The Department of Energy has had a remarkably low rate of fraud in its rapid distribution of billions of dollars in Recovery Act funds, the department’s Inspector General has found. After more than 100 investigations, Gregory H. Friedman has recovered 0.07 percent of the $35.2 billion in stimulus funds deployed by the Department of Energy, the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe reports:
Gregory H. Friedman is slated to tell lawmakers that the Energy Department‘s efforts to quickly distribute $35.2 billion in economic stimulus funding “was more challenging than many had originally envisioned.” […] Friedman’s appearance Wednesday is meant to summarize the more than 100 investigations conducted by his office into the department’s stimulus spending. To date, the office has recovered $2.3 million in stimulus fraud and has sparked five criminal prosecutions.
Friedman identified that a large amount of stimulus spending is still in the pipeline at the local level: “45 percent of stimulus dollars distributed by Energy still hadn’t been spent by state and local government as of Oct. 22.” The nearly $16 billion yet to be spent should provide a significant boost to the local economies as it reaches businesses, manufacturers, and workers.
Bizarrely, the O’Keefe portrayed the 99.93 percent success rate of clean energy spending this way: “Energy Department couldn’t manage stimulus money.”