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Stimulus recipients fail to report funds

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July 13, 2010

By Kevin Lee

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois: More than $1.175 billion in federal stimulus money was used and not reported when hundreds recipients ignored the law and did not report how they spent it.

Earlier this year, reporters for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity unearthed a host of problems with how stimulus dollars were tracked. The investigation found recipients of millions in tax dollars filled out forms incorrectly – often using incorrect zip codes or congressional districts. This resulted in false information being shared with the public.

Federal government documents indicate that for the first quarter of 2010, there were nearly 700 instances where “prime” recipients failed to provide their stimulus funding reports by an April deadline.

Under the stimulus law federal agencies distribute funding directly to prime recipients. In turn, prime recipients – which include state agencies, local governments, non-profits, contractors and universities – can then spend the money and/or disburse it among “sub-recipients.”

Prime recipients of the funds are bound by ARRA to disclose to federal agencies how they have spent the money.

According to Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board spokesperson Edward Pound, the law lacks teeth. The board oversees the distribution and reporting of stimulus money.

“(Recipients) are required to comply with the law,” he said. “But there are no direct penalties if they don’t report. That’s why we ask reporters and the general public to use our website and check on the information.”[1][2]

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