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Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Key Insights: State Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Programs

This insights report provides a contextual understanding of the cross-cutting challenges states faced within their unemployment insurance (UI) programs and highlights the substantial work that has been done by State Auditors to ensure their states’ UI programs are functioning effectively. This report examines four common insights across 16 State Auditor Offices: (1) UI workloads surged for states; (2) the claims surge exploited internal control weaknesses; (3) uncommon and varying fraud schemes began to occur as the amount of federal funding expanded; and (4) state workforce agencies...

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Increasing Transparency into COVID-19 Spending

The objective of this review was to identify specific gaps in transparency in award data for federal assistance spending in response to COVID-19. We looked at 51,000 awards worth $347 billion that supported the pandemic response (as of June 15, 2021). The report includes three findings, including we found more than 15,400 awards worth $33 billion with meaningless descriptions that make it difficult to know how COVID-19 relief money was used. The report includes five recommendations to help improve the transparency into COVID-19 relief spending.

U.S. Postal Service OIG

U.S. Postal Service Protection Against External Cyberattacks

Our objective was to determine if the Postal Service has an effective security posture to protect its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure from external cyberattacks and prevent unauthorized access to restricted data.

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Observations: Fiscal Year 2020 COVID-19 Federal Contracting

The PRAC’s objective was to review pandemic-related federal contracts and identify first-time contractors and contracts awarded without competitive bidding. We found that first-time federal contractors received $4.4 billion worth of pandemic contracts in Fiscal Year 2020 and that $128 million was deobligated from contracts with first-time federal contractors during the same period. Additionally, we identified the four most common flexibilities identified to justify limited competition were urgency, only one source, simplified acquisition procedures, and authorized by statute. Of these, we...

U.S. Postal Service OIG

COVID-19 Leave Administration

Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s management of its employees’ use of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Although the FFCRA expired on December 31, 2020, the Postal Service continued to allow liberal leave usage for employees who had a sickness related to COVID‑19. On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law. This Act is similar to the FFCRA in that it created a new type of leave. Effective March 12, 2021, and continuing through September 30, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act provides...

U.S. Postal Service OIG

U.S. Postal Inspection Service Pandemic Response to Mail Fraud and Mail Theft

Our objective was to assess the Postal Inspection Service’s response to mail fraud and mail theft during the COVID-19 pandemic. After we began the audit, we received a congressional request from seven members of Congress asking us to identify what actions, if any, the Postal Inspection Service had taken to address the increase in mail theft during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Key Insights: COVID-19 in Correctional and Detention Facilities

Correctional and detention facilities present unique challenges in preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19. When compared to the general population, a disproportionate number of COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths occur in jails, prisons, and detention facilities across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that the confined nature of correctional and detention facilities, combined with their congregate environments, heightens the potential for COVID-19 to spread once introduced into a facility. Individuals typically eat, sleep, and participate in activities...

U.S. Postal Service OIG

Customer Perceptions of the U.S. Postal Service During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The OIG conducted a nationally representative survey to understand the ways the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered customer perceptions of the Postal Service and their habits around mail and other postal-related activities. The OIG found that Americans continued to hold favorable views of the Postal Service during the pandemic, underscoring the important role USPS plays for the nation. During the pandemic, the core ways customers interacted with the Postal Service were through mail receipt, post office visits, and delivery of online orders. Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents reported...

U.S. Postal Service OIG

Impact of Pandemic on Postal Service Finances

From March through September 2020, the Postal Service separated pandemic-related expenses from daily operating expenses to determine the financial impact. These pandemic-related expenses included supplies, services, transportation expenses, and sick and annual leave expenses, among others. Some expenses, such as supplies and services, were directly tracked while others, like transportation expenses, were estimated. Our objective was to assess the impact of the pandemic on Postal Service finances.

U.S. Postal Service OIG

Service Performance of Election and Political Mail During the November 2020 General Election

Our objective was to evaluate the U.S. Postal Service’s service performance of Election and Political Mail during the November 2020 general election. We also evaluated the handling of mail for the Georgia Senate runoff election held on January 5, 2021. The Postal Service prioritized processing of Election Mail during the 2020 general election, significantly improving timeliness over the 2018 mid-term election even with significantly increased volumes of Election Mail in the mailstream. Although timeliness was slightly below goals, proper handling and timely delivery of all Election Mail...