Hugh Pickens writes writes: "NBC reports that airport travelers left behind $409,085.56 in loose change at security checkpoints in 2010 providing an additional source of funding for the Transportation Security Administration. “TSA puts (the leftover money) in a jar at security checkpoint, at the end of each shift they take it, count it, put it in an envelope and send it to the finance office," says TSA spokesperson Nico Melendez. "“It is amazing. All that change, it all adds up." Melendez adds that the money goes into the general operating budget for TSA that is typically used for technology, light bulbs or just overall general expenses. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) has introduced legislation that would direct the TSA to transfer unclaimed money recovered at airport security checkpoints to the United Service Organizations (USO), a private nonprofit that operates centers for the military at 41 U.S. airports. “The congressman feels giving it to the USO to help with onsite airport service for active members of the military would be a good use for it," says Miller spokesperson Dan McFaul. The recovered change is not to be confused with the theft that occurs when TSA agents augment their salary by helping themselves to the contents of passengers’ luggage as it passes through security checkpoints. For example in 2009, a half dozen TSA agents at Miami International Airport were charged with grand theft after boosting an iPod, bottles of perfume, cameras, a GPS system, a Coach purse, and a Hewlett Packard Mini Notebook from passengers’ luggage as travelers at just this one airport reported as many as 1,500 items stolen, the majority of which were never recovered."
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