The Emergency Witness Assistance Program
Report Number I-2001-002
USAO RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE EWAP
The USAO decides whether a witness or potential witness should be provided assistance through the EWAP in accordance with EOUSA's program guidelines. The Victim-Witness Coordinator within the USAO usually administers the EWAP and uses an EWAP credit card to obtain cash to pay for witness assistance or to directly pay a vendor. As the cardholder, the Victim-Witness Coordinator is responsible for recording and tracking charges, disputing inappropriate charges, and reconciling and authorizing the credit card statement for payment within five days of receipt. The third-party payment system may also be used to issue checks in payment for EWAP expenses. The Financial Officer or Budget Officer in each USAO is responsible for establishing EWAP financial obligations in the Department's Financial Management Information System, entering expenditure information against those obligations, and paying the EWAP credit card bills after reconciliation by the Victim-Witness Coordinator.
Before providing the emergency assistance, the USAO must complete four standardized forms:
Requests for EWAP funding, once initiated, are reviewed and approved at several levels within a USAO, depending on the dollar amount of the request. For example, (1) expenditures under $250 may be approved, prior to expenditure, by either the requesting Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) or Victim Witness Coordinator (with documentation provided to the First Assistant U.S. Attorney or supervisory AUSA after the fact); (2) expenditures over $250 per witness may be reviewed and approved, prior to expenditure, by the First Assistant U.S. Attorney or supervisory AUSA; and (3) expenditures over $1,000 per witness should be reviewed by the First Assistant U.S. Attorney or supervisory AUSA and approved, prior to expenditure, by the U.S. Attorney. Each USAO has established its own internal review and approval levels that are documented in an EWAP implementation plan approved by EOUSA. After review and approval of an EWAP request within the USAO, a copy of each form should be forwarded to EOUSA. For assistance that will exceed 30 days or $4,000, the USAOs must first obtain approval from EOUSA. Each USAO is also required to provide EOUSA with quarterly reports about the use of EWAP funds and program accomplishments.