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.
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...
COVID-19 Pandemic Impact - Select Case Studies
Federal agencies were allocated more than $5 trillion in pandemic response funding to be disbursed to the public and to state and local governments, where a state or local government could have received pandemic response funds from multiple federal programs to improve the overall pandemic response in their communities. Access to information about the total amount of funds received, the purpose of those funds, and the progress made toward achieving the program goals and objectives is not always centralized and can be difficult for the public to track down or may not even be available to the public. The PRAC will conduct impact case studies at 6 different locations and seek to identify the federal pandemic response funds provided to the 6 locations and the purpose of those funds, and to determine if the federal program spending aligned with the intended goals and objectives.
Acquisition and Grants Workforce Assessment
The CARES Act requires that the PRAC conduct and coordinate oversight of covered funds and the Coronavirus response and support Inspectors General in the oversight of covered funds and the Coronavirus response. The purpose of this review is to assess the resources (staffing, training, IT, oversight, and resources overall) available to the acquisition and grants workforce in their implementation of contracts and grants funded with COVID-19 response funds. The resulting report will meet the requirements outlined in the CARES Act and present an assessment of information obtained during the data call, including any trends, best practices, or challenges.
Best Practices for State Unemployment Insurance Benefits Programs Study
The PRAC will be conducting this project with the assistance of MITRE, a federally funded research and development corporation. This project will research to identify best practices and lessons learned from pandemic response in state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits programs.
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...
Limited Scope Evaluation of SBA's Fraud Controls
The PRAC will evaluate whether fraud controls that SBA applied in phase III of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) (and which are purportedly being applied in the SBA's new Restaurant Revitalization Fund program) would have likely detected known fraud that has been identified in PPP criminal cases.
Multi-Dipping of Pandemic Response Funds Provided to Tribal Governments
The PRAC and pandemic OIGs identified the possibility of recipients receiving funding from multiple federal programs for the same purpose (multi-dipping) as a high risk area. This project will focus on funds received by tribal governments, and result in an information brief that identifies programs where multi-dipping has occurred in CARES Act programs allowing us to identify and scope the magnitude of the risk.
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...
State Spend Rates of Pandemic Response Funds
This project seeks to provide transparency of states and localities spending rates of pandemic response funds. The project will also look at the state spend rate data in connection with public health and economic data to provide a more complete picture of the government’s COVID-19 relief efforts. The resulting information brief will inform Congress, policymakers, and the public about how swiftly states and localities have been able to spend Federal funds and may highlight any challenges faced by these recipients expending funds.