Sunday, July 16, 2017

State Department and USAID failed to take steps ordered by Inspector Gen. in 2015. State Dept. and USAID were warned to begin tracking spending of billions of taxpayer dollars, but in follow up review thru Jan. 2017 IG finds they failed to do so, still have no idea where billions go. IG notes that 2015-Jan. 2017, State Dept. has lacked executive leadership-The Hill, IG report through Jan. 2017

From 2007-2013, for 2066 days, the State Dept. had no Inspector General, including the entire time Hillary was Sec. of State. Obama never nominated anyone for the job until June 2013, after Hillary was out of office. (Hillary's last day as Sec. of State was Feb. 1, 2013). Hillary's carefree 4 years at the State Dept. were without oversight. Unfortunately, for Hillary, voters have started to notice politicians acting like royalty, rules don't apply to them. Government corruption was a deciding issue in 2016 presidential election.  9/30/2013, "Senate Confirms Steve Linick; State Dept Finally Gets an Inspector General After 2,066 Days,", Domani Spero.

7/1/17, "Watchdog says State Dept. failing to adequately track foreign aid," The Hill, John Bowden

"The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have failed to adequately track the more than $30 billion they spend annually on foreign aid, according to a government watchdog report released Friday. 

The report released by the State Department's Office of the Inspector General noted that the department has failed to build infrastructure for tracking billions of dollars in foreign aid despite being ordered to do so in 2015.

"Because the Department had made such limited progress in building the capacity to centrally track foreign assistance data, [the Office of Inspector General] strengthened and reissued the recommendation in the original report and made an additional recommendation focused on the need for executive leadership to address this Department-wide management challenge," it read.

Despite the recommendation made by the inspector general in 2015, the State Department "cannot obtain timely and accurate data necessary to provide central oversight of foreign assistance activities and meet statutory and regulatory reporting requirements."

According to the report, little progress has been made at all. The report's summary faults the State Department, saying it "had not complied with the report’s recommendation" in 2015.

The Trump administration has suggested cutting the State Department's budget for foreign aid by 37 percent. The move was blasted by members of Trump's own party, who called the idea a "disaster.""...

[Ed. note: "Trump's own party?" What party is that? As The Hill knows, Trump had to defeat both the Republican and Democrat establishments to get where he is. Trump voters are effectively a nameless "party" of 63 million people unwanted by the UniParty Establishment. There's simply no money in putting America First.]

(continuing): "“It’s not going to happen,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in late February. "It would be a disaster. A budget this lean would put those who serve overseas for the State Department at risk. And it’s not going to happen.”"...

[Ed. note: Why does The Hill quote Lindsey Graham, a neocon clown who's been in the Beltway for many years, has had daily access to microphones, has done nothing to call attention to blatant theft of taxpayer dollars, and has no credibility on any subject. The report linked in this article is a review of issues the State Dept. was ordered to address in 2015. Their failure to do so is reported through Jan. 2017.]

(continuing): "Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan responded to the report in a memo, saying the department accepted the watchdog recommendations and would begin implementing them."


June 2017 OIG report (A follow up through Jan. 2017 by IG to see what progress, if any, State Dept. had made to IG's  2015 recommendations. IG reports they did nothing):

page 3 pdf, "Background" subhead:

"OIG inspections and Government Accountability Office (GAO) evaluations have consistently cited
the Department’s inability to provide authoritative foreign assistance financial information as a
program management challenge. For example,
OIG’s inspection of Embassy Cairo, Egypt 5 found
that information on the post’s foreign assistance programs resided in more than 50 separate documents and systems,
hampering the embassy’s ability to oversee funding.
Similarly, GAO evaluations of the Central America Regional Security Initiative 7
and the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership 8
found that the Department was unable to produce reliable data on its foreign assistance activities.

In its 2015 Management Assistance Report, OIG recommended that the Department develop a comprehensive solution with target completion dates to address shortcomings in foreign assistance tracking and reporting. OIG conducted this compliance follow-up review to evaluate the Department’s progress in implementing the recommendation. OIG concluded that 

page 4 pdf
"Owners of the Department’s financial and procurement IT systems, including the Bureau of Administration and the Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services (CGFS), also participated. Although USAID and the Department jointly request their foreign assistance budgets, USAID participation in the working group was limited to USAID employees on detail assignment to the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources. USAID has managed its foreign assistance activities through an integrated system known as Phoenix since 2006. Also, FADR did not have regular participation from senior Department officials with the position and authority to pull together the many disparate constituencies represented in the working group....
FADR also lacked adequate senior-level guidance and oversight needed for a well-defined outcome. For example, FADR was unable to agree on how to collect key data elements using existing financial and procurement IT systems, and no participant in the working group had the authority to engineer a solution. Bureaus were reluctant to abandon their individual internal
procedures and IT solutions for tracking and managing foreign assistance programs. Data-entry and training requirements associated with system changes also limited the willingness of bureaus to implement the tracking options under consideration. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Administration and CGFS were unable to modify their IT systems to accommodate the bureau and office’s divergent business processes."...
footnote 9, "FADR participants include representatives from the regional bureaus (the Bureaus of African Affairs; East Asian and Pacific Affairs; European and Eurasian Affairs; Near Eastern Affairs; South and Central Asian Affairs; and Western Hemisphere Affairs); the Bureaus of Administration; Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance; Budget and Planning;
Comptroller and Global Financial Services; Counterterrorism; International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs;
Information Resource Management; International Security and Nonproliferation; and Population, Refugees, and
Migration; the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; and Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator."...


page 5 pdf

"Moreover, FADR’s proposal would not capture data on contracts, interagency agreements, or miscellaneous transactions, which OIG estimated represented $381 million in annual foreign assistance obligations and more than 20,000 discrete accounting transactions in FY 2015.
These figures amount to 11.2 percent of total obligations and 75.4 percent of all accounting transactions reported in FY 2015. 
In sum, the consensus-driven, working-level FADR process has been unable to produce and implement a comprehensive planto resolve shortcomings in the Department's tracking, 10

The proposed solution would capture foreign assistance funds obligated as grants, cooperative agreements,
assessed contributions, voluntary contributions, and grants to individuals; it would also capture property and letter
Notably, this estimate did not include the cost for CGFS to develop a method to integrate grants system data with
financial system information in a separate Global Business Intelligence platform that CGFS is in the process of developing. 12

For example, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) issued a $4.8 million cooperative agreement in FY 2016 to fund college scholarships for economically disadvantaged students from eight countries. Similarly, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) manages a $9.8 million cooperative agreement that contributes to three sectors (conflict mitigation and stabilization; civil society; and human rights).

The recipient’s most recent quarterly report describes activities benefitting more than 18 countries. 13
Due to a lack of central data on Department foreign assistance activities and variations in the types of programs implemented by each bureau, OIG was unable to determine whether the sample of DRL and NEA awards is representative of the Department's overall foreign assistance obligations. For example, the Department reported on foreign that out of $3 billion in reported obligations, it issued no new single-country grants in FY 2015.
For example, the Bureau of African Affairs programs most of its counterterrorism and peacekeeping assistance on contracts reporting and program management of foreign assistance funds. The process needs senior-level commitment and oversight."...


Ed. The problem obviously is State Dept. and USAID have too much money. No one could possibly keep track of it---even if they wanted to---much less oversee that it's being well spent. US taxpayers are the world's laughing stock for good reason.


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