Staff writer Elizabeth Harrington writing online for the Washington Free Beacon, Aug. 29:
More than five years after the stimulus was signed into law, a new audit reveals the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) spent nearly $5 billion in questionable costs and funded programs that were “inherently not shovel ready.” The Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a “lessons learned” audit on Wednesday, reviewing how well the USDA oversaw $28 billion in stimulus funds from the Recovery Act. . . .
The largest area of mismanagement of stimulus funds came from the Single Family Housing Loans and Grants program, which is meant to secure homeownership for low-income Americans in rural areas.
The stimulus provided loans for 17 borrowers who “had no history of stable and dependable income,” and six loans were for properties that had aboveground swimming pools, which was strictly prohibited under the law. “From our statistical sample, we project that 1,772 loans, worth $208 million (22 percent of the universe), may have similar noncompliance issues related to ineligible borrowers and properties,” the audit said.
Overall, the Rural Housing Service that oversaw the program provided $4.16 billion from the stimulus to ineligible recipients.