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What Is the Recovery and Transparency Board Doing?

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Earl Devaney (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created an oversight board made up of 10 inspectors general and led by Earl Devaney, a veteran watchdog in the Interior Department. Dubbed the "RAT" board, the group is charged not only with rooting out fraud as usual but preventing fraud before it happens. Here are some of the things the board and others are doing:

  • Inspectors general are reviewing past reports to identify weaknesses and unheeded recommendations within their agencies.
  • Internal auditors are training agency staff to spot red flags for fraud.
  • Undercover agents will pose as contract bidders and aid applicants to test the system.
  • The board will soon assume control of the transparency Web site Recovery.gov from the White House Office of Management and Budget to ensure independence.
  • Recipients of funds – states, federal contractors and regional transit and housing authorities – will be required to report how they spend the money and to whom they award contracts. But those who receive funds from the recipients, such as cities and community college districts, will not.
  • The board will have new responsibilities to investigate whistleblower complaints from state and local government employees and private contractors.
  • Separately, the Government Accountability Office has picked 16 states to track the stimulus’ effect on creating jobs, building infrastructure and stabilizing the economy.

Sources: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; Office of Management and Budget; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; Government Accountability Office

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