Poor legislation passed by Congress in 1985 led to the Department of Defense spending $46 million to give away federal property valued at $48.8 billion, charges Bill Arseneau, director of the state's Federal Property Assistance Program.

Citing a report by the General Accounting Office, Arseneau said the property went to foreign countries. The bill under which the assistance was given was originally intended to supply help to Afghanistan and Cambodia for humanitarian assistance but was later interpreted to include all foreign countries, he said.Before passage of the McCollum Amendment to the Defense Authorization Act, states had priority on federal-surplus property. Butforeign governments are first, hesaid.

"That's not right," said Arseneau. "The American taxpayer paid for the property in the first place and it just doesn't make any sense to make them pay for it again and then give it away to foreign countries."