The federal government has spent over $3.5 trillion in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to date, according to USAspending.gov. Some waste, fraud and abuse is inevitable in all large government expenditure programs. Lessons learned from the pandemic spending can be used to deter waste, fraud and abuse in future programs like the infrastructure law to ensure proper oversight.
- Glenn Fine, nonresident fellow for the Governance Studies program at the Brookings Institution and former inspector general for the Department of Justice, said he recommends making the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), which coordinates oversight for Covid-19 relief spending, permanent so its tools, such as data analytics for fraud indicators, can be used for other programs.
- Fine said it was a mistake not to create a similar oversight entity for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
- Fine said the magnitude and distribution speed of the pandemic relief funds came with insufficient internal controls, resulting in much more fraud than the usual 5-7%. He said the PRAC is helping inspectors general recover some of the money.