The nonpartisan watchdog Project on Government Oversight (POGO)* recently turned to an expert for advice about overseeing coronavirus spending.
He's Earl Devaney, who served as chairman of a board tasked to oversee $787 billion in stimulus funding from 2009 to 2011 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That program was designed to help Americans after the recession and bank bailouts.
Here are some excerpts of POGO's interview with Devaney.
Question: What are the main lessons that we should take from the previous crisis, and apply to this one?
Answer: In terms of lessons learned, the biggest one is that transparency is a force multiplier in fighting fraud. Our public-facing website, Recovery.gov., provided the American taxpayer with an ability to see where their money was going and what it was being spent on. ESRI technology [Environmental Systems Research Institute, a mapping company] allowed us to show where Americans could go to hunt down to their own zip codes to learn a myriad of information about all the recovery money being spent in their own neighborhoods.
The second takeaway was that Congress will put any oversight board in the crosshairs of partisan bickering. Once the two-week “honeymoon” is over, one can expect an unending series of contentious hearings on the Hill, particularly during an election year. The chairperson should expect to testify on a regular basis and he or she will be constantly pressed about fraud dollar losses.POGO interview with Earl E. Devaney
Click on the link below to read more in Pogo.org:
Devaney on oversight of CARES Act spending
*An earlier version identified POGO as "left leaning." POGO says it is strictly nonpartisan.
Arthur Shatz says
I realize that Congress has an important role in overseeing where taxpayer funds are being spent, particularly in a crisis like this. But what galls me to no end is that they would use a horrible situation like this to put their own biased political beliefs ahead of what they must clearly know is best for the country. You would think that a war like this would unify the government in its efforts to win the battle. My gut tells me that overtly blatant from either party is going to be viewed most unfavorably in November.
Joey Long says
Why has Covid 19 jumped the line in importance? Is one life that is lost any more tragic than any other? I ask this question not as a rhetorical one but as a practical one. Since we essentially just put the emergency brakes on the world’s economy, I wonder why we do not do this for traffic accidents, flu, cancer, heart disease, or high blood pressure and cholesterol? All of which kill more people on their own, yet we struggle on day by day and our lives have not crumbled into dust. People continue to persuade, cajole, and elbow our way thru life. Survival is quite the battle all on its own, even without the additional burden of international espionage, intrigue, politics, graft, theft, and lies, or distortions of what is being said by politicians and bureaucrats during this time to convince us that this time it's BAD, this time it is a Monster! This time if you do not follow "OUR" marshal law orders you will be endangering others and yourself. Our country has been put in a very untenable situation in the short term and undo able in the long term. The press have not done their job evenhandedly and intentionally misconstrue information in order to advance their own agenda. heard VS what is said by someone can be very easily and outright dishonesty when portrayed as something quite the opposite than as was intended. Do not pick a fight with people that buy ink by the barrel as they will and have “in the past become the arbiters of the “right” language use in any given scenario. The redefinition of words has a very real impact on how things get understood and learned, therefor it must be understood that being able to make up definitions as we go does not always work for proper flow of honest information.
I have been trying to scream this from the highest vantage possible! If direct payments were made and NO businesses were paid. the check amount should come out to more than $18,000.00 per person that filed their taxes this past year. Was it not the Democrats that argued that corporations were not people? No money should be given to a “thing”. If the Governments really wanted to help everyone get thru this, they could easily have suspended Federal, State, Local taxes during this period. Alas, as always, the money must run thru our 500 or so people that we elect to represent us in Washington D.C. The very same people that have been in DC since Moby Dick was a minnow. Term Limits should be in this next bill. 2 terms should be enough for everyone to have the civil duty as a representative of our will as a people. Any more than that the people that we send up there to serve wind up being corrupted by the SWAMP. They become the definition of the term(self-coined) Country Club Tribe. Please feel free to use this term as I have not trademarked it and I want this message to go out to AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE.
Have you ever noticed that fuel consumption taxes never go down only always up? Yet when the price of fuel goes up, who gets the loin’s share of blame and ostracization from the media and the general public at large? Do our property taxes ever go down? Do our State taxes ever go down? Only with the election of the President were we able to pass Federal Tax cuts across the board. We have all lost something during this shutdown and I pray that we will get thru this as we have in the past. Whenever chaos enters our lives either by random chance or intentionally by others, it is incumbent that we make a split-second decision. (flight or fight instinct) Decide either to run and hide? Confront the chaos, ignore it, or determine if the course we are on is the right one after all? We instinctively do what is in the best interest of our own well being and survival. Do we as a people truly understand what is directly involved with the world's economic shutdown? Hunger across the world has been a problem for many thousands of years but it stubbornly stays with our world even to this day. This will only get worse if we as a people allow hunger to be our worst enemy. Why has Covid 19 jumped the line in importance?