Today, Michael E. Horowitz, Acting Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) announced the public release of a new dataset of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) spending. This CRF dataset is only available on pandemicoversight.gov, and for the first time, includes information on how recipients spent funds down to the project and sub-recipient level. The dataset includes CRF funds spent March 1 through September 30, 2020.
About the CRF Data
- Pandemicoversight.gov includes the following data and features related to the CRF:
- Data from Reporting Cycle 1 (March 1-June 30) and Cycle 2 (July 1-September 30) from 585 prime recipients.
- Tables linking prime recipients with their sub-recipients, with the following information:
- Award amount and amount spent as of September 30, 2020
- Number of sub-recipients for each prime recipient
- Sub-award details
- Award amounts
- Project level data, including description, status, project number, and spending category
- The ability to filter and download data
- A map that shows where the money has been spent
This dataset lends more transparency to CRF spending, but there are still limitations and more information to come, including:
- 35 prime recipients (including 32 states) with thousands of sub-recipients are expected to report additional spending information using an automated web tool instead of submitting manually. Reporting using the bulk upload tool is expected to be available to the prime recipients by December 15, 2020. The PRAC will display the data in January 2021.
- Our data visualizations display prime recipient data for Tribal governments but the funds the Tribal governments distributed to sub-recipients is not yet publicly available.
The CRF was established in March 2020 as part of the CARES Act. The U.S. Department of the Treasury made $150 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds available to states, eligible local governments, Tribal governments, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories (“prime recipients”). 785 prime recipients received Coronavirus Relief Funds. Under the CARES Act, the 760 recipients that received over $150,000 in CRF are required to report on their spending.
Prime recipients must use CRF funds to cover expenses that:
- are necessary costs due to the public health emergency, such as meeting payroll expenses for public safety and public health employees responding to the pandemic;
- were not accounted for in the budget for the state or government most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act); and
- were incurred between March 1 and December 30, 2020
Prime recipients distributed payment to sub-recipients through contracts, grants, loans, transfers to other governments, and direct payments. Sub-recipients may include educational institutions, non-profits, businesses, or health care providers, among others.
The CARES Act gave the Treasury Office of Inspector General (OIG) the responsibility to monitor CRF funds and request the return of any funds that are not spent for allowable purposes. To carry out its oversight responsibilities, the Treasury OIG requires prime recipients to submit quarterly reports detailing how the prime recipient and their sub-recipients are spending the money. Those reports power the dataset that is now posted on the PRAC’s website, pandemicoversight.gov.
The PRAC was established by the CARES Act to promote transparency and support independent oversight of the funds provided by the CARES Act and other related emergency spending bills. In addition to its coordination and oversight responsibilities, the PRAC is tasked with supporting efforts to “prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement [and] mitigate major risks that cut across program and agency boundaries.”
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