Keeping Faith with Taxpayers
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