Pandemic Response Accountability Committee: Lessons Learned in Oversight of Pandemic Relief Funds

“The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) supports independent oversight of $5 trillion in relief funds provided by Congress to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s an unprecedented amount of money. Just one pandemic relief program—the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—is equal to the federal government’s entire response to the financial crisis of 2008–2009. And most of the federal pandemic relief funds were disbursed quickly. For example, the Small Business Administration distributed $343 billion of PPP loans in the first 14 days of the program. This factor alone puts the money at a higher risk for fraud, so the PRAC has worked with dozens of Inspectors General (IGs) across the federal government to examine whether it was spent appropriately and whether this assistance reached those it was intended to help. Together with our partners, we’ve issued more than 400 oversight reports that reveal common challenges facing agencies across major relief programs like unemployment insurance and loans to small businesses.”

“Congress and leaders across federal agencies need to know what programs are highly susceptible to fraud during a crisis like the pandemic. In some cases, agencies implemented corrective actions when shortcomings were identified. But in other cases, Congress and agency leaders still need to take action to reduce the possibility of fraud.”

“One of the PRAC’s primary roles is to provide an objective, fact-based answer to this question: Have the unprecedented levels of pandemic spending been effective? And if not, what needs to change?”

“We wrote this report to spark discussion to help answer that question, highlighting the major lessons we and our federal and state partners have found in our oversight of pandemic relief and recovery programs. We originally published a version of this report in September 2021, promising to add to it as additional work revealed other lessons learned. This is our first update to the original report, and it includes five new lessons…”

Access the full 17-page report here.

Source: Lessons Learned in Oversight of Pandemic Relief Funds – June 8, 2022. Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.

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