Inspector General Report
From: Department of Interior
Date: January 10, 2012
Re: Inspector General follows up on management of funding to Indian schools
Background: Interior Department officials recently checked to see if five recommendations that the agency’s Inspector General made in April 2010 had been implemented. The recommendations involved the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) management of Recovery funded programs for improving/repairing American Indian schools. BIA should:
- Obtain refunds of any advance payments to programs that later fail to adhere to specified terms.
- Ensure building repairs and improvements are funded enough to be fully completed and functional.
- Clarify the roles and responsibilities of those in charge of accountability and transparency of Recovery funds.
- Direct all tribes and contractors to post information about whistleblower protection on the project site.
- Consider using a secure, web-based project management system.
Findings: BIA had implemented all but the last recommendation, which BIA said would not be compatible with its firewall system; Interior officials concurred.
You’ve notified the Recovery Board that you suspect fraud, waste and abuse involving a Recovery project. What happens to your complaint?
The Board’s fraud analysts review every complaint received. First, they try to determine if, in fact, Recovery funds are involved and, if so, which federal agency issued the award.
The analysts then focus on the company or companies involved, looking for information that may not have been apparent or available to government officials when the award was issued. Analysts also check whether any company has a criminal history or has ever been debarred from working with the government.
When all possible information has been gathered and analysts have determined the allegation is substantive, a report is sent to the Inspector General of the agency that issued the award; the Board will follow up with the IG until the complaint has been reviewed and/or the matter closed.
You may or may not be contacted by the Inspector General’s office. That might be due to the sheer volume of complaints received or because you provided all information needed. In either case, your complaint is treated seriously.
On January 14, 2011, recipients of Recovery Act contracts, grants, and loans completed reporting for the period October 1 through December 31, 2010. From January 14 through the 29th, federal agencies and recipients reviewed the reports and recipients made changes and corrections. On January 30, the Recovery Board posted the recipient data on Recovery.gov — the sixth quarter that the data has been successfully collected and published in compliance with the Recovery Act. There are 10 more reporting quarters prior to the Board’s scheduled expiration in September 2013.
The quarterly reporting cycle is unique in a number of ways. First, it allows the data to be available on Recovery.gov in almost real time, providing an unprecedented level of transparency. The reports provide detailed information on the expenditures of federal stimulus dollars and jobs funded under the program. Finally, there has been a high rate of reporting compliance because the data is posted publicly and in a timely fashion.
Looking forward, the Recovery Board is evaluating ways to extend its recipient reporting model and the technologies developed for reporting to other federal spending programs.