Tuesday, March 10, 2009

U.S. to closely watch Illinois stimulus spending

Federal auditors plan to keep an especially close eye on how Illinois spends its share of federal stimulus money.

The Government Accountability Office named Illinois and 15 others as states where the congressional watchdog agency will conduct on-site reviews and targeted investigations, including probes of local governments.

“Experience tells us that the risk for fraud and abuse grows when billions of dollars are going out quickly, eligibility requirements are being established or changed, and new programs are being created,” Gene L. Dodaro, acting U.S. comptroller general, said before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last Thursday.

The 16 states were selected on the basis of projected stimulus outlays, population, unemployment and other factors in an effort to secure a cross-section of stimulus spending countrywide, the GAO said.

Nevertheless, putting Illinois under the microscope is a good idea, said Laurence Msall, president of Chicago’s Civic Federation, a public policy think tank.

“Illinois is an obvious target for federal scrutiny and attention, whether it’s prior to contracts being let or auditing them afterwards,” he said. “Illinois has had numerous projects called into question, for both how contractors were selected and the condition of finished projects.”
So they still don't trust the state!

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