Signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009, the Recovery Act had three immediate goals: create new jobs and save existing ones, spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth, and foster unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability. To ensure that accountability requirements are being met, the Inspectors General of 28 federal agencies distributing Recovery funds continually review their agencies' management of these funds.
Five Department of Commerce bureaus—the Census Bureau, Economic Development Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Telecommunications and Information Administration—and the Office of Inspector General received $7.9 billion under the Recovery Act, with $1.2 billion ultimately rescinded or transferred to other agencies. As of September 30, 2013, the Department had obligated and disbursed almost all of the approximately $6.7 billion remaining.(The disbursal amount includes funding for the now-completed NTIA Digital Television Converter Box Coupon Program.)
The following is an account of OIG's Recovery Act activities.
Since March 2009, OIG's Recovery Act Task Force and Office of Investigations have conducted more than 125 on site and video training sessions and briefings related to the mitigation of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of Recovery Act funding. This extensive national effort has reached a combined audience of over 6,400 Department of Commerce employees involved in procurement, grants, and programs as well as current and potential recipients of Recovery Act grants from five of the Department's bureaus: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Economic and Statistics Administration/Bureau of the Census, Economic Development Administration (EDA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Descriptions and links to slideshows and training topics follow below.
Click here to download OIG's Hotline poster.
The six training topics developed and delivered by OIG staff address grants and contract management and fraud prevention. Two others—construction cost estimating and suspension and debarment—were created and presented by private contractors. In addition to their focus on transparency and accountability, all briefings emphasize whistleblower protections and encourage reporting to OIG of concerns about the use of Recovery Act funds.
Federal government employees and the public are invited to view the training slide presentations provided below.