Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of the final report examining the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) administration of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding. This report follows two previously issued interim reports and includes the DOJ Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) analysis of recipient drawdowns, expenditures, and program activities. This final report also includes the results of an OIG survey distributed to OJP Bureau of Justice Assistance staff charged with oversight of Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) grants.
As described in today’s report, we found that OJP acted quickly to distribute CESF funding and that most recipient spending we reviewed appeared allowable under the terms and conditions of the grants. However, we noted that as of March 31, 2021, nearly a year after the first grant was made, CESF recipients reported spending or obligating just 40 percent of the total amount awarded. As the country continues to make progress in combatting the ongoing pandemic, OJP must continue to carefully monitor CESF funds to ensure they are spent in the manner intended. We also noted the following areas of concern:
- We found that some OJP staff reported that they did not receive training on the CESF program or were dissatisfied with the training they received.
- Some grant managers reported that CESF performance reports do not contain the information necessary to effectively oversee CESF grants.
The OIG will continue monitoring OJP’s management of CESF grants and may perform future audits to ensure the appropriate expenditures of CESF funds. Additionally, the DOJ OIG continues to partner with the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to review and assess CARES Act spending across the federal government.
The DOJ OIG made three recommendations to assist OJP with CESF training efforts and performance report submissions. OJP agreed with all three recommendations.