Recovery Blog

Keeping Faith with Taxpayers

Posted in Accountability by on December 12, 2012

The good news: Almost all recipients of Recovery Act funds submit spending reports as required by law.

The bad news: Some recipients do not report, meaning the American public, in those cases, has no idea how its tax dollars are being used.

For those scofflaws, we created the “Wall of Shame,’’ a listing of recipients who essentially thumbed their noses at taxpayers. This time around—for the quarter ending September 30—recipients failed to submit 353 reports on how they used Recovery funds. Ten recipients, including four government entities, failed to submit reports in three or more quarters, the new listing shows.

The excuses ran the gamut. Three recipients told federal agencies they were “unable to access a computer over the weekend.’’ Another recipient reported being out of the country while still another claimed she was on vacation. The Labor Department said one recipient of a $3.2 million grant gave this reason: “Grantee president responsible for approving report had deceased; no backup plan in place.’’

The last time I reported on this issue, the largest number of non-compliers had received Justice Department grants. Unfortunately, in the most recent quarter, this troubling pattern continued—34 percent, or 120, of the awards on the Wall of Shame represented grants from the Justice Department. These included police departments, sheriff’s offices, and city and county governments.

Looking at the big picture, reporting compliance is excellent. In this past quarter, recipients submitted 105,784 spending reports to the Recovery Board.

– Michael Wood, Executive Director, Recovery Board

7 Responses

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  1. magicorg said, on December 14, 2012 at 8:02 am

    What should be done with extra money when the state raises more in tax revenue than it is legally entitled to spend?
    That question is presented by official estimates that in the current (1997-1999) biennium Washington State will raise approximately $350 million more in revenues than has been appropriated. The state also has a $502 million surplus carried forward from the previous (1995-1997) biennium. To help citizens understand their options, the Washington Institute Foundation recently published a study by former Senator Emilio Cantu and Craig Schmid.
    The Foundation believes there is no such thing as “public money.” State revenues are nothing more than the money of citizens and taxpayers appropriated to public use through taxation. The first claim on excess revenues, therefore, belongs to the working men and women who earned that money.

  2. Rick de Boer said, on January 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I agree with you magicorg, As an ex USA citizen and native I already moved in 1992 to Europe (Germany).
    Not that the people here do receive what they belong, the money is mostly used in maintaining one of the strongest economies of Europe if not of the world.

    Nevertheless I think that every recipient of Recovery funds should have detailed information about how they spend it.
    This is the same thing that every citizen is obligated to do, specify their earnings and pay taxes, why should they don’t do it ?

  3. KC vet said, on January 29, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    How exactly four “government entities” repeatedly got away with skipping filing disclosure reports of how the funds were used is something that cannot be tolerated, and needs to be investigated and stopped. If they refuse to disclose, they should not receive any funds. Filing detailed disclosures was from the beginning a pre-condition of receiving recovery funds.

    While the failure to file disclosure reports is still egregious in the case of non-governmental entities and should be subject to the same penalties, the government entities guilty in this case are a prime example of what causes taxpayers to lose faith.

  4. Niki Kole said, on February 4, 2013 at 3:13 am

    Taxes are too high for the average American right now. And they are aware of that. I don’t think the average taxpayer is happy, when he/she pays more than the rich people…

  5. Jesse said, on March 3, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    I completely agree with Rick. We need reports. Everyone American is expected to report, so should all recipient of Recovery Act.

  6. Beatriz said, on April 9, 2013 at 9:07 am

    It is interesting and discomforting that those receiving recovery funds in the justice department are not being transparent about how they are using these funds. They should be providing the example for others.

  7. Beatriz said, on April 9, 2013 at 9:18 am

    It is both shameful and disomforting that those using the funds most like the department of justice are not providing transparency of the funds so what can be expected of everyone else.

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