Bailout Oversight Committee Sounds a Warning

Bailout Oversight Committee Sounds a Warning


The government watchdog responsible for monitoring $2.4 trillion in coronavirus-related bailout funds warned Wednesday that the size and speed of the various rescue programs present significant challenges for proper oversight.

In its first report, the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee reviewed the main issues facing the Offices of Inspector General at the 37 federal agencies receiving emergency funds. “Key areas of concern include both the need for accurate information concerning pandemic-related spending and the significant amount of money federal agencies may lose as the result of improper payments,” the report said.

One specific program cited in the report and highlighted by The New York Times is the $150 billion fund intended to help state and local governments. The report said that some aid had been distributed already “without agreements or terms and conditions establishing requirements for the use of funds and reporting on such uses.”

The report also said the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program run by the Small Business Administration lacks proper controls, leading to “increased vulnerability to fraud and unnecessary losses when SBA and its lending partners expedite loan transactions to provide quick relief.”

The report comes amid complaints about a lack of transparency in the stimulus and relief programs. Michael E. Horowitz, the acting chair of the oversight committee, told Congress that the Treasury Department was resisting efforts to disclose information on companies and individuals who have received federal funds. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that he would not divulge the names of loan recipients in the Paycheck Protection Program, though he later said that he would work with Congress on the issue.