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Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Key Insights: Identity Fraud Reduction and Redress in Pandemic Response Programs

This Insights Report highlights identity fraud related challenges in federal programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. By evaluating previous oversight work in this space from members of the PRAC’s Identity Fraud Reduction and Redress Working Group, this report presents best practices to reduce identity fraud before it occurs and to assist victims of identity fraud if it does occur. These best practices may be helpful for federal agencies to utilize moving forward. This report also identifies that across the federal government there is a larger focus on reducing identity fraud up front, while...
Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

BEST PRACTICES AND LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE ADMINISTRATION OF PANDEMIC RELATED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS PROGRAMS

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) is charged with conducting oversight of pandemic-related spending to prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. In May 2021, we engaged MITRE, a not-for-profit federally funded research and development center, to conduct an independent study of lessons learned from the administration of pandemic-related emergency funding for unemployment insurance (UI) benefit programs in a sample of states. The objective of this study was to increase understanding of how states implemented pandemic UI benefit programs and how their...
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.
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...
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...