Government Accountability Site Can’t Account For $619 Billion

August 6, 2014

A government website aimed at making federal expenditures more transparent is missing at least $619 billion from 302 programs.

The Government Accountability Office reported Wednesday that USASpending.gov, which is maintained by the Office of Management and Budget, failed to account for assistance awards, like grants and loans, to the tune of about $619 billion.

And the audit only looked at FY 2012!

Here are a few numbers missing from the laughably misnamed accountability website:

  • Nearly $544 billion in direct assistance programs like Medicare through the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • About $5.3 billion in general assistance through the Department of the Interior, which did not provide spending for more than 60 percent of its assistance programs.
  • An unknown amount through the White House because, according to USA Today, “the White House itself failed to report any of the programs it’s directly responsible for.” (Don’t worry, there’s a reason — “Officials said they thought HHS was responsible for reporting their spending.”)

As if things couldn’t get worse, it turned out most of the information included on the website’s tables wasn’t even accurate. For instance, the sources of funding for the awards were among the most inconsistent data points in the GAO’s analysis. The agency estimated that an astoundingly low percentage of the awards — two percent to seven percent — actually “contained information that was fully consistent with agencies’ records for all 21 data elements examined.”

Then-Senator Barack Obama sponsored the Act (2007) that created the website in question. He promised to protect the landing point as “an important milestone on the path to greater openness and transparency in the Federal Government.”

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One Response to Government Accountability Site Can’t Account For $619 Billion

  1. Robert Aughenbaugh says:

    I retired from the GAO. We almost always gave the agencies the benefit of the doubt in these reports. Things, based on my experience, are worse than is being reported. Wait until the GAO starts to account for Obamacare. We will look back at these terrible results as "the good old days".

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