HOFFER: State Auditor’s Office pays $41.66 per “Like” on Facebook page of Auditor Tom Salmon’s Weight Loss Program

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Posted on September 4, 2012 in News, Press Releases


BURLINGTON —  Democratic / Progressive candidate for State Auditor Doug Hoffer said current State Auditor Tom Salmon’s $5,000 payment to his former political campaign coordinator for managing the Auditor’s online weight loss program is “a big, fat, waste of taxpayer dollars.”

The payment to John Kleinhans, who coordinated the election campaign for Salmon in 2010 and who is active in Republican politics,[1] was reported on the website of the Vermont Department of Finance & Management.[2]  The $5,000 came from the State’s General Fund.

Hoffer noted that Salmon selected Kleinhans to lead his online program, “Accountable to You, Accountable to Me,” which the Auditor introduced in December of last year.[3]  The program aims to get Vermonters to set personal improvement goals, such as losing 25 lbs., stopping smoking, or saving money for charity in 2012.

Accepting the assignment, Kleinhans noted, “I am really excited. This is a morale boosting vehicle where Vermonters can stand up and make themselves better and their communities better after a difficult year.  If we could find 1,000 Vermonters to save 2012 dollars for others, that is over 2 million dollars…It blows my mind!”[4]

When he introduced the project, Salmon said it would emphasize social media. Kleinhans started a Facebook page for potential participants to get information and updates about the program. As of this week, the Facebook page had 120 “likes.” [5] Hoffer noted “that’s an average cost of $41.66 per like.”

“Ill-advised programs like this are one reason people get upset at government,” Hoffer said.  “Paying your former campaign manager $5,000 to generate a handful of ‘likes’ on Facebook is truly a big, fat, waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Hoffer added, “With the State facing enormous budgetary pressure in a difficult economy, the State Auditor should focus on projects that could have real impact on State finances, and that’s what I intend to do when I am elected State Auditor in November.”

Doug Hoffer has been a policy analyst in Vermont for the last 24 years, including five years under contract to the State Auditor in the late 1990s. Hoffer said, “I’m a numbers guy and my skills and experience are a perfect fit for the job of State Auditor. I’m running because I want to be State Auditor and I do not view the job as a steppingstone.”


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