Accurate Spending Reports Won't Help Taxpayers?
In a report posted earlier this week, the Washington Examiner's Sarah Westwood writes that "Federal department's CFO says accurate spending reports won't help taxpayers." She begins her reporting this way:
“The costs of ensuring 100 percent accuracy ... would far outweigh the benefit to the public.”
"That's how a top federal official explained opposition to a government watchdog's call on her department to do a better job of accounting for spending on conferences.
"The comment by Ellen Murray, the department's assistant secretary for financial services and chief financial officer, came in response to an investigation by the inspector general of how government workers spent $1.4 million on conferences in 2012 that was never reported.
"The IG recommended that HHS officials report actual conference costs instead of estimates after finding discrepancies in the actual costs for four of the events held that year. The four events included an international AIDS conference, an awards ceremony and two medical preparedness meetings.
"In 2012, HHS sponsored 140 conferences that cost more than $100,000 each, according to the report. The agency spent more than $56 million on conferences that year.
"In her response to the IG, Murray added that “striving for perfection would put the department at risk of not fulfilling the statutory requirement for a timely report,” citing the availability of data as a factor in its ability to produce accurate reports."
Westwood's reporting includes much more, which you can read here. Her reporting is based on an HHS Inspector General report released earlier this month, and is accessible at the Washington Examiner website.
The HHS bureaucrat's reasoning is bizarre, and raises the question of whether she has any knowledge of accounting. Ether that, or HHS has a poorly designed accounting system.
Readers of Growls who are concerned about waste, fraud, and abuse in federal spending are urged to contact their members of Congress. Contact information is available at Thomas (use left-hand column). Readers living in Virginia's Arlington County, should contact:
- Senator Mark Warner (D) - write to him or call (202) 224-2023
- Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
- Representative Jim Moran (D) -- Rep. Moran is retiring at the end of the current Congress. We'll update the link for incoming Rep. Don Beyer next month.
And, tell them ACTA sent you.