more than 7,500 votes cast, readers of The Federal Eye believe that new reports of federal waste — erroneous payments to dead people, fraud tied to the economic stimulus program and lax oversight of tax cuts, among other examples — were the biggest mistake or concern across the federal government in 2011.

Close on its heels, readers said the “Fast and Furious” scandal still unfolding at the Justice Department should rank second, followed by the multiple threats of a government shutdown amid disagreements over federal spending. And while we initially gave readers 11 choices to choose from, a reader-submitted suggestion managed to top several others: Readers believe that the Defense Department’s decision to move thousands of employees to the new Mark Center office complex in Northern Virginia — a facility with insufficient parking and public transportation options — was the government’s fifth-biggest mistake of the year.

Check how the readers ranked other “oops” moments below — and tell us whether you agree or disagree in the comments section below. Then, check back next Tuesday to see what WE think were the biggest “oops” moments of the year:

1.) Federal Waste : Benefits paid to dead feds, taxpayers erroneously collecting tax credits and stimulus recipients owing millions in taxes.

2.) Fast and Furious : The evolving DOJ scandal that has Republican tongues wagging.

3.) Government Shutdown Averted : But not before weeks of uncertainty and congressional gridlock.

4.) Air Force Mortuary Scandal : The Air Force admits to “gross mismanagement” at Dover Air Force Base mortuary.

5.) “DOD’s smart idea of moving 6,000 workers to a facility that has no access to public mass transportation.” (The reader-submitted idea.)

6.) Solyndra : Allegations of improper stimulus grants awarded to a now-bankrupt energy company.

7.) FAA : An administrator arrested for drunk driving, an unpaid furlough for thousands of workers and air traffic controllers asleep on the job.

8.) TSA : Security agents acting badly and continued backlash for enhanced screening.

9.) Malfunctions : OPM relaunches the federal jobs site but faces weeks of glitches and criticism.

10.) Blame Canada : Labor Secretary Hilda Solis raves about how her SUV created American jobs, but turns out it was mostly made in Canada.

11.) OPM’s Snow Day Miscue : An early dismissal for federal workers in January tied up traffic for hours.

12.) The Justice Department’s Muffin Mess : A watchdog report suggests the department paid a high price for breakfast, but turns out it didn’t.

Agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Further reading:

House, Senate payroll tax cut bills compared

Year-long D.C. undercover sting netted arrests, guns, drugs

For more, visit PostPolitics and The Fed Page.