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Tales of the Red Tape #10: The State Department’s Passport Inquisition
Posted By Diane Katz On May 13, 2011 @ 3:00 pm In Economics | Comments Disabled
Rewarding failure is a fundamental precept of The Bureaucratic Code, which helps to explain why government’s regulatory powers grow in spite of its incompetence. Examples are legion, of course, including the recent case of the State Department and passport fraud.
The General Accounting Office (GAO) has on several occasions investigated the department’s procedures for processing passport applications and found them dangerously wanting. In 2009, for example, the GAO  “easily” obtained passports using counterfeit documents. A 2010 investigation  also yielded passports despite numerous discrepancies and suspicious indicators within each application (including, for example, photos of the same investigator on multiple applications; a 62-year-old applicant using a Social Security number issued in 2009; passport and driver’s license photos showing a 10-year age difference; and the use of a California mailing address, a West Virginia permanent address and driver’s license address, and a Washington, D.C., phone number in the same application).
So, pray tell, just how do State Department officials propose to remedy the problem? Predictably, they are proposing to expand the very investigatory powers they have failed to use properly and, in so doing, impose onerous new burdens  on passport applicants—i.e., us.
Specifically, the department is proposing a new passport application, Form DS-5513 . It would require the name and address of your every employer, as well every supervisor’s name, and the address of your every residence. And if you were not born in a hospital (or if your birth was not officially recorded within a year) you would also have to document:
In their submission  for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (as required under the Paperwork Reduction Act!), department officials claim the new application will take just 45 minutes, on average, to complete. But that calculation comes from the very same folks who issued passports to fictitious and fraudulent applicants.
Want to read more Tales of the Red Tape? Check out these stories below:
#1: We See Dead People 
#2: The EPA Is Fueling Nonsense 
#3: Don’t Touch That Dial! 
#6: Equine Equality Under the ADA 
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/05/13/tales-of-the-red-tape-10-the-state-department%e2%80%99s-passport-inquisition/
URLs in this post:
 GAO: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09447.pdf
 investigation: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10922t.pdf
 new burdens: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/05/Combating-Passport-Fraud-The-Right-Steps-for-the-State-Department?query=Combating+Passport+Fraud:+The+Right+Steps+for+the+State+Department
 Form DS-5513: http://papersplease.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/ds5513-proposed.pdf
 submission: http://frwebgate1.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/PDFgate.cgi?WAISdocID=KXKMjN/16/2/0&WAISaction=retrieve
 We See Dead People: http://www.foundry.org/2011/02/22/tales-of-the-red-tape-we-see-dead-people
 The EPA Is Fueling Nonsense: http://www.foundry.org/2011/03/15/the-epa-is-fueling-nonsense
 Don’t Touch That Dial!: http://www.foundry.org/2011/03/23/tales-of-the-red-tape-dont-touch-that-dial
 The Unwitting Peddlers of Toxic Tomes: http://www.foundry.org/2011/03/30/tales-of-the-red-tape-4-the-unwitting-peddlers-of-toxic-tomes
 Calorie Counts Forced Down Our Throats: http://www.foundry.org/2011/04/06/tales-of-the-red-tape-5-calorie-counts-forced-down-our-throats
 Equine Equality Under the ADA: http://www.foundry.org/?p=57075
 Energy Department Plumbing for More Regulatory Powers: http://www.foundry.org/2011/04/21/energy-department-plumbing-for-more-regulatory-powers
 How Many Hazmat Suits Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?: http://www.foundry.org/2011/04/26/tales-of-the-red-tape-8-how-many-hazmat-suits-does-it-take-to-change-a-light-bulb
 Regulators Going Off on Microwave Ovens: http://www.foundry.org/?p=58680
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