Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a Management Advisory Memorandum to the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) identifying concerns involving its Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) program grants. The RISS program grants fully fund six regional RISS Centers. During our audit of OJP RISS grants awarded to the Rocky Mountain Information Network (RMIN), we identified unallowable and unsupported professional dues paid to the RISS Directors Association (RDA) – a separate, non- profit corporation that the RISS Directors established in 2000. The six RISS Center Executive Directors agreed to pay annual dues of $1,000 to fund the RDA, which is the RDA’s only source of funding. The six RISS Center Executive Directors are also members of the RDA’s board.
We reviewed the RDA’s general ledger from October 2014 through May 2019, and identified a number of expenditures that are generally not allowable under federal awards, including gifts for retiring Executive Directors, trinkets, and payments to an organization that, according to its public website, provides congressional updates, as well as lobbying services. Based on our analysis, it appears that the RDA makes expenditures using RISS grant funds that are not allowed under the RISS program. Assuming that the RISS Centers have been providing $1,000 annually since the RDA was established, the unallowable expenditures using RISS funds could be in excess of $100,000.
Today’s memorandum makes one recommendation to OJP to address this situation and advises OJP to consider requiring the RISS Centers stop funding the RDA. OJP agreed with our recommendation.
Management Advisory Memorandum: The OIG’s Management Advisory Memorandum is available on the OIG’s website under “Recent Reports,” and at the following link: https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2019/a20006.pdf