Congress is closer to another round of pandemic relief after a late night vote in the Senate Thursday. More money flowing out will mean more oversight to prevent waste, fraud and abuse, and data will be a key piece of that oversight.
Brian Miller, Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR), joined Francis Rose of “Government Matters” to discuss how his office is using data for its work.
Miller explained that a special inspector general is “parachuted in” to an agency with a limited budget and limited mission. SIGPR works in coordination with the existing IG for the Treasury, SIGTARP and the Tax Administration IG. They also collaborate with the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) and the Congressional Oversight Commission.
“I call it the trifecta of oversight,” Miller said. “The global pandemic – that’s an unprecedented challenge in and of itself – requires unprecedented solutions, and the Congress worked on an unprecedented solution in the CARES Act, but that requires unprecedented oversight.”
Miller said “there are people misusing the CARES Act money and potentially committing criminal acts.” He said his team of analysts, auditors and investigators scrubbing data from CARES Act programs have found 69 cases of suspected fraud.
Although it has been a challenge to stand up an office in the midst of a pandemic, Miller said they are seeing results. “We are building the airplane as we’re flying it … and flying it through an unprecedented storm, that storm being the global pandemic.”
“Nevertheless, we are seeing results, we are combing through … data sets, databases … developing leads, we are working with U.S. Attorneys … and we’re working with the Assistant U.S. Attorneys to develop potential criminal cases … We are getting our cases accepted in the U.S. Attorney’s office – accepted for prosecution,” Miller stated.