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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.

Department of Education OIG

Remington College’s Use of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Student Aid and Institutional Grants

The objective of our audit was to determine if Remington College used the Student Aid (Assistance Listing Number (ALN) 84.425E) and Institutional (ALN 84.425F) portions of its Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grant funds for allowable and intended purposes. Remington College generally used the Student Aid portion of its HEERF grant funds for allowable and intended purposes but did not always use the Institutional portion of its funds in accordance with Federal requirements. We found that Remington College spent Institutional funds for several unallowable purposes and did not...

Department of Education OIG

Lincoln College of Technology’s Use of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Student Aid and Institutional Grants

The objective of our audit was to determine whether Lincoln College of Technology (Lincoln) used the Student Aid (Assistance Listing Number (ALN) 84.425E) and Institutional (ALN 84.425F) portions of its Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) funds for allowable and intended purposes. We also reviewed Lincoln’s cash management practices and the timeliness and quality of the data Lincoln reported on its use of HEERF funds. LESC generally used the Student Aid portion of Lincoln’s HEERF funds for allowable and intended purposes but did not always use the Institutional portion of its funds...

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.

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...

Department of Education OIG

Federal Student Aid’s Suspension of Involuntary Collection in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The objective of our review was to evaluate the results of Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) process for suspending involuntary collection and refunding payments involuntarily collected on defaulted Department-held loans in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. We found that FSA suspended administrative wage garnishments and the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) offsets for over 96 percent of the borrowers that FSA collected payments for within 90 days of March 13, 2020, the start of the suspension period. However, as of October 23, 2020, we found that FSA continued to receive administrative...

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...

U.S. Postal Service OIG

Mail Service During the Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Postal Service provided vital service, including the delivery of critical items such as medications, stimulus payments, and Social Security checks. Further, the Postal Service is the leading delivery service provider for online purchases. A May 2020 Harris Poll survey on America’s 100 essential companies’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, ranked the Postal Service as number one, based on its resolve, integrity, responsiveness, and permanence. Our objective was to evaluate mail service during the early stages of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease...

Department of Education OIG

Assessment of the Department’s Reconstitution Plans Following COVID-19

The objective of our inspection was to assess the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) plans and procedures for returning employees to the federal office in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including what existing guidance the Department considered when developing its plans and procedures. We found that the Department generally incorporated available guidance, which was intended to provide for a safe and gradual return to federal offices, in its Workplace Reconstitution Transition Plan (Reconstitution Plan). However, we noted that the Department’s Reconstitution Plan does not...