Who’s keeping an eye on where the stimulus money is going? Not the people who are supposed to. CURL: Stimulus oversight left up to taxpayers
…And perhaps that’s just as well, given the turnout of the panel tasked with keeping track of thousands of millions of dollars. Just three of the 10 members bothered to show up for the subcommittee’s second meeting, dramatically titled “Follow the Money Part II.”
Corrected paragraph: While Mr. Miller and the panel’s top Republican were there, only Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, Pennsylvania Democrats, came to the hearing. Absent were Democratic Reps. Steven R. Rothman of New Jersey, Lincoln Davis of Tennessee, Charles A. Wilson of Ohio, Alan Grayson of Florida and Bart Gordon of Tennessee. Republican Rep. Ralph M. Hall of Texas also skipped the session, while Rep. Brian P. Bilbray of California dropped by for the final hour of the nearly three-hour hearing.
Uncle Sam wants you:
“We are, in essence, deputizing the entire American citizenry to help with the oversight of this program,” said Rep. Brad Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology’s subcommittee on investigations and oversight.
There will be hundreds of takers, I’m sure. Remeber this the next time you hear a Congressman tell you how hard he’s working for the people.
Although President Obama has vowed that citizens will be able to track “every dime” of the $787 billion stimulus bill, a government website dedicated to the spending won’t have details on contracts and grants until October and may not be complete until next spring — halfway through the program, administration officials said.
Recovery.gov now lists programs being funded by the stimulus money, but provides no details on who received the grants and contracts. Agencies won’t report that data until Oct. 10, according to Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which manages the website.
As the program is now, it won’t be possible to see where the stimulus money is going locally:
Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, a Republican serving on the House Science and Technology subcommittee, criticized the administration’s decision to require reporting of only the first two recipients of stimulus spending. Broun said that means if the money goes to a state and then a city, the identities of the city’s contractors will be unavailable.
Adjustments won’t be made anytime soon:
Devaney said that after the first data become available in October, the board will wait six to nine months for the White House Office of Management and Budget to issue new guidance on how far down the spending chain the money must be tracked. “I’m going to push them for as much data as possible,” he said.
Good luck with that.