10/18/2012 01:31 pm ET Updated Oct 19, 2012

Talking Urinal Cakes, Other Michigan Purchases Make Senator's Wasteful Government Spending List

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is sick of the government flushing money down the toilet, so each year he releases an annual "wastebook" that documents instances of wasteful spending.

The 2012 Wastebook highlights several questionable examples from the Great Lakes State, including a decision by Michigan state police to use $10,000 in federal funds to buy talking urinal cakes.

The police agency bought 400 Interactive Urinal Communicators from the Maryland-based Wizmark company and distributed them to around 200 bars and restaurants.

According to the report, the motion-activated devices will when urinated upon respond with a variety of messages, including a woman's voice saying:

“Listen up. That’s right! I’m talking to you. Had a few drinks? Maybe a few too many? Then do yourself and everyone else a favor. Call a sober friend or a cab. Oh, and don’t forget. Wash your hands.”

The state transportation department had hoped the devices would provoke discussion among male bar patrons.

"Not only do we want to turn some heads and get people talking, we hope everyone takes the message to heart," Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said in a statement cited in an earlier HuffPost article.

Coburn suggests distributing professional breathalyzers, which cost under $100 each, would have been a more cost-effective way to reduce drunk driving.

But that's not Coburn's only example of wasteful government spending in the Mitten State.

A Birmingham, Michigan cupcake shop, the Cupcake Station, also made an appearance in Wastebook 2012. It's listed as one of ten cupcake businesses that received $2 million in loan guarantees from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Wastebook notes that taxpayers have already spent $19,935 to setup and finance the loans.

And three recently-built sidewalk ramps located at the intersection of a highway and a four-lane road in Kent County, Michigan were also listed in the report. The ramps, which are not connected to any sidewalks, cost about $10,000 and were part of project that used mostly federal funds. Officials from the county built them to comply with federal regulations.



29 Ways You Waste Cash