As part of a Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) cross-cutting initiative involving eight Offices of Inspector General (OIG), we reviewed the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013, and eight agencies that received $46.5 billion for expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Sandy and other disasters. Our review objective was to compile and report on the eight Federal agencies’ total funding, expenditures, and monitoring. The review’s objective was also to identify common concerns and make suggestions to improve oversight, enhance collaboration, and report best practices.
The eight agencies had made progress in budgeting, obligating, and expending their allocated funds. However, the agencies’ progress varied as they had expended only $15 billion of the $46.5 billion allocated. In addition, seven of the eight agencies requested and received significant waivers from the Office of Management and Budget, which extended their expenditure deadlines. The eight OIGs and agencies monitored their disaster relief funds and activities, but the extent and type of monitoring varied. The review also identified observations and common concerns regarding contracting issues, the significant risk of duplicate assistance, and OIG oversight funding. Further, the review made suggestions for and noted best practices concerning the need to increase coordination, data-matching, and the use of analytical tools.
We recommend that CIGIE and the OIGs work with Congress and the agencies to ensure that the remaining funds are budgeted, obligated, and expended in a timely manner. We also recommend that CIGIE work with the agencies and Congress to ensure the agencies, grantees, and contractors comply with Federal contracting requirements. Further, we recommend the various OIGs continue to collaborate to identify and address areas of potential duplication. In addition, we recommend that CIGIE and the OIGs work with Congress to (1) amend the Inspector General Act of 1978 to exempt the OIGs from data-matching requirements, (2) ensure each OIG receives oversight funding separate from its agency for future disaster relief allocations, and (3) ensure that the OIGs’ oversight funding does not expire before the agencies and their grantees expend all of their funds.