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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.

Department of Commerce OIG

NIST Was Effective in Implementing the Requirements for Awarding Funds Under the CARES Act

Our objective was to determine whether NIST is complying with the requirements of the CARES Act. Specifically, we determined (1) what steps NIST took to implement and comply with the CARES Act, (2) challenges NIST faced during implementation, and (3) NIST’s status in the processing of applications and awarding funds under the CARES Act. Overall, we found that NIST implemented and followed the requirements of the CARES Act and applicable grant award policies and procedures. In addition, NIST implemented measures to mitigate challenges resulting from an increased workload and a forced transition...

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...

Department of Commerce OIG

NOAA Fisheries Implemented the Requirements for Awarding Funds Under the CARES Act but Faces Challenges with the Pace of Funds Disbursement to Fishery Participants

For our evaluation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS, also known as NOAA Fisheries) plan for the implementation of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding, our objective was to determine whether NOAA complied with the requirements of the CARES Act. Specifically, we determined (1) what steps NOAA took in implementing the requirements for awarding funds, (2) challenges NOAA faced during implementation, and (3) NOAA’s current status in processing applications and award funds under the CARES Act...

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...

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Federal COVID-19 Testing Report: Data Insights from Six Federal Health Care Programs

This report examines COVID-19 testing efforts for six federal health care programs during the first seven months following the declaration of a public health emergency in the United States. Published by the PRAC Health Care Subgroup, the report takes a detailed look at testing data in each of the programs that, when combined, provide benefits or care for about 64 million individuals. We hope this report will help policymakers as they continue to develop and refine their testing efforts related to testing accessibility and availability for at-risk populations, cost effectiveness, and...

Department of Commerce OIG

EDA Was Effective in Implementing the Requirements for Awarding Funds Under the CARES Act

This memorandum provides the results of our evaluation of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA’s) plan for the implementation of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)1 funding. Our objective was to determine whether EDA implemented and followed the requirements of the CARES Act. Specifically, we determined (1) what steps EDA took in implementing the CARES Act, (2) challenges EDA faced during implementation, and (3) EDA’s ongoing efforts in awarding funds under the CARES Act. Overall, we found that EDA implemented and followed the requirements of the CARES Act...

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee

Agile Products Toolkit

This toolkit identifies and defines four primary situations where your office may want to consider using an agile product. Consider these guidelines, best practices and lessons learned while conducting, completing, and issuing reports or other work products.
Department of Commerce OIG

2020 Census Alert: The Census Bureau Faces Challenges in Ensuring Employee Health Safety During 2020 Census Field Operations

OIG issued this 2020 Census Alert due to our concerns—about the Census Bureau’s (Bureau’s) inconsistent implementation of safety procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) as it completed its 2020 Census operations—that required immediate attention. Based on the number and consistency of COVID-19-related OIG hotline complaints that we received, we were concerned that the Bureau was not fully complying with key elements of its own COVID-19 safety requirements—or operating fully in line with recommended guidance provided by the Department of Commerce (the Department), the U...