IG Slams Energy Dept. Stimulus Funds Management

Wednesday, 02 Nov 2011 11:24 AM

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The Energy Department’s inspector general is set to deliver to Congress an extremely negative assessment of the agency’s ability to manage billions in stimulus money. Previously, Gregory Friedman raised concerns about the program that gave $535 million in government-backed loans to the now bankrupt Solyndra solar panel company, The Washington Post blog the Federal Eye reported.
 
Friedman, in testimony prepared for a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing, said that the Energy Department’s efforts to rapidly distribute $35.2 billion in economic stimulus funding “was more challenging than many had originally envisioned,” the Post reported.

So far, Friedman’s office has conducted more than 100 investigations into the department’s stimulus spending, recovered $2.3 million in stimulus fraud, and prompted five criminal prosecutions. According to some of the investigations, the political push to create jobs didn’t match the economic realities, according to the Post.

The Solyndra scandal has raised questions about the rush to distribute stimulus dollars. In his prepared testimony, Friedman said the department failed to properly document how it resolved or mitigated risks prior to granting loan guarantees — steps that might have prevented the Solyndra fiasco, the Post reported.

Friedman also criticizes the administration for pushing so-called shovel ready projects.

“In reality, few actual ‘shovel ready’ projects existed,” he said according to the Post.

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