Semiannual Report to Congress

April 1, 2009-September 30, 2009
Office of the Inspector General

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), which was signed into law on February 17, 2009, provides $787 billion in funding as a stimulus to the economy. Of that funding, the Department received $4 billion for grant funding to enhance state, local, and tribal law enforcement; to combat violence against women; and to fight Internet crimes against children.

The OIG is providing guidance and oversight related to the Department’s Recovery Act efforts. For example, OIG staff has met with Department managers involved in distributing and overseeing Recovery Act funds to discuss best practices and explain the OIG’s oversight efforts. The OIG identified specific fraud, waste, and abuse risks for Recovery Act funding and made specific suggestions to help mitigate these risks. In addition, the OIG offered a grant fraud awareness training curriculum to Department grant managers and program, budget, and finance staffs. In April and May 2009 alone, the OIG provided training to 868 employees from the Department’s three grant making agencies. In total, the OIG has presented 30 training sessions reaching more than 2,400 grant administrators, sub-grantees, and staff from state administering agencies.

OIG auditors and investigators also informally reviewed and provided comments on a wide range of Recovery Act material developed by Department grant administrators relating to Recovery Act grant funds, including the Department’s internal controls over the grant funds and certifications that grant administrators are using their Recovery Act funds. The OIG also participated in a webcast in April 2009, which had more than 1,000 live Internet connections. In this webcast, an OIG investigator discussed the role of federal OIGs in grant fraud matters; the most common grant fraud risks; the actions a grantee can take to protect itself from grant fraud; and the administrative, civil, and criminal consequences of grant fraud.

The OIG has met with state and local grants management and oversight officials to provide information on the OIG’s oversight efforts and fraud awareness training that is available from the OIG. Through these meetings, we encouraged prompt and effective reporting to the OIG on any grant or contract issues that involve Department funds. As of October 2009, the OIG has met with grant administrators and oversight officials from 32 states and from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The OIG has initiated 10 Recovery Act audits and inspections to determine if Department components are properly managing Recovery Act funds in accordance with the Recovery Act, OMB guidelines, and sound grant management practices. The audit work is being performed in phases to provide timely feedback to the Department. The OIG is issuing Management Advisory Memoranda, which identify risk areas as soon as the OIG becomes aware of them and recommend actions that grant administrators can implement to minimize that risk.

Finally, the Recovery Act designated the Department’s Inspector General Glenn Fine as one of the members of the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board. The Board is coordinating oversight of Recovery Act funds throughout the federal government.

Highlights of OIG Recovery Act Audits and Inspections

During the course of our audits of Recovery Act funds, we issued Management Advisory Memoranda to Department granting agencies in an effort to provide timely notice of potential issues we found during our audits. The following are examples of these Management Advisory Memoranda.

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