The government Web site that promised to show exactly where the $787 billion in stimulus spending was going to “create or save” jobs is allocating billions of tax dollars to hundreds of congressional districts that don’t exist.
Researchers at the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity found 440 “phantom districts” listed on Recovery.gov, consuming $6.4 billion and creating or saving nearly 30,000 jobs. Their findings are listed HERE.
For example, Recovery.gov shows 12 districts, using up more than $2.7 billion, in Washington, D.C, which only has one congressional district.
Recovery.gov also shows 2,893.9 jobs created with $194,537,372 in stimulus funding in New Hampshire’s 00 congressional district. But, there is no such thing.
The site also shows $1,471,518 going to New Hampshire’s 6th congressional district, $1,033,809 to the 4th congressional district and $124,774 to the 27th congressional district. In fact, New Hampshire only has two congressional districts; inviting confusion about where the money listed for the 00, 4th, 6th and 27th districts is going.
Edward Pound, communications director for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, said, “Some recipients of Recovery Act funds entered incorrect congressional districts in their award reports. We are doing an analysis of what we might be able to do at this time to correct the problem.”
The burden of reporting information lies on the stimulus recipients and if they submit incorrect forms there is no penalty, said Mr. Pound. “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act set forth all the reporting requirements, but is silent as to penalties to enforce the reporting requirements,” he said. Fraudulent forms could be punished as a crime, but there is no mechanism to deter recipients from submitting inaccurate information through human error.
G. Edward DeSeve, who is Special Advisor to the President, Assistant to the Vice President and Special Advisor to the Office of Management and Budget for Implementation of the Recovery Act issued a statement about these errors on Tuesday, arguing some mistakes were inevitable and do nothing to disprove the effectiveness of the stimulus.
“Even if as many as 5-10% of the reports or 5-10% of the totals are wrong (and we don’t think it is that high), that still means the Recovery Act saved or created between 600,000 and 700,000 direct jobs in its first seven months — more than most experts predicted when it passed,” he said. “And most leading experts agree that — whatever the recipient reported total should be — the actual number of jobs saved or created is about double that, because the recipient reports don’t include direct payments to individuals, the jobs created by Recovery Act tax cuts, and the jobs created when workers on Recovery Act projects spend their paychecks.”