Covid-19 Public Documents & Reports

Witness testimony, reports, government records, and more — read the key documents produced by the Covid-19 oversight investigations conducted by Congress, inspectors general, and outside watchdogs.

The Public Documents and Reports database collects the key primary source documents and reports produced by the oversight inquiries into the Covid-19 response. More information about the ongoing investigations themselves can be found in the Oversight Tracker, and you can view all of the priority issues that American Oversight is investigating in the Covid-19 Oversight Hub.

This database allows you to filter by Type (reports; tools; transcripts or testimony) and Source (inspectors general; watchdog organizations; news publications).

You can also filter and sort by Topic:

• Business and Industry (meat-packing plants; workplace safety; restaurant reopenings; etc.)
• Communications Management (misinformation; messaging control; etc.)
• Elections and Campaigns
• Federal Management
• Immigration and Border Issues
• Influence and Access in Pandemic Response (private businesses, outside entities with sway over decisions)
• Medical Supplies and PPE
• Political Opportunism (using pandemic to push immigration restrictions; etc.)
• Relief Funds and Loans
• State and Federal Coordination
• State Issues (actions of individual states and cities)
• Testing
• Trump Family Business
• Vulnerable Populations (prisons; detention centers; nursing homes; etc.)
• Vaccines and Treatments

Return to the Covid-19 Oversight Hub
Date Title Topic(s)
05/28/2021
Hearing: Small Business Administration Oversight Hearing
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on May 28, 2021, titled “Small Business Administration Oversight Hearing.” SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman testified.

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
05/27/2021
Report: Results of the OIG Survey on Returning to the Workplace
Source: Inspector General - Consumer Product Safety Commission
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Consumer Product Safety Commission Inspector General published the results of an OIG survey of CPSC staff on returning to the workplace during the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey covered vaccinations, desired safety measures upon return, experiences of employees who have already returned to their regular duty stations, communications from management during the return process, and preferred work arrangements. OIG found that a majority of employees at the agency intended to get the Covid-19 vaccine. OIG also found that employees’ expressed a need for effective ventilation systems, notifications about potential Covid-19 exposure, and policies protecting employees reporting safety concerns. Over a third of all employees said they were unsure if they would feel comfortable returning to their duty stations.

Released By

Inspector General - Consumer Product Safety Commission
05/27/2021
Report: Enforcement Efforts to Protect Participants’ Rights in Employer-Sponsored Retirement and Health Benefit Plans
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Government Accountability Office published a report examining how the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) within the Labor Department manages its enforcement process, EBSA’s strategies to improve investigative processes and ensure enforcement quality, and the immediate and long-term challenges of Covid-19 on EBSA and private-sector retirement and health plans. The pandemic created a number of challenges for EBSA and benefit plans. GAO found, for example, that court closures temporarily slowed criminal cases (though the increase in virtual hearings helped resume litigation). Stakeholders and EBSA officials also noted difficulties in locating the many plan participants who may have left a job due to the pandemic, but were unaware they left behind retirement funds.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
05/26/2021
Hearing: The State of the National Park System
Source: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on May 26, 2021, titled “The State of the National Park System.” The hearing examined the current state of the National Park System, including the impacts of Covid-19 on National Park Service operations, staff, visitation and facilities. Witnesses included Shawn Benge (deputy director of operations, National Park Service); Ken Burns (filmmaker); David MacDonald (president and CEO, Friends of Acadia); and Scott Socha (chairman, National Park Hospitality Association).

Released By

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
05/26/2021
Hearing: An Examination of the SBA’s Covid-19 Programs
Source: House Small Business Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on May 26, 2021, titled “An Examination of the SBA’s Covid-19 Programs.” SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman testified.

Released By

House Small Business Committee
05/26/2021
Hearing: A Shot at Normalcy: Building Covid-19 Vaccine Confidence
Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on May 26, 2021, titled “A Shot at Normalcy: Building Covid-19 Vaccine Confidence.” Witnesses included: Nick Offerman (actor); Saad Omer (director, Yale Institute for Global Health); J. Nadine Gracia (executive vice president and COO, Trust for America’s Health); Amy Pisani (executive director, Vaccinate Your Family); and Karen Shelton (director, Mount Rogers Health District, Virginia Department of Health).

Released By

House Energy and Commerce Committee
05/26/2021
Hearing: The Future of SNAP: Moving Past the Pandemic
Source: House Agriculture Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on May 26, 2021, titled “The Future of SNAP: Moving Past the Pandemic.” Witnesses included Dr. Lauren Bauer (fellow, economic studies, Brookings Institution); Odessa Davis (Share Our Strength); James Whitford (executive director, Watered Gardens); Rachel Wilson (Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida); and Renée Boynton Jarret (associate professor of pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, and director, Vital Village Networks).

Released By

House Agriculture Committee
05/26/2021
Hearing: Veteran Employment Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Veterans' Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on May 26, 2021, titled “Veteran Employment Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Witnesses included Chris Thorne (Chris Thorne Consulting); Jeremy Villanueva (assistant national legislative director, Disabled Veterans of America); Thomas Winkel (director, Arizona Coalition for Military Families); and Eric Eversole (executive director, Hiring Our Heroes).

Released By

House Veterans' Affairs Committee
05/26/2021
Hearing: Examining the Covid-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Languages One Year Later
Source: Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on May 26, 2021, titled “Examining the Covid-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Languages One Year Later.” Witnesses included Michelle Sauve (acting commissioner, Administration for Native Americans, HHS); Chuck Hoskin Jr. (principal chief, Cherokee Nation); Leslie Harper (president, National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs); Kaʻiulani Laehā (CEO, Aha Punana Leo); and Bernadette “Yaayuk” Alvanna-Stimpfle (Ddirector, Kawerak Eskimo Heritage, and chair, Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council).

Released By

Senate Indian Affairs Committee
05/25/2021
Report: Performance Audit of the Implementation of OMB Covid-19 Flexibilities – California Institute of Technology
Source: Inspector General - National Science Foundation
Type: Report
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

The NSF Inspector General engaged Cotton & Company LLP to conduct a performance audit of the implementation of OMB Covid-19 flexibilities at Caltech for the period of March 1 to Sept. 30, 2020. The audit sought to determine whether Caltech used the administrative flexibilities authorized by OMB and, if so, whether Caltech complied with associated guidelines. The auditors questioned $16,769 of unallowable salary charged after OMB M-20-17 expired, and expressed concerns about Caltech’s compliance with certain federal and NSF regulations unrelated to Covid-19 flexibilities.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/25/2021
Report: Performance Audit of the Implementation of OMB Covid-19 Flexibilities – University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source: Inspector General - National Science Foundation
Type: Report
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

The NSF Inspector General engaged Cotton & Company LLP to conduct a performance audit of the implementation of OMB Covid-19 flexibilities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the period of March 1 to Sept. 30, 2020. The objective of the audit was to determine if UW-Madison used the administrative Covid-19 flexibilities authorized by OMB and, if so, whether UW-Madison complied with the associated guidelines. The auditors did not identify any exceptions related to UW-Madison’s use of the Covid-19 flexibilities, but identified concerns about UW-Madison’s compliance with certain federal and NSF regulations, NSF award terms and conditions, and organizational policies no related to Covid-19 flexibilities.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/25/2021
Report: Performance Audit of the Implementation of OMB Covid-19 Flexibilities – Florida State University
Source: Inspector General - National Science Foundation
Type: Report
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

The NSF Inspector General engaged Cotton & Company LLP to conduct an audit of the implementation of OMB Covid-19 flexibilities at Florida State University for the period of March 1 to Sept. 20, 2020. The objective of the audit was to determine if FSU used the administrative Covid-19 flexibilities authorized by OMB and, if so, whether FSU complied with the associated guidelines. Although auditors did not identify any exceptions related to FSU’s use of the Covid-19 flexibilities, they identified concerns about FSU’s compliance with certain federal and NSF regulations, NSF award terms and conditions, and organizational policies not related to the Covid-19 flexibilities.

Released By

PRAC
05/24/2021
Report: Implementation of Economic Impact Payments
Source: Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) conducted an audit to assess IRS’s Economic Impact Payment (EIP) outreach and assistance to individuals, accuracy of computations, and adequacy of controls to prevent ineligible individuals from receiving EIPs. TIGTA found that as of July 16, 2020, IRS had issued more than 4.4 million EIPs totaling nearly $5.5 billion to potentially ineligible individuals. These included payments made to deceased individuals, individuals in U.S. territories who have also received payments from the territories, and individuals with filing status changes. As of Oct. 1, 2020, individuals voluntarily returned 65,477 payments totaling more than $80 million.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/20/2021
Hearing: A Dire Shortage and Getting Worse: Solving the Crisis in the Health Care Workforce
Source: Senate HELP Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on May 20, 2021, titled “A Dire Shortage and Getting Worse: Solving the Crisis in the Health Care Workforce.” Witnesses included David J. Skorton (president and CEO, Association of American Medical Colleges); Leon McDouble (president, National Medical Association); Shelley Spires (CEO, Albany Area Primary Health Care); and James D. Herbert (president, University of New England).

Released By

Senate HELP Committee
05/20/2021
Report: Covid-19 Pandemic: VA Provides Health Care Assistance to Civilians as Part of the Federal Response
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) interviewed VA officials and analyzed documents related to VA’s civilian health care response to Covid-19, including mission assignments from March 2020 through February 2021. GAO also interviewed FEMA and HHS officials, seeking information on interagency coordination efforts; FEMA had tasked the VA with providing emergency resources to support states, territories, tribes, and other federal agencies through mission assignments. GAO’s report described how the VA determines its capacity to accept mission assignments, the number and types of mission assignments the VA conducted during the study period, and the VA’s efforts to review the mission assignments it conducted.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
05/20/2021
Report: Universal Childcare Is Essential to Women’s Economic Futures: Women Are Not Returning to Work Due to Lack of Child Care
Source: Members of Congress
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden, and Tina Smith, and Reps. Katherine Clark, Rosa DeLauro, Sara Jacobs, and Mondaire Jones, released a report detailing the need to expand and invest in America’s child care system, and called for $700 billion in investments in child care as the U.S. emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. The report noted that a quarter of women who became unemployed during the pandemic attributed their unemployment to a lack of child care and a need to leave the workforce or reduce their working hours to take care of their children.

Released By

Sen. Elizabeth Warren
05/20/2021
Report: U.S. Postal Inspection Service Pandemic Response to Mail Fraud and Mail Theft
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The USPS Inspector General assessed the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s response to mail fraud and mail theft during the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, USPS OIG found that the Postal Inspection Service took appropriate action to respond to mail fraud and theft during the pandemic. For example, Mail Fraud Program employees participated in federal task forces to investigate and disrupt coronavirus-related scams. Postal inspectors also coordinated with law enforcement agencies to prevent theft of Economic Impact Payment checks. However, OIG also found that the Postal Inspection Service’s actions were not guided by an existing plan for how to maintain and provide law enforcement services during the public health crisis. The Postal Inspection Service stated that they will conduct an interim review to determine “lessons learned” and develop a response plan for future crises.

Released By

Inspector General - U.S. Postal Service
05/20/2021
Report: Audit of the Defense Department CARES Act Awards to the Defense Industrial Base
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The DOD Inspector General conducted an audit to determine whether the agency awarded CARES Act funding to sustain or increase the Defense Industrial Base in accordance with federal regulations and Defense Production Act authorities.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Defense
05/19/2021
Hearing: Examining Emergent BioSolutions’ Failure to Protect Public Health and Public Funds
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hearing on May 19, 2021, titled “Examining Emergent BioSolutions’ Failure to Protect Public Health and Public Funds.” Witnesses included: Robert G. Kramer (president and CEO, Emergent BioSolutions Inc.) and Fuad El-Hibri (executive chairman, Emergent BioSolutions Inc.).

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
05/19/2021
Hearing: Covid-19 Part II: Evaluating the Medical Supply Chain and Pandemic Response Gaps
Source: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Medical Supplies and PPE

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on May 19, 2021, titled “Covid-19 Part II: Evaluating the Medical Supply Chain and Pandemic Response Gaps.” Witnesses included Shereef Elnahal (president and CEO, University Hospital); Robert Handfield (professor, Poole College of Management, North Carolina State University); Stephen Schondelmeyer (professor, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota); and Kimberly Glas (president and CEO, National Council of Textile Organizations).

Released By

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
05/19/2021
Hearing: Covid-19 Health Care Flexibilities: Perspectives, Experiences, and Lessons Learned
Source: Senate Finance Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on May 19, 2021, titled “Covid-19 Health Care Flexibilities: Perspectives, Experiences, and Lessons Learned.” Witnesses included Jessica Farb (director of health care, GAO); Kisha Davis (Commission on Federal and State Policy, American Academy of Family Physicians); Linda V. DeCherrie (clinical director, Mount Sinai At Home; professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai); Narayana Murali (executive director and board member, America’s Physician Groups); and Robert A. Berenson (fellow, Urban Institute).

Released By

Senate Finance Committee
05/19/2021
Hearing: The Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: An Update and Next Steps with SBA’s Resource Partners
Source: House Small Business Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on May 19, 2021, titled “The Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: An Update and Next Steps with SBA’s Resource Partners.” Witnesses included: Charles Rowe (president and CEO, America’s Small Business Development Centers); Bridget Weston (CEO, Service Corps of Retire Executives); Corinne Hodges (CEO, Association of Women’s Business Centers); and Patrick Montgomery (founder and CEO, Kansas City Cattle Company).

Released By

House Small Business Committee
05/19/2021
Report: Covid-19 in Nursing Homes: Most Homes Had Multiple Outbreaks and Weeks of Sustained Transmission from May 2020 Through January 2021
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Government Accountability Office reviewed CMS oversight of nursing homes in light of Covid-19’s disproportionate impact on these facilities. GAO analyzed CDC Covid-19 data reported by nursing homes each week of the review period (May 2020 – January 2021), and discussed the frequency and duration of Covid-19 outbreaks. GAO categorized the nursing homes in its review into two groups: nursing homes with outbreaks lasting less than five weeks, and those with outbreaks lasting at least five weeks. In its study of 13,380 (out of the roughly 15,000) nursing homes in the U.S., GAO found that 94 percent of nursing homes in the country had more than one Covid-19 outbreak.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
05/19/2021
Testimony: Medicare and Medicaid: Covid-19 Program Flexibilities and Considerations for Their Continuation
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified before a Senate Finance Committee hearing summarizing GAO’s reports related to Medicare and Medicaid flexibilities during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as preliminary observations related to telehealth waivers in both programs.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
05/19/2021
Memorandum: Preliminary Findings from Investigation into Emergent BioSolutions Inc.
Source: House Oversight and Reform Committee, House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Memorandum
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

The Majority Staffs of the House Oversight Committee and the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a memorandum identifying initial findings and new documents obtained during the committees’ ongoing investigation into Emergent BioSolutions. The memo noted that Emergent’s executives received millions in raises and bonuses in February 2021, despite the company having ruined millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines earlier and having failed to address long-standing deficiencies at the facility that contaminated those doses.

Released By

House Oversight and Reform Committee, House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
05/18/2021
Hearing: The Need for Universal Broadband: Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on May 18, 2021, titled “The Need for Universal Broadband: Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Witnesses included Joi Chaney (National Urban League); Matt Dunne (Center on Rural Innovation); Max Stier (Partnership for Public Service); and Lang Zimmerman (Yelcot Communications).

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
05/17/2021
Memorandum: American Rescue Plan – Application of Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus Relief Fund
Source: Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Treasury Assistant Inspector General for Audit sent a memorandum to Chief Recovery Officer Jacob Leibenluft detailing “lessons learned” from OIG’s monitoring and oversight of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) monies.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
05/13/2021
Hearing: Federal Real Estate Post-Covid-19 Part One: A View from The Private Sector
Source: House Transportation Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry

The House Transportation Committee held a hearing on May 13, 2021, titled “Federal Real Estate Post-Covid-19 Part One: A View from The Private Sector.” Witnesses included: Kay Sargent (senior principal, director of workplace, HOK; testified on behalf of the International Facility Management Association); Genevieve Hanson (principal, Ernst & Young LLP); Kelly Bacon (principal, AECOM); Marcy Owens Test (senior vice president, CBRE Federal Lessor Advisory Group); and Norman Dong (managing director, FD Stonewater).

Released By

House Transportation Committee
05/13/2021
Hearing: A Race Against Time: Deploying Vaccines and Addressing the Disproportionate Impacts of Covid-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean
Source: House Foreign Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on May 13, 2021, titled “A Race Against Time: Deploying Vaccines and Addressing the Disproportionate Impacts of Covid-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Witnesses included: Arachu Castro (Samuel Z. Stone Endowed Chair of Public Health in Latin America, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine); Tatiana Bertolucci (regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, CARE International); and R. Evan Ellis (Latin America research professor, U.S. Army War College).

Released By

House Foreign Affairs Commitee
05/13/2021
Report: Performance Audit of the Implementation of OMB Covid-19 Flexibilities-University of New Mexico
Source: Inspector General - National Science Foundation
Type: Report
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

The National Science Foundation OIG engaged Cotton & Company LLP to conduct a performance audit of the implementation of OMB Covid-19 flexibilities at the University of New Mexico from the period of March 1 to Sept. 30, 2020. The audit was conducted to determine if UNM used the administrative Covid-19 flexibilities authorized by OMB and, if so, whether UNM complied with the associated guidelines. The auditors identified concerns with UNM’s compliance with certain federal and NSF regulations, NSF award terms and conditions, and organizational policies not related to the Covid-19 flexibilities.

Released By

Inspector General - National Science Foundation
05/12/2021
Hearing: Covid-19 Variants and Emerging Research Needs
Source: House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on May 12, 2021, titled “Covid-19 Variants and Emerging Research Needs.” Witnesses included: Dr. Salim Abdool Karim (director, CAPRISA); Dr. Nathan Grubaugh (assistant professor of epidemiology, Yale University); and Dr. Caitlin Rivers (senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security).

Released By

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
05/12/2021
Hearing: Military Transition During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Veterans' Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on May 12, 2021, titled “Military Transition During the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Witnesses included: Jennifer Dane (executive director, Modern Military Association of America); Matt Stevens (CEO, The Honor Foundation); Carolyn Lee (executive director, the Manufacturing Institute); Patrick Murray (legislative director, Veterans of Foreign Wars); William Mansell (director, Defense Support Services, Defense Department); James Rodriguez (acting assistant secretary, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, Labor Department); and Cheryl Rawls (executive director, Outreach, Transition and Economic Development Service, Veterans Benefits Administration).

Released By

House Veterans' Affairs Committee
05/12/2021
Hearing: Supporting Disabled Veterans: The State of Claims Processing During and After Covid-19
Source: Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on May 12, 2021, titled “Supporting Disabled Veterans: The State of Claims Processing During and After Covid-19.” Witnesses included: Thomas J. Murphy (acting undersecretary for benefits, Veterans Benefits Administration, VA); Elizabeth Curda (director of education, workforce, and income security, GAO); Ryan Gallucci (director, National Veterans Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars); Shane Liermann (deputy national legislative director, Disabled American Veterans); and Carmen McGinnis (national service officer, Disabled American Veterans).

Released By

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
05/12/2021
Hearing: Covid-19 Pandemic and the International Response
Source: Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on May 12, 2021, titled “Covid-19 Pandemic and the International Response.” Witnesses included: Gayle E. Smith (coordinator, global Covid response and health security, Department of State) and Jeremy Konyndyk (executive director, Covid-19 Task Force, USAID).

Released By

Senate Foreign Relations Committee
05/12/2021
Hearing: The Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond: Improving Mental Health and Addiction Services in Our Communities
Source: Senate Finance Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on May 12, 2021, titled “The Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond: Improving Mental Health and Addiction Services in Our Communities.” Witnesses included: Victor R. Armstrong (director, North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services); Stephanie Woodard (senior adviser on behavioral health, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services); Lenette Kosovich (CEO, Rimrock Foundation); and Malkia Newman (team supervisor, CNS Healthcare Anti-Stigma Program).

Released By

Senate Finance Committee
05/12/2021
Hearing: Examining the Covid-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Tourism Economies One Year Later
Source: Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on May 12, 2021, titled “Examining the Covid-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Tourism Economies One Year Later.” Witnesses included: Dennis Alvord (acting assistant secretary for economic development, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Commerce Department); Anthony Rodman (acting director, Office of Indian Economic Development, Interior); John De Fries (president and CEO, Hawai’i Tourism Authority); Sherry Rupert (CEO, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association); and Russell Dick (president and CEO, Huna Totem Corporation).

Released By

Senate Indian Affairs Committee
05/12/2021
Report: Key Insights: Covid-19 in Correctional and Detention Facilities
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee published a report summarizing oversight work from inspector general offices related to the steps federal agencies have taken to prevent the spread and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on individuals housed in federal correctional and detention facilities. PRAC noted that these facilities were not designed for social distancing, quarantine, or medical isolation. They also noted that the pandemic has exacerbated longstanding staffing shortages, making it difficult for some Bureau of Prisons institutions to fully implement strategies to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 while providing routine medical care for incarcerated individuals. The PRAC also highlighted the risk of spreading Covid-19 through the transporting of detainees to other facilities, and that Covid-19 guidance and oversight varied by facility type (i.e., whether they were operated by tribal governments, private contractors, or state or local entities).

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/12/2021
Report: Performance Audit of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Fiscal Year 2020 Compliance with the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General contracted accounting firm KPMG to conduct a performance audit on SBA’s compliance with the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019. While KPMG reported that SBA is compliant with four of the six reporting requirements in PIIA, they also found that SBA needed to improve the completeness and accuracy of improper payment reporting, and further, SBA needed to improve its internal controls to prevent improper payments. Specifically, KPMG found that SBA’s Disaster Direct Loan Program disbursements was not compliant with PIIA.

Released By

Inspector General - Small Business Administration
05/11/2021
Hearing: An Update from Federal Officials on Efforts to Combat Covid-19
Source: Senate HELP Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on May 11, 2021, titled “An Update from Federal Officials on Efforts to Combat Covid-19.” Witnesses included: Anthony Fauci, MD (director, NIAID, NIH); David Kessler, MD (chief science officer, Covid response, HHS); Peter Marks, MD, PhD (director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA); and Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (director, CDC).

Released By

Senate HELP Committee
05/06/2021
Hearing: Addressing the Impact of Covid-19 on Students with Disabilities
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on May 6, 2021, titled “Addressing the Impact of Covid-19 on Students with Disabilities.” Witnesses included: Ronald Hager (Managing Attorney, National Disability Rights Network); Kanika Littleton (Project Director, Michigan Alliance for Families); Reade Bush; and Danielle M. Kovach, EdD (Special Education Teacher, Tulsa Trail Elementary School; Hopatcong Board of Education (New Jersey)).

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
05/06/2021
Report: SBA’s Handling of Identity Theft in the Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Communications Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Small Business Administration Inspector General issued an evaluation report regarding SBA’s handling of identity theft complaints in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. At the time of OIG’s review, SBA had not provided status updates to those reporting EIDL identity theft; in fact, some complainants had contacted SBA multiple times. The OIG reported that many of the complainants found out about the fraudulent loans after they received SBA loan statements.

Released By

PRAC
05/06/2021
Interim Report: Interim Results of the 2021 Filing Season
Source: Inspector General for Tax Administration - Treasury Department
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration evaluated whether the IRS timely and accurately processed individual paper and electronically filed tax returns during the 2021 filing season, including backlogged returns received during calendar year 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

Inspector General for Tax Administration - Treasury Department
05/06/2021
Report: Evaluation of OPM’s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Office of Personnel Management
Type: Report
Federal Management

At the request of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Operations, the OPM Inspector General examined OPM’s plans and procedures for returning employees to federal offices during the Covid-19 pandemic. OPM OIG’s evaluation sought to determine whether OPM’s plan for returning employees followed existing guidance and best practices to reduce the risk of employees to Covid-19 exposure. OPM OIG identified several problems, including that OPM management did not require workers to wear face coverings, and that OPM needed additional signage for entering, social distancing, and routine cleaning and disinfecting of the Theodore Roosevelt Federal Building. Moreover, OIG determined that improvements needed to be made in the processing of Covid-19 incidents.

Released By

Rep. Gerry Connolly
05/05/2021
Hearing: TSA: Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Implications for Budget and Operations
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on May 5, 2021, titled “TSA: Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Implications for Budget and Operations.” Darby LaJoye, the senior official performing the duties of TSA administrator, testified.

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
05/05/2021
Report: Veterans Affairs: Use of Additional Funding for Covid-19 Relief
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Government Accountability Office published a report examining the Department of Veterans Affairs’ obligations and expenditures of Covid-19 supplemental funding and its plans to obligate remaining funds. The GAO also examined how the VA oversees the use of Covid-19 supplemental funds.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
05/04/2021
Report: EPA Did Not Conduct Agency-Wide Risk Assessment of CARES Act Appropriations, Increasing Risk of Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Mismanagement
Source: Inspector General - Environmental Protection Agency
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The EPA Inspector General documented and assessed the internal controls that EPA implemented to mitigate risks of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement over CARES Act appropriations. EPA OIG’s evaluation of the agency’s CARES Act appropriations determined that EPA did not fully comply with federal laws, OMB Circular A-123, and the GAO Green Book. Specifically, the EPA Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) did not conduct an agency-wide risk assessment of CARES Act funding to identify risks that could impact the success of CARES Act objectives, increasing the risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of relief funds. Moreover, OCFO did not comply with CARES Act reporting requirements.

Released By

Inspector General - Environmental Protection Agency
05/03/2021
Report: Violations of ICE Detention Standards at Pulaski County Jail
Source: Inspector General - Department of Homeland Security
Type: Report
Federal Management, Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The DHS Inspector General conducted an unannounced, remote inspection of Pulaski County Jail in Illinois, and identified violations of ICE detention standards that threatened the health, safety, and rights of detainees. With regard to Covid-19, the OIG found that Pulaski did not consistently enforce precautions like masks and social distancing, which may have contributed to repeated Covid-19 transmissions in the facility. The inspector general also found that routine dental services at Pulaski were backlogged due to the pandemic, and that the facility’s medical unit did not have emergency dental services. As a result, five detainees requiring annual dental services had to wait to receive dental screenings.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Homeland Security
04/30/2021
Report: Behavioral Health: Patient Access, Provider Claims Payment, and the Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Finance Committee asked the Government Accountability Office to examine the demand for behavioral health services (including mental health services and services for substance use disorders), as well as coverage and payment for these services, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Evidence collected by the GAO during the pandemic suggests that the prevalence of behavioral health conditions has increased, while access to in-person behavioral health services has decreased.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
04/30/2021
The Twelfth Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Committee
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The Congressional Oversight Commission published its 12th report, which examined in depth a national security loan to Yellow Corporation, formerly known as YRC Worldwide Inc., which accounted for 95 percent of total outstanding pandemic national security loans. The report also provided updates regarding recent key actions taken by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve regarding lending programs and facilities under Subtitle A, as well as updates regarding the commission’s oversight activities.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Committee
04/30/2021
SIGPR Quarterly Report to the United States Congress (Jan. 1 – March 31, 2021)
Source: Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery
Type: Report
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

The Office of the Special Inspector General for
Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR), in its quarterly report to Congress, stated that its efforts to conduct oversight of Covid-19 relief funds have been “met with resistance” from the Treasury Department and the Treasury Department Inspector General “due to their skepticism that SIGPR had jurisdiction to oversee the Coronavirus Relief Fund and Payroll Support Program.” SIGPR noted that while they had worked cooperatively with Treasury to understand Payroll Support Program functions and to obtain data relating to program participants, Treasury’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) stated that SIGPR lacked jurisdiction over that program. When SIGPR tried to gain access to Treasury’s Payroll Support Program database, OGC informed SIGPR that their access to that database had not been approved despite earlier conversations about what their access could look like. SIGPR argued that Treasury OIG’s decision to ask Treasury OGC to determine SIGPR’s jurisdiction “compromised inspector general independence.”

Released By

Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery
04/30/2021
SIGTARP Semiannual Report to Congress (Oct. 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021)
Source: Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) published its semiannual report to Congress, detailing criminal and civil investigations, and audits, of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA)’s long-term economic stability programs (Home Affordable Modification Program and the Hardest Hit Fund). While SIGTARP was created in 2009 in response to the financial crisis, more recently, it has been conducting investigations and audits of the above ESSA programs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program
04/29/2021
Hearing: Social Security During Covid: How the Pandemic Hampered Access to Benefits and Strategies for Improving Service Delivery
Source: Senate Finance Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on April 29, 2021, titled “Social Security During Covid: How the Pandemic Hampered Access to Benefits and Strategies for Improving Service Delivery.” Witnesses included: Grace Kim (deputy commissioner of operations, Social Security Administration); Kascadare Causeya (program manager, Central City Concern); Peggy Murphy (immediate past president, National Council of Social Security Management Associations); and Tara Dawson McGuinness (founder and senior adviser, New Practice Lab, New America).

Released By

Senate Finance Committee
04/29/2021
Report: U.S. Postal Service: Volume, Performance, and Financial Changes Since the Onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Elections and Campaigns, Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The Government Accountability Office released a report detailing changes in USPS’s mail volume during the Covid-19 pandemic, on-time performance, and revenue and expenses from January through December 2020. During the study period, the GAO found that USPS experienced a 9 percent drop in total mail volume when compared with 2019, though a surge in election-related mail caused a temporary spike in total mail volume in September and October 2020. The GAO found that, overall, USPS’s nationwide on-time performance fell in 2020.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
04/29/2021
Hearing: A Changing Workforce: Supporting Older Workers Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond
Source: Senate Aging Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Aging Committee held a hearing on April 29, 2021, titled “A Changing Workforce: Supporting Older Workers Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond.” Witnesses included: Elizabeth White (aging solutions advocate and author); Dr. Elise Gould (senior economist, Economic Policy Institute); Ramsey Alwin (president and CEO, National Council on Aging); and David Poston (president, Palmetto Synthetics).

Released By

Senate Aging Committee
04/29/2021
PRAC Semiannual Report to Congress (Oct. 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021)
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee published its second Semiannual Report to Congress, covering the period from Oct. 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021. The report included new PRAC developments over the past year, including a Fraud Task Force serving as a coordination tool to assist inspector general offices in their investigations of pandemic-related fraud, and the use of data analytics to identify fraudulent relief payments.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
04/29/2021
Public Citizen Progress Report: Biden’s First 100 Days
Source: Public Citizen
Type: Report
Federal Management

Public Citizen released a “progress report” summarizing key changes and accomplishments of the Biden administration’s first 100 days in office. The report discussed Biden’s vaccine rollout, the American Rescue Plan, the ACA special enrollment period, and worker health and safety during the pandemic. The report included “calls to action” and recommendations for next steps.

Released By

Public Citizen
04/28/2021
Hearing: Addressing Health Disparities in Indian Country: Review of the Indian Health Service’s Covid Response and Future Needs
Source: Senate Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on April 28, 2021, titled “Addressing Health Disparities in Indian Country: Review of the Indian Health Service’s Covid Response and Future Needs.” Witnesses included: Elizabeth Fowler (acting director, Indian Health Service) and Jillian E. Curtis (CFO, Indian Health Service).

Released By

Senate Appropriations Committee
04/28/2021
Testimony: Indian Education: Schools Need More Assistance to Provide Distance Learning
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Communications Management, Education, Vulnerable Populations

The Government Accountability Office testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, discussing the extent to which the Bureau of Indian Education provided schools with guidance to develop and implement distance learning programs during the pandemic, and the extent to which students have had the technology they need to participate in such programs. The GAO testified that BIE has not provided BIE-funded schools with comprehensive guidance on distance learning during the pandemic. The GAO also noted that when BIE issued a school reopening guide for the 2020-2021 school year, the guidance focused primarily on preparations for in-person instruction, despite the fact that nearly all schools provided distance learning during fall 2020.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
04/28/2021
Hearing: The Long Haul: Forging a Path through the Lingering Effects of COVID-19
Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on April 28, 2020, titled “The Long Haul: Forging a Path through the Lingering Effects of COVID-19.” Witnesses included: Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD (director, NIH); John T. Brooks, MD (chief medical officer, CDC Covid-19 Response); Steven Deeks, MD (professor of medicine, UCSF); Jennifer Possick, MD (associate professor, Yale School of Medicine); Natalie Hakal (patient, Eugene, Ore.); Lisa McCorkell (patient, Oakland, Calif.); and Chimere Smith (patient, Baltimore, Md.).

Released By

House Energy and Commerce Committee
04/28/2021
Hearing: Examining Our Covid-19 Response: Using Lessons Learned to Address Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
Source: Senate HELP Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on April 28, 2021, titled “Examining Our Covid-19 Response: Using Lessons Learned to Address Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders.” Witnesses included: Jonathan Muther, PhD (vice president of medical services – behavioral health, Salud Family Health Centers); Tami D. Benton, MD (psychiatrist in chief and executive director, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia); Sara Goldsby, MSW, MPH (director, South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services); and Andy Keller, PhD (president and CEO, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute).

Released By

Senate HELP Committee
04/28/2021
Hearing: Examining the COVID-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Education Systems One Year Later
Source: Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on April 28, 2021, titled “Examining the Covid-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Education Systems One Year Later.” Witnesses included: Melissa Emrey-Arras (director, education-workforce-income security issues, GAO); Tony Derman (director, Bureau of Indian Education); Lance West (principal, Schurz Elementary; vice chairman, BIE Pyramid Lake School Board); Dr. Kauanoe Kamana (principal, Ke Kula ‘O Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Demonstration Laboratory School); and Dr. Michelle Thomas (superintendent, Belcourt School District).

Released By

Senate Indian Affairs Committee
04/27/2021
Hearing: Supporting Children, Workers and Families by Strengthening America’s Child Care Sector
Source: Senate HELP Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on April 27, 2021, titled “Supporting Children, Workers and Families by Strengthening America’s Child Care Sector.” Witnesses included: Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor (chief policy officer, Zero to Three); Susan Gayle Perry (chief deputy secretary, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services); Dasja Reed (parent from New Orleans); and Khadija Lewis Khan (executive director, Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center).

Released By

Senate HELP Committee
04/27/2021
Hearing: Curbing Covid Cons: Warning Consumers About Pandemic Frauds, Scams, and Swindles
Source: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on April 27, 2021, “Curbing Covid Cons: Warning Consumers about Pandemic Frauds, Scams, and Swindles.” Witnesses included: Daniel Kaufman (acting director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC); William Kovacic (professor of law and policy, George Washington University Law School); Bonnie Patten (CEO, Truth in Advertising); Kevin Rhodes (senior vice president and deputy general counsel, 3M); and Cynthia Alexander (assistant attorney general, Consumer Protection Division, Washington Attorney General’s Office).

Released By

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
04/26/2021
Report: Inspection of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations’ Office of Safety, Health, and Environmental Management
Source: Inspector General - Department of State
Type: Report
Federal Management

The State Department Inspector General inspected the Office of Safety, Health, and Environmental Management (SHEM), which is located under the Directorate of Operations’ Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO). In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, SHEM was a member of OBO’s Covid-19 working group and was the State Department’s principal adviser on the disinfection of overseas facilities. SHEM provided overseas posts with up-to-date Covid-19 information (in accordance with CDC guidelines), procedures for responding to a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19, and safety training.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of State
04/26/2021
Report: Immigrants Are Vital to the U.S. Economy
Source: Joint Economic Committee and Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Immigration and Border Issues

The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) released a report exploring the ways in which immigrants are vital to the U.S. economy, despite being among the hardest hit by the health and economic effects of Covid-19. JEC and CHC argued that immigrant labor will be vital to the country’s post-Covid economic recovery.

Released By

Joint Economic Committee
04/26/2021
Memorandum: HUD’s Use of, Accounting for, and Reporting on CARES Act Funding
Source: Inspector General - Department of Housing and Urban Development
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The HUD Inspector General assessed HUD’s use, accounting, and reporting of CARES Act funding. HUD received $12.4 billion in CARES Act funds; as of March 31, 2021, HUD had disbursed $3.4 billion and obligated $7.4 billion of those funds ($1.6 billion in funds had not yet been obligated).

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Housing and Urban Development
04/22/2021
Report: Comprehensive Health Care Inspection of Ann Arbor VA Medical Center
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The VA Inspector General evaluated the quality of care delivered in the inpatient and outpatient settings of the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center and multiple outpatient clinics in Michigan and Ohio. The inspection covered clinical and administrative processes, and focused on: leadership and organizational risks; Covid-19 pandemic readiness and response; quality, safety, and value; medical staff privileging; medication management, including long-term opioid therapy for pain; mental health, including the suicide prevention program; care coordination; women’s health; and high-risk processes, including reusable medical equipment.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
04/22/2021
Report: Assessment of the Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Customer Service Operations
Source: Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration conducted an audit to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the IRS’s Customer Service operations and to evaluate the development of the IRS’s comprehensive customer service strategy.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
04/22/2021
Report: Limited-Scope Review of the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s Response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Communications Management, Federal Management, Immigration and Border Issues

The DOJ Inspector General initiated a limited-scope review of the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s (EOIR) handling of certain challenges presented in conducting operations during the Covid-19 pandemic. OIG assessed: EOIR’s communication to staff, parties to proceedings, and the public about immigration court operations; its ability to mitigate health risks while maintaining operations during the pandemic; its use of worksite flexibilities; and its use of PPE. OIG found that EOIR took some actions to help mitigate the risk of Covid-19 for staff and parties to immigration proceedings, but various factors limited the efficacy of those efforts. For example, procedural decisions, such as waiving in-person appearances, fell to each immigration judge; OIG found that decisions on in-person appearances were inconsistent, not always successfully communicated, and sometimes contributed to exposure risk to staff and parties to immigration proceedings. Additionally, EOIR had limited electronic filing capability, relying primarily on in-person, paper filings; electronic filing was an option in only 14 of 69 immigration courts in March 2020. OIG also found that while EOIR created a team to address Covid-19 concerns, its initial communication related to the pandemic was sometimes unclear, inconsistent, and untimely, which resulted in confusion and anxiety.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Justice
04/21/2021
Hearing: Oversight of the Economic Development Administration’s Role in Pandemic Response
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on April 21, 2021, titled “Oversight of the Economic Development Administration’s Role in Pandemic Response.” Dennis Alvord, acting assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, testified.

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
04/20/2021
Hearing: Update on SBA’s Pandemic Response Programs
Source: House Small Business Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on April 20, 2021, titled “Update on SBA’s Pandemic Response Programs.” The hearing gave members the opportunity to discuss numerous reports from the SBA Inspector General and the GAO related to the lack of internal controls and the potential for fraud within the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs. Witnesses included William Shear (director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, GAO) and Hannibal “Mike” Ware (SBA Inspector General).

Released By

House Small Business Committee
04/20/2021
Hearing: Covid-19 Recovery: Supporting Workers and Modernizing the Workforce Through Quality Education, Training, and Employment Opportunities
Source: Senate Health, Education, and Pensions Committee (minority staff)
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing titled “Covid-19 Recovery: Supporting Workers and Modernizing the Workforce Through Quality Education, Training, and Employment Opportunities.” Witnesses included: Maria Flynn (president and CEO, Jobs for the Future); Deneice Thomas (deputy commissioner of workforce learning and development, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development); Dr. Scott Ralls (president, Wake Technical Community College); and Alejandro Mendoza (human resources director, Optimax Systems, Inc.).

Released By

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
04/20/2021
Report: Covid-19: Emergency Financial Aid for College Students under the CARES Act
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

The Government Accountability Office reviewed how Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF), which allocated $12.6 billion in grants for schools to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Covid-19, were provided to schools. The GAO analyzed the Department of Education’s data (as of Nov. 20, 2020) on HEERF student aid obligations, as well as the extent to which schools accessed these funds. As of November 2020, the agency had awarded $6.19 billion to 4,778 schools that applied for emergency student aid funds. The GAO conducted its audit of the HEERF from June 2020 through April 2021, and found that by fall 2020, schools had distributed about 85 percent of these funds to students and that the majority of student aid funds went to public schools.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
04/20/2021
Report: Covid-19 Loans: SBA Has Begun to Take Steps to Improve Oversight and Fraud Risk Management
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has previously made recommendations to SBA to address internal control and fraud risk management deficiencies in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. GAO added both programs to its High-Risk List in March 2021, but reported that SBA has begun taking steps to address oversight deficiencies associated with these programs by: developing a loan review process and adding up-front verifications before it approves new loans; developing a plan for the testing needed to estimate improper payments; agreeing to implement a comprehensive oversight plan for the EIDL; and agreeing to conduct a formal assessment and development a strategy to manage fraud risks for each program, among other changes. However, GAO noted that SBA has not yet announced plans to conduct a portfolio-level analysis to detect potentially ineligible PPP and EIDL applications (as recommended by GAO in January 2021), nor could SBA provide adequate documentation to support a significant number of transactions and account balances related to the programs.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
04/20/2021
Report: Defense OIG Covid-19 Oversight Plant: 2021 Q2 Update
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its initial Covid-19 Pandemic Oversight Plan in May 2020. OIG’s Q2 update contained information about the office’s ongoing oversight projects, reports issued, and desired impact.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Defense
04/19/2021
Report: Covid-19: HHS Should Clarify Agency Roles for Emergency Return of U.S. Citizens During a Pandemic
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Communications Management, Federal Management, Political Opportunism

In the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. government repatriated about 1,100 U.S. citizens living abroad and, upon arrival back home, quarantined them domestically to prevent the spread of the virus. The HHS component agencies tasked with repatriation — the Administration for Children and Families, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the CDC — experienced coordination and safety issues that put repatriates, HHS personnel, and nearby communities at risk. The Government Accountability Office recommended that HHS revise or develop repatriation response plans and clarify agency roles. In assessing HHS’s role in the repatriation of U.S. citizens in the early stages of the pandemic, the GAO identified several problems including: lack of clarity as to which agency was in charge when the first repatriation flight from Wuhan arrived at the quarantine facility, causing confusion among the HHS component agencies; coordination issues among HHS component agencies; HHS’s delay in issuing its federal quarantine order, during which time a repatriate attempted to leave the quarantine facility; and HHS’s inconsistent use of PPE and HHS officials’ disagreement over which agency was responsible for managing infection prevention and control. Notably, an HHS official directed personnel to remove their PPE to avoid “bad optics.”

Released By

Government Accountability Office
04/15/2021
Hearing: Reaching the Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Science-Driven Approach to Swiftly and Safely Ending the Pandemic
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis’ hearing on April 15, 2021, titled “Reaching the Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Science-Driven Approach to Swiftly and Safely Ending the Pandemic,” includes the following witnesses: Dr. Rochelle Walensky (director, CDC), Dr. Anthony Fauci (director, NIAID), and Dr. David Kessler (chief science officer, Covid response, HHS).

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
04/15/2021
Hearing: Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Prisons
Source: Senate Judiciary Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on April 15, 2021, titled “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Prisons,” includes BOP Director Michael Carvajal as a witness.

Released By

Senate Judiciary Committee
04/14/2021
Hearing: Vaccinations and the Economic Recovery
Source: Joint Economic Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vaccines and Treatments

The Joint Economic Committee’s hearing on April 14, 2021, titled “Vaccinations and the Economic Recovery,” includes the following witnesses: Dr. Paul Romer (professor of economics, NYU; Nobel Prize winner in economics); Dr. Celine Gounder (clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases, NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital; CEO, Just Human Productions); and Dr. Alexander Tabarrok (Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics, Mercatus Center, and professor of economics, George Mason University).

Released By

Joint Economic Committee
04/14/2021
Hearing: Preparedness for Covid-19: The Initial Pandemic Response and Lessons Learned
Source: Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The Senate Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on April 14, 2021, titled “Preparedness for COVID-19: The Initial Pandemic Response and Lessons Learned.” Witnesses included: Nicole Lurie, MD (Former Assistant Secretary or Preparedness and Response, HHS); Julie Gerberding, MD (Former Director, CDC); Joseph Nimmich (Former Deputy Administrator, FEMA); and Elizabeth Zimmerman (Former Associate Administrator, Office of Response and Recovery, FEMA).

Released By

Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
04/14/2021
Hearing: An Epidemic within a Pandemic: Understanding Substance Use and Misuse in America
Source: House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s hearing on April 14, 2021, titled “An Epidemic within a Pandemic: Understanding Substance Use and Misuse in America,” focused on the increase in drug overdoses and fatalities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Witnesses included: Regina LaBelle (Acting Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy); Geoffrey Laredo (Principal, Santa Cruz Strategies, LLC); Patricia Richman (National Sentencing and Resource Counsel, Federal Public and Community Defenders); Mark Vargo (Pennington County State’s Attorney; Legislative Committee Chairman, National District Attorneys Association); Dr. Timothy Westlake (Emergency Department Medical Director, Pro Health Care Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital); and Dr. J. Deanna Wilson (Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine).

Released By

House Committee on Energy and Commerce
04/14/2021
Hearing: Examining the Covid-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Health Systems One Year Later
Source: Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on April 14, 2021 titled, “Examining the COVID-19 Response in Native Communities: Native Health Systems One Year Later.” Witnesses included: Rear Adm. Michael Toedt (Chief Medical Officer, Indian Health Service); William Smith (Chairperson, National Indian Health Board); Walter Murillo (Board President, National Council of Urban Indian Health); Dr. Sheri-Ann Daniels (Executive Director, Papa Ola Lōkahi); and Dr. Robert Onders (Alaska Native Medical Center Administrator).

Released By

Senate Indian Affairs Committee
04/14/2021
Report: The Covid Lobbyists
Source: Public Citizen
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

Public Citizen found that the federal government awarded more than $36 billion in contracts in 2020 to more than 6,300 companies to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. While only 6 percent of these companies (around 400 total) reported that they lobbied the federal government that year, these companies were awarded more than half ($19.4 billion) of the Covid contract money disbursed. While the federal lobbying industry’s revenue declined slightly in 2020, contract recipients who lobbied the White House or an awarding federal agency increased the number of lobbyists at their disposal in 2020.

Released By

Public Citizen
04/14/2021
Report: Covid-19: Efforts to Increase Vaccine Availability and Perspectives on Initial Implementation
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Vaccines and Treatments

The Government Accountability Office reviewed Covid-19 vaccine availability and initial vaccine administration. Stakeholders interviewed by the GAO identified challenges with initial vaccine implementation, including that states did not always have information critical to local-level distribution, such as how many doses would be received and when. In addition, the report detailed other actions the federal government has taken to make more doses available, including by adding new vaccine sites and by helping vaccine companies expand manufacturing capacity.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
04/14/2021
Report: Inconsistent Documentation and Management of Covid-19 Vaccinations for Community Living Center Residents
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The VA Inspector General reviewed the Veterans Health Administration’s plans to document receipt and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. The OIG determined that VHA facilities did not consistently document the Covid-19 vaccination status of veterans living in the VA’s Community Living Centers. OIG determined that VHA could not know at a national level whether the vaccine was offered to some VHA residents, and if so, what their vaccination status was. OIG urged clear guidance and consistent oversight to ensure CLCs are properly tracking veterans who fall in the 23 percent of residents missing information needed to determine their vaccination status.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
04/13/2021
Hearing: The State of Travel and Tourism During Covid
Source: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s hearing on April 13, 2021, titled “The State of Travel and Tourism During Covid,” includes the following witnesses: Steve Hill (president and CEO, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority); Jorge Perez (regional portfolio president, MGM Resorts International); Carol Dover (president and CEO, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association); and Tori Emerson Barnes (executive vice president, public affairs and policy, U.S. Travel Association).

Released By

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
04/09/2021
Report: Customer Perceptions of the U.S. Postal Service During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - U.S. Postal Service
Type: Report
Federal Management

The USPS Inspector General conducted a nationally representative survey to understand the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic may have altered customer perceptions of USPS, as well as their mail habits and other postal-related activities. While OIG found that Americans continued to hold favorable views of USPS, they also found that respondents sent mail and personal packages less frequently compared to the previous year, and that the timeliness of their mail delivery had declined.

Released By

Inspector General - U.S. Postal Service
04/09/2021
Documents: Trump Administration Officials Influenced CDC MMWRs, Attacked CDC Guidance for Schools, and Pushed “Herd Immunity” Strategy
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Documents
Communications Management, Education, Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Political Opportunism

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released documents obtained as part of its ongoing investigation into the Trump administration’s political interference with Covid-19 response and haphazard efforts to obtain critical medical supplies. The documents included communications illustrating Trump administration officials bragging about influencing the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR), attacking CDC’s guidance for schools and universities, and pushing a “herd immunity” strategy to combat the virus. The documents also showed that Trump administration officials often used personal email accounts for government work. The acquisition and release of these documents prompted the Select Subcommittee to send letters to Paul Alexander (former HHS senior adviser), Scott Atlas (former special adviser to the president), and Steven Hatfill (former adviser to Assistant to the President Peter Navarro) requesting documents and transcribed interviews regarding their roles in the Trump administration’s pandemic response.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
04/07/2021
Report: Audit of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Use of Undefinitized Contract Actions for the Conversion of Alternate Care Sites in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Department Inspector General conducted an audit to determine whether U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) officials properly managed undefinitized contract actions (UCAs) for Alternative Care Sites (ACS) constructed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by definitizing actions within required time limits, conducting analyses of fair and reasonable price determinations, and ensuring profit was adjusted for costs incurred.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Defense
04/07/2021
Report: The Social Security Administration’s Telephone Services During June 2020
Source: Inspector General - Social Security Administration
Type: Report
Federal Management

In response to a request from the House Ways and Means Committee, the SSA Inspector General reviewed SSA’s telephone services during the Covid-19 pandemic. The report covers performance and customer service information for SSA’s national 800 number as well as field office telephone services for June 2020. SSA altered operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic and continued to serve the public through its phone operations.

Released By

Inspector General - Social Security Administration
04/07/2021
Report: Serious Concerns About SBA’s Control Environment and the Tracking of Performance Results in the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General published a report detailing problems with the control environment and tracking of performance results in the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. OIG recommended that SBA take immediate action to reduce or eliminate risks by strengthening existing controls and implementing internal controls to address the potential misuse of federal funds. OIG noted that strong controls would ensure that the SVOG program helps small business owners and entities that have suffered economically because of the Covid-19 pandemic. OIG recommended that SBA reassess the audit risk plan to identify vulnerabilities commensurate with the expected volume of applications and average award amount; clearly establish criteria to ensure compliance during implementation and oversight phases; implement required performance measures to determine the impact of the program; and ensure sufficient resources are available to implement and oversee the SVOG program.

Released By

Inspector General - Small Business Administration
04/06/2021
Report: Review of Community-Based Outpatient Clinics Closed Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The VA Inspector General conducted a review of community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC) closures due to Covid-19 to evaluate the impact on the provision of patient care related to the pandemic. Based on survey responses and interviews with facility leaders, OIG concluded that, generally, patient care needs were not interrupted.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
04/06/2021
Report: Depot Maintenance: DOD Should Improve Pandemic Plans and Publish Working Capital Fund Policy
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

GAO assessed the effects of Covid-19 on Worker Capital Funds (WCF) and depot operations. The resulting report describes how Covid-19 has impacted Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force depot productivity, and examines the extent to which depot actions in response to Covid-19 addressed key practices to support the workforce, continue operations, and improve crisis response. The report also examines the extent to which WCF cash management policy ensured financial solvency and reflected current guidance. GAO found that at half of the eight depots reviewed, productivity was lower than planned every month during FY 2020. Additionally, all eight depots reported that any challenges experienced before the pandemic, such as personnel shortages, were worsened by Covid-19. GAO noted that while Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force management supported their workforce during the pandemic, they experienced challenges maintaining operations and improving crisis response. Moreover, depot officials stated the adapting existing natural-disaster contingency plans for Covid-19 created confusion among personnel early in the pandemic. Depots did not consistently document “lessons learned,” a practice which could help protect the workforce and maintain productivity during future crises.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/31/2021
Report: Biomedical Research: Information on Federal Contributions to Remdesivir
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

GAO released a report about remdesivir, the first drug approved by the FDA to treat Covid-19, and examined federal contributions to the development of the drug and related agency patent rights. The House Oversight Committee requested the report to learn more about how taxpayer-funded research is being used to develop drugs and vaccines. As of December 2020, federal funding for preclinical studies and clinical trials involving remdesivir totaled about $162 million. Despite these contributions, the federal government did not receive patent rights because, according to agency officials, federal contributions to the research “did not generate new inventions.” Remdesivir costs $3,120 for a five-day course of treatment; the House Oversight Committee responded to this finding, calling the price “unconscionable for a drug developed with millions in taxpayer-funded research” (https://oversight.house.gov/news/press-releases/new-gao-report-requested-by-stabenow-and-maloney-finds-government-provided-162).

Released By

House Committee on Oversight and Reform
03/31/2021
Report: Covid-19: Sustained Federal Action Is Crucial as Pandemic Enters Its Second Year
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Education, Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE, Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, Testing, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), in its sixth comprehensive report on the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic, identified multiple ways federal agencies can improve pandemic response efforts. For example, to make Covid-19 data more easily accessible, GAO recommended that HHS make its different sources of publicly available data accessible from a centralized location on the internet. GAO also recommended that HHS work to ensure the complete reporting of race and ethnicity information for recipients of Covid-19 vaccinations.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/31/2021
Report: Grants Management: OMB Should Collect and Share Lessons Learned from Use of Covid-19-Related Grant Flexibilities
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that in March and April 2020, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) identified 15 exceptions (“flexibilities”) to government-wide grants management requirements that agencies could make available to grantees and grant applicants. OMB’s memorandums on the issue stated that they were intended to help grantees respond to and address organizational challenges stemming from Covid-19 by reducing administrative burdens without compromising accountability. OMB rescinded most flexibilities by June 2020, and all flexibilities expired at the end of 2020. GAO recommended that OMB collect and share lessons learned from the use of grant flexibilities.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/31/2021
Memorandum: Interim Audit Update – Air Carrier and Contractor Certifications for Payroll Support Program
Source: Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
Type: Memorandum
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The Treasury Assistant Inspector General for Audit sent a memorandum to Acting Assistant Secretary John Norris detailing findings from an audit of “Air Carrier Worker Support” certifications under Title IV, Subtitle B of the CARES Act. The audit was conducted to assess the accuracy, completeness, and sufficiency of air carriers’ and contractors’ (applicants/recipients) “sworn” financial statements or other data used to certify the wages, salaries, benefits, and other compensation amounts submitted to and approved by the Treasury. The audit identified pervasive issues with the calculation of payroll amounts reported to the Treasury by non-241 passenger air carriers and contractors; these payroll amounts impacted the accuracy of recipient award amounts.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
03/31/2021
Documents: New Evidence of Trump Administration’s Failure to Address Supply Shortages
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Documents
Communications Management, Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released documents obtained during its ongoing investigation into the Trump administration’s efforts to procure and distribute PPE and other supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic. The documents provided evidence that: President Trump failed to heed an urgent warning from then-Assistant to the President Peter Navarro about the virus; White House officials pursued an ineffective and ad hoc approach to supply contracts; and the administration relied on outside advisers rather than career professionals to arrange contracts. In addition to releasing the documents it obtained, the Select Subcommittee also sent letters to Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton. The new documents released included a memo from Peter Navarro to Trump, documents from Phlow Corporation, documents from Eastman Kodak Company, and documents from AirBoss Defense Group: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/PHLOW_SSCC_0017388_Redacted.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/FINAL%20PHLOW%20COMPILED.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/documents/FINAL_KODAK_COMPILED.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/FINAL%20AirBoss%20Compiled%202.pdf

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
03/31/2021
Final Memorandum: Covid-19 Impacts on NASA’s Major Programs and Projects
Source: Inspector General - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management

The NASA Inspector General published a memorandum summarizing Covid-19 pandemic-related impacts on 30 of NASA’s major programs and projects by the end of FY 2020. These major programs and projects accounted for approximately $1.6 billion of the estimated $3 billion total Covid-related impacts reported by the agency.

Released By

Inspector General - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
03/31/2021
Report: Audit of Public Health Emergency Readiness at Military Installations
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit to determine whether military installation commanders implemented measures to prepare for public health emergencies, and respond to and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, on Defense Department installations. OIG concluded that due to the measures that commanders implemented to prepare for public health emergencies and respond to and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, installation personnel protected lives and sustained mission-critical operations.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Defense
03/31/2021
Report: Audit of the Impact of Covid–19 on Basic Training
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Department Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit to determine whether the department established, and Military Services implemented, the procedures to prevent and reduce the spread of Covid-19 at basic training centers. OIG determined that Military Services did not fully implement the procedures at six basic training centers. Specifically, the training personnel at the six locations reported that they had challenges with: implementing Defense and Military Service-specific guidance to prevent and reduce the spread of Covid-19; the screening and testing of training personnel; practicing preventative measures, such as wearing face masks, washing hands, cleaning common room areas, and enforcing social distancing; and maintaining the quality of recruit training due to basic training modifications. Information about the number of recruits and training personnel testing positive for Covid-19 was redacted in the publicly released report, but OIG noted that the potential for positive Covid-19 cases among recruits and training personnel “may increase.”

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Defense
03/31/2021
Report: Performance Audit of the Implementation of OMB Covid-19 Flexibilities – University of Alaska Fairbanks
Source: Inspector General - National Science Foundation
Type: Report
Education

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Inspector General engaged Cotton & Company LLP to conduct a performance audit of the implementation of Office of Management and Budget Covid-19 flexibilities at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) for the period of March 1 to Sept. 30, 2020. The audit was conducted to determine whether UAF used the administrative Covid-19 flexibilities authorized by OMB and if so, whether UAF complied with associated guidelines. The audit identified concerns regarding UAF’s compliance with certain federal and NSF regulations and NSF award terms and conditions.

Released By

Inspector General - National Science Foundation
03/31/2021
Report: Performance Audit of the Implementation of OMB Covid-19 Flexibilities – University of Kentucky Research Foundation
Source: Inspector General - National Science Foundation
Type: Report
Education

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Inspector General engaged Cotton & Company LLP to conduct a performance audit of the implementation of Office of Management and Budget Covid-19 flexibilities at the University of Kentucky Research Foundation (UKRF) for the period of March 1 to Sept. 30, 2020. The objective of the audit was to determine if UKRF used the administrative Covid-19 flexibilities authorized by OMB and if so, whether UKRF complied with the associated guidelines. The audit identified concerns regarding UKRF’s compliance with certain federal and NSF regulations, including questionable costs claimed by UKRF during the audit period. Specifically, the auditors identified $33,151 in unallowable materials and supplies expenses.

Released By

Inspector General - National Science Foundation
03/30/2021
The Eleventh Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The Congressional Oversight Commission’s 11th report explored the Treasury Department’s airline industry loan program. The COC recommended that the Treasury publish periodic monitoring updates for the airline industry loans that include an estimate for expected loan losses for the program, an approach that would be consistent with what the Federal Reserve did with the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP). The COC also recommended that if Congress were to authorize the Treasury to operate any new airline industry loan programs in the future, that it should explicitly prohibit insolvent borrowers from being eligible for loans. The report also provided updates regarding recent actions taken by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve regarding the lending programs and facilities under Subtitle A, as well as updates regarding the COC’s oversight activities more broadly.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Commission
03/30/2021
Report: Evaluation of SBA’s Award Procedures for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Entrepreneurial Development Cooperative Agreements
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General evaluated SBA’s handling of economic relief funding used to educate, train, and advise small business owners and entrepreneurs on practices necessary to reduce the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. OIG found that SBA awarded the CARES Act entrepreneurial development cooperative agreements and grants in accordance with applicable federal laws, regulations, and guidance. OIG also found that program officials established performance goals and identified performance indicators. However, in order to more effectively ensure performance goals are achieved as intended, OIG recommended that SBA clearly define those goals and targets. OIG also recommended that SBA collect and analyze recipients’ performance results to establish a framework for setting goals for future disasters.

Released By

Inspector General - Small Business Administration
03/30/2021
Memorandum: Management Advisory: Apparent Misuse of and Lack of Internal Controls Over the Government Purchase Card Program During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department Inspector General sent a management advisory memo to Andrea Brandon (Interior deputy assistant secretary for budget, finance, performance and acquisition) alerting her of potential misuse of the DOI Purchase Card Program. During OIG’s ongoing review of the agency’s use of CARES Act funds, OIG identified a “significant number of transactions that appear to be impermissible split purchases,” reflecting possible misuse of purchase cards.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of the Interior
03/30/2021
Report: Violations of Detention Standards Amid Covid-19 Outbreak at La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz.
Source: Inspector General - Department of Homeland Security
Type: Report
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The DHS Inspector General performed an unannounced inspection of La Palma Correctional Center (LPCC) in Eloy, Ariz., and identified numerous violations of ICE detention standards that threatened the health, safety, and rights of detainees. Detainee reports and grievances allege an environment of mistreatment and verbal abuse, including in response to detainees’ peaceful protests of the facility’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. LPCC did not enforce Covid-19 precautions required by ICE, including face coverings and social distancing, which may have contributed to the widespread outbreak at the facility. In addition, LPCC did not meet standards for medical care, segregation of detainees, grievances, or detainee communication; OIG found that the medical unit was critically understaffed, took an average of 3.35 days to respond to detainees’ sick call requests, and neglected to refill some prescription medications. Moreover, LPCC did not keep records of detainee requests, and ICE did not provide a deportation officer visit or call schedule for detainees, among other violations.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Homeland Security
03/29/2021
Audit Report: Impact of Pandemic on Postal Service Finances
Source: Inspector General - U.S. Postal Service
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Postal Service Inspector General assessed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on USPS finances. From March through September 2020, USPS separated pandemic-related expenses from daily operating expenses to determine Covid-19’s impact. USPS OIG found that while the pandemic impacted USPS’s finances, the impacts were not entirely negative. Although expenses increased, near-term liquidity improved, as package volume and revenue increased during the second half of FY 2020. USPS OIG also concluded that while management made considerable efforts to isolate expenses specific to the pandemic, the agency did not capture all pandemic-related expenses in a timely or consistent manner.

Released By

Inspector General - U.S. Postal Service
03/29/2021
Report: Audit of Maintaining Cybersecurity in the Covid–2019 Telework Environment
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Inspector General conducted an audit to determine whether Defense components maintained network protections during the Covid-19 pandemic while the agency’s workforce maximized the use of telework. DOD OIG found that components that were assessed did not consistently implement required cybersecurity controls to protect the agency’s networks during telework.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Defense
03/29/2021
CARES Act Flash Report: Where’s the Money? DOI Use of CARES Act Funds as of January 31, 2021
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department Inspector General released a “flash report” briefly detailing the department’s usage of CARES Act funds as of Jan. 31, 2021. To date, the CARES Act has provided the department with $909.7 million.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of the Interior
03/25/2021
Hearing: Examining Our Covid-19 Response: Improving Health Equity and Outcomes by Addressing Health Disparities
Source: Senate HELP Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on March 25, 2021, titled “Examining Our Covid-19 Response: Improving Health Equity and Outcomes by Addressing Health Disparities.” Witnesses included: Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI (vice president for health equity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center); Abigail Echo-Hawk (Pawnee, executive vice president, Seattle Indian Health Board); Taryn Mackenzie Williams (managing director, Poverty to Prosperity, Center for American Progress); and Gene Woods (president and CEO, Atrium Health).

Released By

Senate HELP Committee
03/25/2021
Hearing: The Effects of Covid-19 on Arts and Humanities Organizations
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on March 25, 2021, titled “The Effects of Covid-19 on Arts and Humanities Organizations.” Witnesses included: Caleb Cage (Board of Trustees, Nevada Humanities); Deborah Lenk (museum director, Museum of Glass); Kathleen Mundell (director, Cultural Resources); and Ulysses Slaughter (project manager, Chester Made).

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
03/25/2021
Hearing: Lessons Learned: Charting the Path to Educational Equity Post-Covid-19
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Education

The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on March 25, 2021, titled “Lessons Learned: Charting the Path to Educational Equity Post-Covid-19.” Witnesses included: Mark Morial, JD (president and CEO, National Urban League); Jennifer Dale (parent, Lake Oswego, Ore.); Selene Almazan, Esq. (legal director, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates Inc.); and Alberto Carvalho (superintendent of schools, Miami-Dade County Public Schools).

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
03/25/2021
Hearing: American Rescue Plan: Shots in Arms and Money in Pockets
Source: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Relief Funds and Loans, Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on March 25, 2021, titled “American Rescue Plan: Shots in Arms and Money in Pockets.” Witnesses included: Amy Matsui (director, income and security, and senior counsel, National Women’s Law Center); Sharon Parrott (president, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities); Rory Cooper (public school parent; Fairfax County, Va.); Dr. Angela Rachidi (Rowe Scholar, American Enterprise Institute).

Released By

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
03/25/2021
Hearing: Rooting Out Fraud In Small Business Relief Programs
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hearing on March 25, 2021, titled “Rooting Out Fraud In Small Business Relief Programs.” Witnesses included: Hannibal “Mike” Ware (inspector general, Small Business Administration); Michael Horowitz (chair, PRAC; inspector general, Department of Justice); and William Shear (director of financial markets and community investment, GAO).

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
03/25/2021
Staff Memorandum: Lowering the Guardrails: How the Trump Administration Failed to Prevent Billions in Pandemic Small Business Fraud
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Memorandum
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

In advance of its March 25, 2021, hearing on addressing fraud in the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a memorandum detailing new evidence obtained regarding the scope of fraud in these Covid-19 relief programs.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
03/25/2021
Testimony: Small Business Administration: Steps Needed to Address Covid-19 Loans’ Susceptibility to Fraud
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

William Shear, director of financial markets and community investment at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis about fraud in SBA’s Covid-19 relief programs. GAO noted that SBA placed limited internal controls on its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, leaving those programs susceptible to fraud.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/24/2021
Hearing: The Pandemic and VA’s Medical Supply Chain: Evaluating the Year-Long Response and Modernization
Source: House Veterans' Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Veteran’s Affairs Committee held a hearing on March 24, 2021, titled “The Pandemic and VA’s Medical Supply Chain: Evaluating the Year-Long Response and Modernization.” Witnesses included: Deborah Kramer (acting assistant undersecretary for health for support services, Veterans Health Administration); Andrew Centineo (executive director, Procurement and Logistics Office, VHA); Phillip Christy (deputy executive director for acquisitions, logistics, and constructions, Department of Veterans Affairs); Michael Missal (inspector general, VA); and Shelby Oakley (director of contracting and national security acquisitions, Government Accountability Office).

Released By

House Veterans' Affairs Committee
03/24/2021
Hearing: The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress
Source: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on March 24, 2021, titled,”The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress.” Witnesses included Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Released By

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
03/24/2021
Hearing: Coping During Covid: Veterans’ Mental Health and Implementation of the Hannon Act
Source: Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on March 24, 2021, titled “Coping During Covid: Veterans’ Mental Health and Implementation of the Hannon Act.” Witnesses included representatives from the VA and veterans groups.

Released By

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
03/24/2021
Hearing: Management Performance Challenges and Covid Response at the Department of Justice
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on March 24, 2021, titled “Management Performance Challenges and Covid Response at the Department of Justice.” DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz will testify.

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
03/24/2021
Report: Cashing in on Covid Relief: How High-Interest Lenders Received $35M in Potential Violation of Pandemic Program Rules
Source: Public Citizen
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Public Citizen released a report about two lending companies — Meadowwood Financial Services and Wellshire Financial Services — that received $35 million in Covid-19 relief loans in potential violation of the Main Street Lending Program’s loan terms for affiliated businesses. MSLP rules limit how much money affiliated businesses can receive by requiring them to apply for loans through the same MSLP facility; details of the two businesses’ structures suggest they are affiliated entities, and thus should have applied for their loans within the same MSLP facility. The companies are owned by Rob Aycox, who previously received MSLP loans despite rules barring lenders from the program.

Released By

Public Citizen
03/23/2021
Hearing: The Interaction Between the Paycheck Protection Program and Federal Acquisition Rules: What it Means for Government Contractors
Source: House Small Business Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on March 23, 2021, titled “The Interaction Between the Paycheck Protection Program and Federal Acquisition Rules: What it Means for Government Contractors.” Witnesses included: Greg Bingham (partner, HKA); Susan Moser (partner, Cherry Bekaert); Robin Greenleaf, PE (CEO, Architectural Engineers; testifying on behalf of the American Council of Engineering Companies); and Carlos Penin, PE (president, CAP Engineering).

Released By

House Small Business Committee
03/23/2021
Hearing: VA Compensation and Pension Exams During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Path Forward
Source: House Veterans' Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on March 23, 2021 titled, “VA Compensation and Pension Exams During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Path Forward.” Witnesses included: David McLenachen (executive director, Medical Disability Examination Office, Veterans Benefit Administration); Toby Mathew (chief officer, Office of Disability and Medical Health, Veterans Health Administration); Elizabeth Curda (director of education, workforce, and income security, GAO); Brent Arronte (deputy assistant inspector general for audits, VA); Samantha Kubek (coordinating attorney, Veterans Initiative, Legal Health Division, New York Legal Assistance Group); Shane Liermann (deputy national legislative director, Disabled American Veterans); and Ryan Gallucci (director, National Veterans Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars).

Released By

House Veterans' Affairs Committee
03/23/2021
Report: Remote Inspection of Metropolitan Correctional Center Chicago
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The DOJ Inspector General conducted a remote inspection of Metropolitan Correctional Center Chicago (MCC Chicago) between April 23 and May 1, 2020, to assess the steps MCC Chicago officials took to prepare for, prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission within its facilities. The OIG found that as of May 8, 2020, 18 percent of MCC Chicago inmates (110 out of 608) tested positive for Covid-19. The OIG also found that the institution’s “high-rise architecture, with a combination of open dormitory units and surrounding units of cells for housing two to four inmates” created challenges for social distancing and isolating inmates with confirmed or suspected Covid-19. Moreover, because MCC Chicago houses predominantly arrestees and pretrial detainees, there is a constant introduction of new inmates from the community, or transferred from other detention centers, creating challenges for controlling Covid-19 transmission within the facility.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Justice
03/23/2021
Report: The Nation’s Fiscal Health: After Pandemic Recovery, Focus Needed on Achieving Long-Term Fiscal Sustainability
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

GAO’s report discussed the need for Congress and the Biden administration to quickly pivot to putting the government on a sustainable, long-term fiscal path after the economy recovers from Covid-19. The GAO acknowledged that the challenges presented by Covid-19 compelled a major federal response, but projected that federal debt will reach its highest point in history in 2028 and will continue to grow faster than GDP. The GAO also projected that in the long term, spending on health care programs and social security will drive most of the increase in federal non-interest spending as a share of GDP.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/23/2021
Testimony: 2020 Census: Bureau Needs to Ensure Transparency over Data Quality, Finalize Plans for Data Protection, and Examine Lessons Learned
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The Government Accountability Office testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about the status of the 2020 census, ongoing challenges the Census Bureau faces in completing the count (including those related to the Covid-19 pandemic), and lessons learned to inform planning for the next census. The GAO noted that the Census Bureau has yet to assess concerns about data quality or finalize plans to protect data. In particular, the bureau’s original plans and schedules to protect the privacy of respondent data were impacted by Covid-19, but as of March 2021, the bureau had not yet finalized plans related to the protection of respondent data in products expected to be issued after redistricting.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/23/2021
Interim Report: The IRS Leveraged Its Telework Program to Continue Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released an interim report detailing how IRS employees leveraged the agency’s telework program to continue operations during the Covid-19 pandemic. TIGTA conducted its evaluation of IRS operations to determine whether IRS effectively used its telework program to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on IRS operations.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
03/22/2021
Report: Sick of Secrecy: Challenges to Transparency in the Covid-19 Era
Source: Open the Government
Type: Report
Communications Management, Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Open the Government published a report detailing challenges to government transparency during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly with respect to FOIA requests. The report detailed instances of federal agencies failing to meet their requirements to produce records in a timely manner in response to public records requests, secrecy from the Trump administration surrounding its pandemic response, and abuses of agencies’ administrative rights (i.e., inappropriately rejecting standard FOIA requests by claiming that requests were too vague or broad). Open the Government noted that while suing agencies became one of the few ways to obtain records, litigation is generally time-consuming and often prohibitively expensive, especially for members of the public.

Released By

Open the Government
03/22/2021
Report: Results of the 2020 Filing Season and Effects of Covid-19 on Tax Processing Operations
Source: Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Treasury Inspector General (OIG) evaluated whether the IRS timely and accurately processed tax returns during the 2020 filing season, and provided information to the agency on the impact of Covid-19 on its operations. The OIG noted that much of the work performed at the IRS’s Tax Processing Centers is not conducive to a telework environment, including the sorting and distributing of mail and the processing of paper tax returns. As of Nov. 14, 2020, IRS had more than 2.9 million pieces of unopened mail and 4.7 million individual paper tax returns to process. When IRS closed its offices nationwide, it stopped answering 81 of its 87 toll-free taxpayer assistance telephone lines, and closed all 358 Taxpayer Assistance Centers.

03/21/2021
Documents: CDC Daily or Weekly Internal Situation Reports Relating or Referring to Covid-19 from Jan. 1, 2020, Through Date of Search
Source: Jason Leopold (Buzzfeed News)
Type: Documents
Federal Management

Buzzfeed News reporter Jason Leopold obtained nearly 1,100 pages worth of records responsive to his April 6, 2020, FOIA request: “All daily and/or weekly internal situation reports relating to or referring to Coronavirus/Covid-19. The timeframe for this request is January 1, 2020, through the date the search for responsive records is conducted.”

Released By

Jason Leopold (Buzzfeed News)
03/19/2021
Memorandum: Promoting Public Trust in the Federal Government through Effective Implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act and Stewardship of the Taxpayer Resources
Source: Office of Management and Budget
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

OMB Acting Director Robert Fairweather sent a memo to the heads of federal agencies instructing them to cooperate with the Pandemic Response and Accountability Committee (PRAC) and agency inspectors general to mitigate the risk of waste, abuse, and fraud of American Rescue Plan (ARP) agency spending.

Released By

Office of Management and Budget
03/18/2021
Hearing: A Year Out: Addressing International Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Foreign Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on March 18, 2021, titled “A Year Out: Addressing International Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Witnesses included: Ashish Jha, MD (dean, Brown University School of Public Health); Tjada D’Oyen McKenna (CEO, Mercy Corps); and Tom Bollyky (senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations).

Released By

House Foreign Affairs Committee
03/17/2021
Hearing: Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response
Source: House Financial Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on March 23, 2021, titled “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response.”

Released By

House Financial Services Committee
03/17/2021
Hearing: Preserving a Lifeline: Examining Public Housing in a Pandemic
Source: House Financial Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on March 24, 2021, titled “Preserving a Lifeline: Examining Public Housing in a Pandemic.”

Released By

House Financial Services Committee
03/17/2021
Hearing: Leading the Way Forward: Biden Administration Actions to Increase Covid-19 Vaccinations
Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on March 17, 2021, titled “Leading the Way Forward: Biden Administration Actions to Increase Covid-19 Vaccinations.” Witnesses included: Anthony Fauci, MD (director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases); Peter Marks, MD, PhD (director, Center for Biologics Evaluations and Research, FDA); and Rochelle Walensky (director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Released By

House Energy and Commerce Committee
03/17/2021
Hearing: Rising to the Challenge: The Future of Higher Education Post Covid-19
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Education

The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on March 17, 2021, titled “Rising to the Challenge: The Future of Higher Education Post Covid-19.”

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
03/17/2021
Hearing: From Rescue to Recovery: Building a Thriving and Inclusive Post-Pandemic Economy
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hearing on March 17, 2021, titled “From Rescue to Recovery: Building a Thriving and Inclusive Post-Pandemic Economy.” Witnesses included: Joseph Stiglitz (university professor, Columbia University; Nobel Laureate in Economics) and William Spriggs (chief economist, AFL-CIO; professor, Department of Economics, Howard University).

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
03/17/2021
Hearing: A National Tragedy: Covid-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes
Source: Senate Finance Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on March 17, 2021, titled “A National Tragedy: Covid-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.” Witnesses included: John Dicken (director, Health Care, GAO); R. Tamara Konetzka, PhD (Louis Block Professor of Public Health Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Chicago); and David Gifford, MD, MPH (chief medical officer, American Health Care Association).

Released By

Senate Finance Committee
03/17/2021
Hearing: The Paycheck Protection Program: Performance, Impact, and Next Steps
Source: Senate Small Business Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Small Business Committee held a hearing on March 17, 2021, titled “The Paycheck Protection Program: Performance, Impact, and Next Steps.”

Released By

Senate Small Business Committee
03/17/2021
Hearing: Examining Our Covid-19 Response: An Update from Federal Officials
Source: Senate Health, Education, and Pensions Committee (minority staff)
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on March 18, 2021, titled “Examining Our Covid-19 Response: An Update from Federal Officials.” Witnesses included: Anthony Fauci, MD (director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases); David Kessler, MD (chief science officer, Covid response, Department of Health and Human Services); Peter Marks, MD, PhD (director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA); and Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Released By

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
03/17/2021
Hearing: Covid Outbreaks and Management Challenges: Evaluating the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Pandemic Response and the Way Forward
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on March 18, 2021, titled, “Covid Outbreaks and Management Challenges: Evaluating the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Pandemic Response and the Way Forward.” BOP Director Michael Carvajal testified.

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
03/17/2021
Hearing: Covid-19 One Year Later: Addressing Health Care Needs for At-Risk Americans
Source: Senate Aging Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Aging Committee held a hearing on March 18, 2021, titled “Covid-19 One Year Later: Addressing Health Care Needs for At-Risk Americans.”

Released By

Senate Aging Committee
03/17/2021
Report: Cashing in on Our Homes: Billionaire Landlords Profit as Millions Face Eviction
Source: Bargaining for the Common Good, Institute for Policy Studies, and Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Bargaining for the Common Good, the Institute for Policy Studies, and Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund released a report revealing that the CEOs of the nation’s largest real estate, investment, and private equity firms have seen their wealth increase by $24.4 billion since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic (mid-March 2020). Despite the growing fortunes of these “corporate landlords” during the pandemic, nearly 18 percent of renters in America were behind on the rent payments (as of the beginning of January 2021); these households owed an estimated $57.3 billion in overdue rent, with the average tenant behind nearly $5,600 worth of monthly payments. The report detailed the ways in which federal efforts have failed to protect vulnerable tenants; for example, many large, corporate landlords received relief monies while still continuing to file eviction notices against their tenants. The report noted that Black and Brown families were the most at-risk of eviction, and detailed the health risks of being evicted during the pandemic.

Released By

Bargaining for the Common Good
03/17/2021
Testimony: Covid-19 in Nursing Homes: HHS Has Taken Steps in Response to Pandemic, but Several GAO Recommendations Have Not Been Implemented
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

GAO Health Care Director John Dicken testified before the Senate Finance Committee on March 17, 2021, sharing findings from the GAO’s review of CDC data from winter 2020 concerning Covid-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes. While the GAO found that as of February 2021, cases and deaths have declined in nursing homes by more than 80 percent since their peaks in December, the emergence of more highly transmissible Covid-19 variants warranted continued vigilance. Dicken testified that HHS has not implemented several past GAO recommendations, including a recommendation to fill gaps in Covid-19 data.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/16/2021
Hearing: The Role of FEMA and Emergency Management in Covid-19 Response
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on March 16, 2021, titled “Hearing: The Role of FEMA and Emergency Management in Covid-19 Response.” Witnesses included: Curtis Brown (state coordinator and co-founder, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management); Bob Fenton (senior official performing the duties of FEMA administrator); Mark Ghilarducci (director, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services); Kevin McGowan (director, Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management); and Curtis Brown (state coordinator and co-founder, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management).

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
03/16/2021
Report: Comprehensive Healthcare Inspection of Facilities’ Covid-19 Pandemic Readiness and Response in Veterans Integrated Service Networks 10 and 20
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The VA Inspector General released a Comprehensive Healthcare Inspection Program (CHIP) report, the first in a series, detailing a descriptive evaluation of VA medical facilities’ responses to Covid-19 within the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 10 and 20. VA OIG conducted virtual health care inspections from July 1 through Sept. 30, 2020, as well as as interviews and surveys to better understand the agency’s Covid-19 preparedness and response. OIG found that the pandemic has been disruptive to many Veterans Health Administration (VHA) operations, particularly those requiring hands-on or face-to face interactions, including surgical procedures and outpatient clinic visits.

Released By

PRAC
03/16/2021
Information Report: Review of Department of State Preparations to Return Personnel to Federal Offices During the Global Coronavirus Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Department of State
Type: Report
Federal Management

The State Department Inspector General reviewed the State Department’s plans and procedures for returning personnel to offices during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the methods outlined in those plans and procedures to ensure that suitable safety and welfare considerations and precautions have been undertaken on behalf of personnel. OIG initiated this review in response to a June 15, 2020, request by the House Oversight Committee.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of State
03/16/2021
Report: Unprepared for Covid-19: How the Pandemic Makes the Case for Medicare for All
Source: Public Citizen
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Public Citizen released a report detailing the ways in which the U.S.’s for-profit health care system left the country unprepared for covid-19, including by hindering access to care and revealing gaps in health insurance coverage when individuals lost their jobs during the pandemic. Public Citizen also discussed the disastrous consequences of overwhelmed and understaffed nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The report concluded by arguing that Medicare for All would help close gaps in health care coverage, mitigate existing health disparities, and ensure essential public health funding, which would help the U.S. respond to future pandemics.

Released By

Public Citizen
03/15/2021
Report: Covid-19 Housing Protections: Moratoriums Have Helped Limit Evictions, but Further Outreach Is Needed
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Communications Management, Vulnerable Populations

GAO found that while eviction moratoriums at the federal, state, and local levels reduced eviction filings during the Covid-19 pandemic, some eligible renters may not have benefited from a moratorium ordered by the CDC in September 2020. GAO analyzed 63 jurisdictions and found that the median rate of eviction filings was about 74 percent lower in the last week of July 2020 (when a moratorium included in the CARES Act expired) than in the same week in 2019. While eviction rates remained lower throughout 2020 relative to 2019, they gradually increased during a separate moratorium the CDC ordered in September and extended through March 31, 2021, suggesting that some renters may not have fully understood how to use the CDC moratorium. GAO stated that without a communication and outreach plan, the CDC may be failing to ensure that renters avoid eviction during the pandemic.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/15/2021
Flash Report: Duplicate Loans Made Under the Paycheck Protection Program
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General found that SBA, as of Aug. 31, 2020, did not always have sufficient controls in place to detect and prevent duplicate Paycheck Protection Program loans. SBA OIG analyzed PPP loan data to identify whether lenders disbursed more than one PPP loan to the same borrower. OIG found that lenders gave more than one PPP disbursement to 4,260 borrowers, totaling $692 million. OIG recommended that SBA: review the identified potential duplicate disbursements for eligibility and recover any improper payments; review controls related to all PPP loan reviews to ensure that duplicate loans are not forgiven and not subject to an SBA guaranty, as appropriation; strengthen E-Tran controls for future PPP-type programs to ensure the controls align with program requirements and are active at all times; and strengthen controls and guidance for lenders to ensure lenders meet program requirements for future PPP-type programs.

Released By

Inspector General - Small Business Administration
03/12/2021
Memorandum: Key Considerations from Prior Audits of the Single Family Default Monitoring System and the Partial Claim Loss Mitigation Option
Source: Inspector General - Department of Housing and Urban Development
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The HUD Inspector General sent a memorandum to Acting HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Single Family Housing Julie Shaffer to provide the agency with information about issues identified from prior audits of the HUD Single Family Default Monitoring System (SFDMS) and the partial claim loss mitigation option. HUD OIG identified a lack of effective controls to ensure that lenders reported default information accurately and in a timely manner, promptly filed and reported partial claims, and that partial claims fully reinstated delinquent loans. OIG stated that HUD should address these issues and other problems to ensure program integrity and minimize the risk of financial loss during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

PRAC
03/11/2021
Hearing: Slipping Through the Cracks: Policy Options to Help America’s Consumer During the Pandemic
Source: House Financial Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on March 11, 2021, titled “Slipping Through the Cracks: Policy Options to Help America’s Consumer During the Pandemic.” Witnesses included: Ashley Harrington (federal advocacy director and senior council, Center for Responsible Lending); Robert James II (president, Carver Development CDE and Chairman, National Bankers Association); Carla Sanchez-Adams (attorney and team
manager, Survivor-Centered Economic Advocacy Team, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid); Valarie Shultz-Wilson (managing partner, Schultz & Co. Non-Profit Management Consultants); and Joel Griffith (research fellow, Financial Regulations, the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, Heritage Foundation).

Released By

House Financial Services Committee
03/11/2021
Hearing: Covid-19 and the Mental Health and Substance Use Crises
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on March 11, 2021, titled “Covid-19 and the Mental Health and Substance Use Crises.” Witnesses included: Lisa Amaya-Jackson (co-director, UCLA-Duke University National Center for Traumatic Stress); Arthur Evans Jr. (CEO and EVP, American Psychological Association); Verna Foust (CEO, Red Rock Behavioral Health Services); and Mark Stringer (director, Missouri Department of Mental Health).

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
03/11/2021
Memorandum: Review of Veterans Health Administration’s Virtual Primary Care Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Veterans Health Administration
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Veterans Affairs Inspector General published a management advisory memorandum identifying risks associated with the Veterans Health Administration’s efforts to expedite hiring new staff due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the OIG recognized the pressure to quickly bring on new staff to address the public health crisis, the OIG identified potential risks involved with modifying or deferring tasks such as fingerprinting, background investigations, drug testing, credentialing, and pre-placement physicals, including risks that may threaten VHA’s ability to safeguard veterans’ sensitive information.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
03/11/2021
Hearing: Kids Online During Covid: Child Safety in an Increasingly Digital Age
Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on March 11, 2021, titled “Kids Online During Covid: Child Safety in an Increasingly Digital Age.” Witnesses included: Ariel Fox Johnson (senior counsel, Global Policy, Common Sense Media); Nusheen Ameenuddin, MD (chair, Council on Communications and Media, American Academy of Pediatrics); and Corey DeAngelis (director of school choice, Reason Foundation).

Released By

House Energy and Commerce Committee
03/11/2021
Report: Review of Veterans Health Administration’s Virtual Primary Care Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Veterans Affairs Inspector General reviewed the Veterans Health Administration’s virtual primary care response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the use of virtual care by primary care providers and their views of VA Video Connect, between Feb. 7 and June 16, 2020. The OIG found that while face-to-face primary care appointments decreased by 75 percent during the pandemic; virtual care increased, with contact by telephone representing 81 percent of all primary care encounters during the review period. Primary care providers reported that navigating VVC presented challenges for many of their patients due to a lack of training and support, Some also lacked technology equipment or internet connectivity, and providers reported challenges involved in scheduling virtual appointments.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
03/10/2021
Hearing: The Next Steps for the Paycheck Protection Program
Source: House Small Business Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on March 10, 2021, titled “The Next Steps for the Paycheck Protection Program.” Witnesses included: Hilda Kennedy (founder and president, AmPac Tri-State CDC, dba AmPac Business Capital; testifying on behalf of the National Association of Development Companies); Lisa Bombín (president and CEO, Unico Communications, Inc.); and Lisa Simpson, CPA, CGMA (vice president of firm services, American Institute of CPAs).

Released By

House Small Business Committee
03/10/2021
Hearing: A Year into the Pandemic: The State of International Development
Source: House Foreign Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on March 10, 2021, titled “A Year into the Pandemic: The State of International Development.” Witnesses included: Rajiv Shah (president, Rockefeller Foundation; former USAID Administrator) and Bonnie Glick (senior adviser, CSIS; Former Deputy Administrator and COO, USAID).

Released By

House Foreign Affairs Committee
03/10/2021
Report: A Missed Opportunity for Main Street: How the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program Failed to Meet Expectations
Source: Public Citizen
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

Public Citizen analyzed the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program and found that the program facilitated over $1.8 billion in loans to companies that laid off workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and extended support to wealthy companies that also received many of the first Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Released By

Public Citizen
03/10/2021
Agency Review: Covid-19 Public Health Guidance Issued by Trump Administration
Source: Ann Schuchat (CDC)
Type: Report
Communications Management, Political Opportunism

The CDC released a summary of an agency guidance review conducted by CDC Principal Director Ann Schuchat. The review found that multiple Covid-19 guidance documents issued during the Trump administration were not primarily authored by CDC staff, and were not necessarily supported by the latest scientific evidence, among other findings.

Released By

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
03/09/2021
Hearing: Examining Our Covid-19 Response: An Update from the Frontlines
Source: Senate Health, Education, and Pensions Committee (minority staff)
Type: Hearing/Testimony
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on March 9, 2021, titled “Examining Our Covid-19 Response: An Update From the Frontlines.” Witnesses included: Jerry Abraham, MD, MPH, CMQ (director, Kedren Health Vaccines); Umair Shah, MD, MPH (secretary of health, state of Washington); Ashish Jha, MD, MPH (dean, Brown University School of Public Health); and Mary Ann Fuchs, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN (vice president of patient care, chief nurse executive, Duke University Health System).

Released By

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
03/04/2021
Testimony: Drug Safety: FDA’s Future Inspection Plans Need to Address Issues Presented by Covid-19 Backlog
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

GAO discussed its longstanding concerns with the FDA’s ability to oversee an increasingly global pharmaceutical supply chain, as well as concerns surrounding FDA’s inspection activities during the Covid-19 pandemic. The FDA paused most drug inspections in March 2020 to safeguard employee safety, and has since used alternative inspection methods such as relying on foreign regulators and sampling and testing drugs. GAO noted that these methods should not be considered long-term or comprehensive substitutes for inspections.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/03/2021
Report: Where the Rubber Meets the Road: How a Global Tire Titan Got Millions in Pandemic Small Business Loans
Source: Americans for Financial Reform, Good Jobs First, Main Street Alliance, and South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

Americans for Financial Reform, Good Jobs First, Main Street Alliance, and the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center released a report detailing how Giti Tire USA received nearly $8 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans despite being a subsidiary of a global tire company with 33,000 workers and revenues of over $3 billion. The PPP provided funding for businesses to keep workers employed. However, Giti furloughed over 600 workers without pay for a month, brought back only about half the workers when it reopened, and ultimately laid off many of these workers permanently.

Released By

Americans for Financial Reform
03/03/2021
Meeting: Pandemic Response: Housing Insights
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Video
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Financial Sector Oversight Working Group released a recording of a stakeholder listening forum titled “Pandemic Response: Perspectives on Housing.” The listening forum included input from subject-matter experts on housing issues, who discussed whether CARES Act funding and HUD programs have effectively reached their intended communities. The video of the forum can be found here: https://www.pandemicoversight.gov/news/pandemic-response-housing-insights

Released By

Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery
03/02/2021
Hearing: The Future of Telehealth: How Covid-19 is Changing the Delivery of Virtual Care
Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on March 2, 2021, titled “The Future of Telehealth: How Covid-19 is Changing the Delivery of Virtual Care.” Witnesses included: Megan Mahoney, MD (chief of staff, Stanford Health Care); Ateev Mehrota, MD, MPH (associate professor of health care policy, Harvard Medical School); Elizabeth Mitchell (president and CEO, Purchaser Business Group on Health); Jack Resneck Jr., MD (board of trustees, American Medical Association); and Frederic Riccardi (president, Medicare Rights Center).

Released By

House Energy and Commerce Committee
03/02/2021
Hearing: Covid-19’s Effects on U.S. Aviation and the Flight Path to Recovery
Source: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on March 2, 2021, titled “Covid-19’s Effects on U.S. Aviation and the Flight Path to Recovery.” Witnesses included: Heather Krause (director, physical infrastructure, GAO); Peter Bunce (president and CEO, General Aviation Manufacturers Association); Nicholas Calio (president and CEO, Airlines for America); Lance Lyttle (managing director, Aviation Division, Port of Seattle; testifying on behalf of the American Association of Airport Executives); Capt. Joe DePete (president and CEO, Airline Pilots Association); and Edward Bolen (president and CEO, National Business Aviation Association).

Released By

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
03/02/2021
Hearing: Health and Safety Protections for Meatpacking, Poultry, and Agricultural Workers
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on March 2, 2021, titled “Health and Safety Protections for Meatpacking, Poultry, and Agricultural Workers.” Witnesses included: Deborah Berkowitz (worker safety and health program director, National Employment Law Project); Dulce Castañeda (founding member, Children of Smithfield); Iris Figueroa (director of economic and environmental justice, Farmworker Justice); and Carmen Rottenberg (managing director, Groundswell Group).

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
03/02/2021
Testimony: Covid-19 Pandemic: Preliminary Observations on Efforts Toward and Factors Affecting the Aviation Industry’s Recovery
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

GAO provided testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee during the committee’s March 2, 2021, hearing on Covid-19’s impact on the aviation industry. GAO’s testimony included a discussion of federal assistance provided to airlines and aviation industry contractors, factors within and beyond the industry’s control affecting its recovery from the pandemic, and recommendations for Congress to support the industry’s recovery.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/02/2021
Report: High-Risk Series: Dedicated Leadership Needed to Address Limited Progress in Most High-Risk Areas
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The GAO released its biennial report detailing its list of “high-risk” issue areas for the federal government. Many of the challenges discussed involved, or were impacted by, the Covid-19 pandemic. The GAO added addressing substance use disorder to its high-risk list and discussed the problems Covid-19 posed to SUD treatment and prevention. The GAO also added oversight over Covid-19 relief loans, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, to its high-risk list.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/01/2021
Report: Tax Filing: Actions Needed to Address Processing Delays and Risks to the 2021 Filing Season
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

GAO released a report detailing challenges faced by the IRS during the 2020 tax filing season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. GAO found that IRS’s overall performance was significantly impacted by its reliance on manual processes, such as for paper returns, and its limited ability to process returns remotely while processing centers were closed. Consequently, GAO found that IRS had a significant backlog of unprocessed returns. GAO made several recommendations, including that IRS revise its estimates for addressing its returns backlog; identify and address barriers to e-filing for businesses; and identify and assess risks for the 2021 filing season.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
02/26/2021
Tenth Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Congressional Oversight Commission published a report providing an in-depth examination of the Main Street Lending Program. The report provided information on actions taken by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve regarding the MSLP and other lending programs and facilities under Subtitle A.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Commission
02/26/2021
Report: The State of Black-Owned Small Business in America
Source: House Small Business Committee
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The House Small Business Committee released a report detailing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Black-owned businesses in the U.S. The report noted that Black-owned businesses were less equipped to handle pandemic-related closures, and were more likely to be located in areas with high numbers of Covid-19 cases and less access to relief.

Released By

House Small Business Committee
02/26/2021
Report: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting Requirements
Source: Inspector General - Department of Education
Type: Report
Education, Relief Funds and Loans

The Education Department Inspector General reviewed the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund’s reporting requirements. ED OIG assessed the reported usage of the Institutional Portion of HEERF by selected institutions, and whether selected institutions receiving funds under the Institutional Portion of HEERF met public reporting requirements. The OIG determined that 81 of the 100 selected institutions included in their study sample complied with Institutional Portion reporting requirements.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
02/25/2021
Hearing: Building Back the U.S. Research Enterprise: Covid Impacts and Recovery
Source: House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Federal Management

The House Science Committee held a hearing on Feb. 25, 2021 titled, “Building Back the U.S. Research Enterprise: Covid Impacts and Recovery.” Witnesses included: Dr. Sudip Parikh (CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science); Dr. Christopher Keane (vice president for research, Washington State University); Dr. Felice Levine (executive director, American Educational Research Association); and Thomas Quaadman (executive vice president, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, U.S. Chamber of Commerce).

Released By

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
02/25/2021
Hearing: The Coronavirus Crisis: Next Steps for Rebuilding Main Street
Source: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on Feb. 25, 2021, titled “The Coronavirus Crisis: Next Steps for Rebuilding Main Street.” Witnesses included: Watchen Harris Bruce (president and CEO, Baltimore Community Lending Inc.); Joe DeLoss (CEO, Hot Chicken Takeover); Jessica Milano (board member, Small Business Majority); Joel Griffith (research fellow, Heritage Foundation); and Dani Ritchie (owner and stylist, Studio Alchemy).

Released By

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
02/25/2021
Hearing: Department of Defense Support to the Covid-19 Response
Source: Senate Armed Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on Feb. 25, 2021, titled “Department of Defense Support to the Covid-19 Response.” Witnesses included: Stacy Cummings (performing the duties of secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment); Robert Salesses (performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security); and Gen. Gustave Perna (COO, Operation Warp Speed).

Released By

Senate Armed Services Committee
02/25/2021
Hearing: Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Appropriations Committee held an oversight hearing on Feb. 25, 2021. The hearing included discussion of USDA OIG’s Covid-19 oversight. Witnesses included: Phyllis K. Fong (inspector general, USDA OIG); Ann Coffey (deputy inspector general, USDA OIG); Gil H. Harden (assistant inspector general for audit, USDA OIG); and Jenny Rone (assistant inspector general for analytics and innovation, USDA OIG).

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
02/25/2021
Report: Covid-19: Increased Worksite Complaints and Reduced OSHA Inspections Leave U.S. Workers’ Safety at Increased Risk
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Communications Management, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Department of Labor Inspector General conducted an audit to better understand what plans and guidance OSHA has developed to address challenges created by Covid-19, and the extent to which these challenges have affected OSHA’s ability to protect the safety of workers. Since the start of the pandemic, OSHA has received an influx of workplace safety complaints; in an effort to reduce person-to-person contact during the pandemic, however, the agency has reduced the number of workplace inspections, particularly on-site inspections, it performs. Decreased inspections, and inspections done remotely, increase concerns that workplace hazards may go unidentified or unabated longer than usual. The OIG noted that while OSHA has issued guidance documents to enhance safety provisions during the pandemic, such guidance is not enforceable like rules or standards. Moreover, OSHA has not issued an emergency temporary standard during the pandemic, which may better protect employees’ health and safety at worksites.

Released By

PRAC
02/24/2021
Hearing: Confronting the Coronavirus: Perspectives on the Covid-19 Pandemic One Year Later
Source: House Homeland Security Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on Feb. 24, 2021, titled “Confronting the Coronavirus: Perspectives on the Covid-19 Pandemic One Year Later.” Witnesses included: A. Nicole Clowers (managing director, Health Care Team, GAO); Crystal Watson, DrPH (senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security; assistant professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health); Ngozi Ezkie, MD (director, Illinois Department of Public Health); and J. Ryan McMahon II (county executive, Onondaga County, N.Y.).

Released By

House Homeland Security Committee
02/24/2021
Hearing: Ready or Not: U.S. Public Health Infrastructure
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on Feb. 24, 2021, titled “Ready or Not: U.S. Public Health Infrastructure.” Witnesses included: Dr. Marilyn Bibbs-Freeman (deputy director, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, Office of the Secretary of Administration, Virginia); Jennifer Kertanis (director of health, Farmington Valley Health District, Connecticut); Dr. Umair Shah (secretary of health for Washington); and Dr. Kathryn Turner (deputy state epidemiologist for Idaho).

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
02/24/2021
Hearing: Vaccines for Vets: Our Best Shot at Ending the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on Feb. 24, 2021, titled “Vaccines for Vets: Our Best Shot at Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Witnesses included: Richard Stone, MD (acting undersecretary for health, Veterans Health Administration); Jane Kim, MD, MPH (chief consultant for preventative medicine); Ralph Gigliotti, FACHE (national director, VISN 19: VA Rocky Mountain Network); and William Patterson, MD (network director, VISN 15: VA Heartland Network).

Released By

Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
02/24/2021
Testimony: Covid-19: Key Insights from GAO’s Oversight of the Federal Public Health Response
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Medical Supplies and PPE, Testing, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

GAO delivered testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee summarizing insights gained from its oversight of the federal government’s pandemic response. From June 2020 to January 2021, GAO asked various federal agencies to: improve the federal government’s efforts surrounding Covid-19 testing and develop a comprehensive national testing strategy; improve transparency, communication, and coordination around the government’s vaccine development, manufacturing, and distribution efforts; respond to vulnerabilities in the nation’s medical supply chain, including addressing PPE shortages; improve Covid-19 data by considering health disparities across race and ethnicity; and improve the collection of health data to respond to Covid-19 and prepare for future pandemics.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
02/24/2021
Report: Reporting and Monitoring Personal Protective Equipment Inventory During the Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The Veterans Affairs Inspector General responded to allegations from its hotline that Veterans Health Administration medical facilities could not acquire and maintain adequate PPE supplies to keep pace with escalating need during the Covid-19 crisis. OIG assessed how VHA reported and monitored its PPE supply levels during the pandemic, and solicited information about whether VHA facilities ran out of PPE or experienced significant shortages. In assessing how VHA reported and monitored PPE supplies, OIG found that VHA developed processes and tools to gather data that would help the agency navigate fluctuating demand from its facilities throughout the course of the pandemic. However, OIG also identified problems with how expired supplies were recorded, the double counting of the use of some supplies redistributed among facilities, complications involved in leveraging data from a preexisting inventory management system, and inconsistent methods to verify facilities’ self-reported inventory data.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
02/24/2021
Report: Science and Tech Spotlight: Vaccine Safety
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Communications Management, Vaccines and Treatments

GAO released a brief report discussing Covid-19 vaccine safety and challenges around ensuring public confidence in the vaccine, addressing misinformation, and identifying rare side effects. GAO concluded that the protection provided by the vaccines currently licensed and available in the U.S. outweigh their potential risks.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
02/24/2021
Report: USAID Had Limited Control over Covid-19 Ventilator Donations, Differing from Its Customary Response to Public Health Emergencies
Source: Inspector General - U.S. Agency for International Development
Type: Report
Medical Supplies and PPE, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

The USAID OIG audited USAID’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, specifically focusing on the role of the agency’s ventilator donation program. The provision of ventilators to more than 40 countries, at an obligated amount of around $204 million, has been one of the most publicized and controversial aspects of USAID’s Covid-19 response. OIG found that the ventilator program differed significantly from USAID’s customary practices for responding to public health emergencies; the decision to donate ventilators abroad (including National Security Council decisions for determining recipient countries, how many ventilators to send, and which suppliers and models to use) did not align with USAID’s initial Covid-19 response plan. Additionally, while most of the countries USAID had proposed to support were categorized as low- or lower-middle income, well over half of all ventilator donations were made to upper-middle- or high-income countries, as directed by the NSC.

Released By

Inspector General - U.S. Agency for International Development
02/23/2021
Hearing: Pathway to Protection: Expanding Availability of Covid-19 Vaccines
Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Feb. 23, 2021 titled, “Pathway to Protection: Expanding Availability of Covid-19 Vaccines.” Witnesses included: John Young (group president, chief business officer, Pfizer); Dr. Stephen Hoge (president, Moderna); Dr. Richard Nettles (vice president of medical affairs, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, Johnson & Johnson); Dr. Ruud Dobber (EVP and president, BioPharmaceuticals Business Unit, AstraZeneca); and John Trizzino (EVP, chief commercial officer, and chief business officer, Novavax).

Released By

House Energy and Commerce Committee
02/23/2021
Hearing: Oversight of the Internal Revenue Service
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on Feb. 23, 2021, titled “Oversight of the Internal Revenue Service.” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig will testify.

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
02/19/2021
Hearing: Department of Veterans Affairs Covid-19 Response
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on Feb. 19, 2021, titled “Department of Veterans Affairs Covid-19 Response.” Dr. Richard Stone, acting undersecretary for health (Veterans Health Administration), testified.

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
02/19/2021
Hearing: Covid-19 and the Child Care Crisis
Source: House Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on Feb. 19, 2021, titled “Covid-19 and the Child Care Crisis.” Witnesses included: Melissa Boteach (vice president of income security and child care/early learning, National Women’s Law Center) and Georgia Goldburn (director, Hope Child Development Center).

Released By

House Appropriations Committee
02/19/2021
Congressional Briefing: Ensuring Equity In Coronavirus Vaccinations
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Congressional Briefing
Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a member briefing on Feb. 19, 2021, titled “Ensuring Equity In Coronavirus Vaccinations.” Witnesses included: Dr. Helene Gayle (president and CEO, Chicago Community Trust); Abigail Echo-Hawk (chief research officer, Seattle Indian Health Board; director, Urban Indian Health Institute); Frankie Miranda (president and CEO, Hispanic Federation); and Lathran Woodard (CEO, South Carolina Primary Health Care Association).

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
02/19/2021
Hearing: The Science of Covid-19 Vaccines and Encouraging Vaccine Uptake
Source: House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Science Committee held a hearing on Feb. 19, 2021, titled “The Science of Covid-19 Vaccines and Encouraging Vaccine Uptake.” Witnesses included: Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH (professor of vaccinology and director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine); Philip Huang, MD, MPH (director and health authority, Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services); Keith Reed, MPH, CPH (deputy commissioner, Oklahoma State Department of Health); and Allison Buttenheim, PhD, MBA (scientific director, Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics and Associate Professor of Nursing and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing).

Released By

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
02/18/2021
Hearing: The Coronavirus Crisis: Paving the Way to an Equitable Recovery
Source: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on Feb. 18, 2021, titled “The Coronavirus Crisis: Paving the Way to an Equitable Recovery.” Witnesses included: Jamael Tito Brown (mayor, Youngstown, Ohio); John Costa (international president, Amalgamated Transit Union); Jyoshu Tsushima (staff attorney, Legal Aid Society of Columbus); Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin (president, American Action Forum); and Gianni Cracchiolo (manager, Sal & Jerry’s Bakery).

Released By

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
02/18/2021
Congressional Briefing: Child Care: Subsidy Eligibility and Receipt, and Wait Lists
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Congressional Briefing
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

GAO briefed the Senate HELP Committee and the House Committee on Education and Labor about the Child Care and Development Fund, which provides subsidies to low-income families to pay for child care while parents work or attend school. The report included information on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on child care subsidy eligibility and receipt.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
02/18/2021
CARES Act Flash Report: December 2020: Where’s the Money?
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Department of the Interior Inspector General released a “flash report” detailing how DOI spent CARES Act funds allocated to the agency.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of the Interior
02/17/2021
Hearing: Connecting America: Broadband Solutions to Pandemic Problems
Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Feb. 17, 2021, titled “Connecting America: Broadband Solutions to Pandemic Problems.” Witnesses included: Matthew Wood (vice president of policy and general counsel, Free Press Action); Dr. Tiffany Anderson (superintendent, Topeka Public Schools); Christopher Shelton (president, Communications Workers of America); and Jonathan Adelstein (president and CEO, Wireless Infrastructure Association).

Released By

House Energy and Commerce Committee
02/17/2021
Hearing: Update on the Department of Defense’s Evolving Roles and Mission in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Armed Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on Feb. 17, 2021, titled “Update on the Department of Defense’s Evolving Roles and Mission in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.” The committee heard testimony from Defense Department witnesses on the agency’s support of the government-wide Covid-19 response, as well as force protection efforts. Witnesses included: Robert Salesses (DOD official performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for homeland security and global security); Maj. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro, USAF (vice director of operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff); and Maj. Gen. Steven Nordhaus, USAF (director of operations, National Guard Bureau).

Released By

House Armed Services Committee
02/17/2021
Report: Medicaid in Times of Crisis
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

GAO released a health care “capsule” report summarizing information from a number of GAO reports that examined how the federal government and states have used Medicaid in times of crises, including during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
02/17/2021
Panel Discussion: Pandemic Response: Perspectives from Borrowers
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Video
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee hosted a panel discussion on how the financial industry has been serving the public during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly focusing on the experience of Black and minority borrowers.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
02/15/2021
Tool: Operation Warp Speed Dashboard: Vaccine Tracker
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Tool
Vaccines and Treatments

GAO introduced a vaccine tracker on its Operation Warp Speed Dashboard, displaying information about the six vaccines supported by OWS. The tracker includes information like the vaccine candidate’s review phase and whether it has been subject to large-scale manufacturing.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
02/12/2021
Report: Audit of Contracts for Defense Department Information Technology Products and Services Procured by Agency Components in Response to the Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Department of Defense Inspector General conducted an audit to determine whether agency components, in accordance with the CARES Act and other federal and agency requirements, procured information technology products and services to support operations in response to Covid-19 and paid fair and reasonable prices for those products and services.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
02/12/2021
Report: Evaluation of the Armed Forces Retirement Home Response to the Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Defense Department Inspector General conducted an evaluation to determine whether Armed Forces Retirement Home officials protected residents, staff, and health care personnel from Covid-19 exposure, in accordance with federal health guidance.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
02/11/2021
Report: Operation Warp Speed: Accelerated Covid-19 Vaccine Development Status and Efforts to Address Manufacturing Challenges
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Vaccines and Treatments

The Government Accountability Office published a review of Operation Warp Speed’s vaccine development efforts. GAO’s report examined: the characteristics and status of the OWS vaccines; how developmental processes have been adapted to meet OWS timelines; the challenges that companies have faced with scaling up vaccine manufacturing; and the steps companies are taking to address those challenges.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
02/10/2021
Report: Covid-19 and Its Impact: Seven Essays on Reframing Government Management and Operations
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government
Type: Report
Federal Management

The IBM Center for the Business of Government compiled seven essays from academics and practitioners describing how federal and local government can best transform the way they work, operate, and deliver services to the public in light of the impact of Covid-19.

Released By

IBM Center for the Business of Government
02/09/2021
Hearing: State of the U.S. Maritime Industry: Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Federal Management

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on Feb. 9, 2021, titled, “State of the U.S. Maritime Industry: Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Witnesses included: Lauren Brand (president, National Association of Waterfront Employees); Ben Bordelon (chairman, Shipbuilders Council of America); Mario Cordero (chairman, Board of Directors, American Association of Port Authorities); C. James Patti (president, Maritime Institute for Research and Industrial Development); Michael Roberts (senior vice president, Crowley Maritime); and Del Wilkins (president, Illinois Marine Towing).

Released By

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
02/08/2021
Documents: Select Subcommittee Releases New Evidence Of Trump Administration’s Political Meddling In Coronavirus Guidance, Testing And Treatments
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Documents
Communications Management, Federal Management, Testing

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released documents it obtained detailing evidence of the Trump administration’s political meddling in Covid-19 guidance, testing, and treatments. Communications obtained by the subcommittee from White House officials, HHS, CDC, and others showed that the Trump administration: weakened CDC testing guidance to hide evidence of positive tests while promoting reopening the country; manipulated public health information by changing scientific reports that were considered politically damaging to President Trump; and pressed FDA to approve treatments like hydroxychloroquine, despite objections from career scientists. The release of the documents was accompanied by letters sent to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-08.Clyburn%20to%20Klain%20re%20WH%20Failures%20on%20Pandemic%20.pdf; https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2021-02-08.Clyburn%20to%20Cochran%20re%20WH%20Failures%20on%20Pandemic%20.pdf

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
02/05/2021
Report: VA Health Care: Community Living Centers Were Commonly Cited for Infection Control Deficiencies Prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), in response to inquiries from Sens. Ed Markey, Jon Tester, and Elizabeth Warren, released a report describing the prevalence of deficiencies related to community living centers’ (CLCs) infection prevention and control practices prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Future GAO reports on this topic will examine the quality of care at CLCs and VA’s response to Covid-19 in the nursing homes for which the VA provides or pays for care.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
02/05/2021
Report: Audit of Dual-Status Commanders for Use in Defense Support of Civil Authorities Missions in Support of Covid-9 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

The Defense Inspector General conducted an audit to determine whether Defense components nominated, certified, and appointed Dual-Status Commanders (DSCs) in accordance with legal authorities and policies for use in Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) missions, in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. A DSC is a commissioned officer authorized to exercise command on behalf of, and receive orders separate from, a federal or state chain of command, with the consent of the governor of a state or territory.

Released By

PRAC
02/04/2021
Report: Evaluation of the Navy’s Plans and Response to Covid-19 Onboard Navy Warships and Submarines
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Inspector General investigated whether the Navy had policies, plans, and procedures in place to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and infectious diseases. OIG found that DOD and Navy did have these in place; moreover, Navy issued additional policies, plans, and procedures, and disseminated lessons learned to prevent and combat Covid-19. However, OIG also found that Navy had not fully implemented measures intended to reduce the risk of the spread of infectious diseases. Prior to the pandemic, four out of five Navy Component Commands did not conduct a biennial Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Disease exercise in accordance with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) requirements. As of Aug. 1, 2020, two Navy ships have had Covid-19 outbreaks while at sea on operational deployments. OIG assessed Navy’s response to these outbreaks, and found that on one of the ships, leadership did not effectively implement mitigation measures for the majority of their crew and that social gathering areas remained open.

Released By

PRAC
02/04/2021
Hearing: Protecting Transportation Workers and Passengers from Covid: Gaps in Safety, Lessons Learned, and Next Steps
Source: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on Feb. 4, 2021, titled “Protecting Transportation Workers and Passengers from Covid: Gaps in Safety, Lessons Learned, and Next Steps.” Witnesses included: Dr. David Michaels (Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University); Sara Nelson (Association of Flight Attendants-CWA); Lewie Pugh (executive vice president, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association); Ismael Rivera (bus operator, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1596); Dr. William Bahnfleth (Penn State University; chair, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force); and Joe Buscaino (councilman, Los Angeles City Council).

Released By

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
02/04/2021
Hearing: Safeguarding American Consumers: Fighting Fraud and Scams During the Pandemic
Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Feb. 4, 2021, titled “Safeguarding American Consumers: Fighting Fraud and Scams During the Pandemic.” Witnesses included: Bonnie Patten (executive director, TruthInAdvertising.org); Jessica Rich (distinguished fellow, Institute for Technology Law & Policy, Georgetown Law School); William Kovacic (global competition professor of law and policy, George Washington University Law School); and Traci Ponto (crime victim advocate, Spokane Community Oriented Policy Services).

Released By

House Energy and Commerce Committee
02/04/2021
Hearing: State of the Small Business Economy in the Era of Covid-19
Source: House Small Business Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on Feb. 4, 2021, titled “State of the Small Business Economy in the Era of Covid-19.” Witnesses included: Dr. Robert Fairlie (professor, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz); Sharon Pinder (president and CEO, Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council); Stephen Schoaps (owner, Strother Cinema); and Karen Kerrigan (president and CEO, SBE Council).

Released By

House Small Business Committee
02/04/2021
Hearing: Supporting Small and Minority-Owned Businesses Through the Pandemic
Source: House Financial Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on Feb. 4, 2021, titled “Supporting Small and Minority-Owned Businesses Through the Pandemic.” Witnesses included: Nneka Brown-Massey (founder and creative director, Innovative Supplies Worldwide, Inc.); Gary Cunningham (president and CEO, Prosperity Now); Cliff Kellogg (executive director, C-PACE Alliance); Everett Sands (CEO, Lendistry); and Holly Wade (executive director of research and policy analysis, National Federation of Independent Business).

Released By

House Financial Services Committee
02/04/2021
Hearing: More Than a Shot in the Arm: The Need for Additional Covid-19 Stimulus
Source: House Committee on Financial Services
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on Feb. 4, 2021, titled “More than a Shot in the Arm: The Need for Additional COVID-19 Stimulus.” Witnesses included: Clarence Anthony (CEO and executive director, National League of Cities); Derrick Johnson (president and CEO, NAACP); Janet Murguia (president and CEO, UnidosUS); Dr. William Spriggs (chief economist, AFL-CIO); and Dr. Michael Strain (economist, AEI).

Released By

House Committee on Financial Services
02/03/2021
Hearing: Road to Recovery: Ramping Up Covid-19 Vaccines, Testing, and Medical Supply Chain
Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Feb. 3, 2021, titled “Road to Recovery: Ramping Up Covid-19 Vaccines, Testing, and Medical Supply Chain.” Witnesses included: Dr. Luciana Borio (vice president, In-Q-Tel; former acting chief scientist, FDA); Greg Burel (president and principal consultant, Hamilton Grace; former director, U.S. Strategic National Stockpile); Michael Leavitt (founder and chair, Leavitt Partners; former HHS secretary); and Dr. Julia Morita (executive vice president, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).

Released By

House Energy and Commerce Committee
02/03/2021
Report: Update: Top Challenges in Pandemic Relief and Response
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Report
Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) released an updated report about the top challenges facing the federal government when responding to Covid-19. The report discussed several new challenges facing the federal government, including: preventing and detecting fraud in government programs; informing and protecting the public from coronavirus-related fraud; data transparency and completeness; and federal workforce safety.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
02/03/2021
Report: Review of the United States Marshals Service’s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The DOJ Inspector General reviewed the U.S. Marshals Service’s (USMS) response to the Covid-19 pandemic from April through August 2020. OIG assessed the USMS’s implementation of guidance and best practices for preventing, managing, and containing potential outbreaks among the approximately 61,000 people in its custody. Notably, OIG stated that the USMS’s oversight plan for detention facilities is inconsistent and does not ensure that all facilities will be assessed for implementation of the latest CDC guidance.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Justice
02/02/2021
Hearing: No Time to Lose: Solutions to Increase Covid-19 Vaccinations in the States
Source: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
State and Federal Coordination, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on Feb. 2, 2021, titled “No Time to Lose: Solutions to Increase Covid-19 Vaccinations in the States.” The hearing featured state health officials from across the U.S. discussing the challenges they face in getting vaccines. Witnesses included: Dr. Ngozie Ezike (director, Illinois Department of Health); Dr. Joneigh Khaldun (chief medical executive and chief deputy director, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services); Dr. Clay Marsh (Covid-19 czar, West Virginia); Dr. Courtney Phillips (secretary, Louisiana Department of Health); and Dr. Jill Ryan (executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment).

Released By

House Energy and Commerce Committee
02/01/2021
Quarterly Report to the United States Congress (Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2020)
Source: Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) released its quarterly report to Congress detailing its most recent findings from its CARES Act oversight activities. In addition, SIGPR transferred three formal requests for information to Treasury officials in the Trump administration prior to the submission of the report. First, SIGPR requested a briefing and asked specific questions relating to Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s request that the Federal Reserve return unused Treasury funds appropriated by the CARES Act for Fed facilities. Second, SIGPR sent a follow-up letter to the first request, asking the Treasury to identify the specific CARES Act provisions and any related legal analysis underlying Mnuchin’s request to the Fed. Third, SIGPR sent a letter to the Treasury’s Office of General Counsel, requesting information about changes to the rules governing the Main Street Lending Program.

Released By

Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery
02/01/2021
Report: Top Management Challenges Facing Multiple Federal Agencies
Source: Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) released a report discussing a wide range of challenges and areas of concerns for agencies across the federal government, including those related to addressing Covid-19.

Released By

Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency
02/01/2021
Report: Defense Inspector General Covid-19 Oversight Plan: 2021 Q1 Update
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Department Inspector General released a report discussing its ongoing Covid-19 oversight projects, including: an evaluation of the Armed Forces Retirement Home response to the pandemic; an audit of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ quality assurance controls for Alternate Care Sites, constructed in response to the pandemic; an audit of military installations’ public health emergency readiness; and an audit of cybersecurity measures taken as employees telework during the pandemic, among other oversight activities. The report also summarized completed Covid-19 oversight projects.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Defense
01/28/2021
Report: The IG Community’s Joint Efforts to Protect Federal Grants from Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
Source: Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency released a report detailing the IG Community’s joint efforts to protect Covid-19 federal grants from fraud, waste, and abuse.

Released By

Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency
01/28/2021
Report: Covid-19: Critical Vaccine Distribution, Supply Chain, Program Integrity, and Other Challenges Require Focused Federal Attention
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

GAO released its fifth comprehensive report since June 2020 about the implementation of the CARES Act. GAO emphasized the need for federal agencies to coordinate, establish, and define roles and responsibilities among those offices responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. GAO made 13 recommendations to federal agencies to improve the ongoing federal response, and reiterated the need to address 27 of its 31 prior recommendations from its June, September, and November 2020 CARES Act reports, and November 2020 vaccines and therapeutics report, that had not yet been implemented. The agency reiterated its concern, for example, about the absence of a clear and comprehensive vaccine distribution plan.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
01/28/2021
Report: Medication Delivery Delays Prior to and During the Covid-19 Pandemic at the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic in Pasay City, Philippines
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The VA Inspector General conducted a health care inspection to assess allegations of delayed medication delivery from the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic pharmacy in Pasay City, Philippines, prior to and during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
01/28/2021
The Ninth Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Congressional Oversight Commission (COC) published its ninth report, which summarized COC’s first eight reports and provided updates on recent actions taken by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve regarding lending programs and facilities under Subtitle A of the CARES Act. The report also discussed the state of the COC, noting that Commissioner Bharat Ramamurti had stepped down from his role to join President Biden’s administration; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has yet to announce a replacement for Ramamurti.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Commission
01/27/2021
Covid-19 State Profile Reports
Source: Department of Health and Human Services
Type: Report
Communications Management, State Issues

The Biden administration created a website to compile and share previously unreleased Covid-19 State Profile Reports to the public. During the Trump administration, these reports were made available to state governors, but were not shared with the public.

Released By

Department of Health and Human Services
01/25/2021
Report: Resilient: Keeping Your Wits—Workforce, Innovation, Technology, Security—About You
Source: Partnership for Public Service
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Partnership for Public Service commissioned a survey of 300 federal leaders and identified lessons learned over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. The report discusses the study’s findings, and provides recommendations for federal operations, service delivery, and policymaking going forward.

Released By

Partnership for Public Service
01/19/2021
Report: Jared Kushner’s Company Preparing to Evict At Least 56 New Jersey Tenants During Pandemic
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Trump Family Business, Vulnerable Populations

Accountable.US published analysis showing that residential real estate companies owned by Jared Kushner, including Westminster Management, plan to evict at least 56 New Jersey tenants when the federal eviction moratorium expires.

Released By

Accountable.US
01/15/2021
Report: Audit of Contracts for Equipment and Supplies in Support of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE, Testing

The Defense Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit to determine whether the Defense Department paid “fair and reasonable” prices for laboratory equipment and medical supplies, including PPE, procured in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Items purchased included: reagents, viral transport tubes, thermometers, hand sanitizer, nitrile gloves, gowns, coveralls, and N95 masks. OIG found that Defense paid fair and reasonable prices on 19 of 23 contracts, valued at $4.1 million, for the eight items reviewed; using commercially available and historical pricing, OIG found that Defense did not pay fair and reasonable prices for N95 masks, hand sanitizer, viral transport tubes, and isolation gowns because the pandemic caused an increase in demand for medical supplies that were not always available for purchase at the time contracting personnel made their determinations. For example, Defense paid $13.75 per N95 mask, while the price published by the manufacturer for the same model was between $1.02 and $1.31 per mask. Defense also paid $20 per viral transport tube, while comparable prices for other contracts OIG reviewed priced tubes between $0.88 and $3.68 per tube.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Defense
01/15/2021
Memorandum: GSA Is Impeding Oversight of Its Covid-19 Activities
Source: Inspector General - General Services Administration
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management

The GSA Inspector General sent an “Alert Memorandum” to GSA Acting Administrator Allison Brigati to notify her of agency actions that have impeded OIG’s oversight of GSA’s Covid-19 activities. In performing oversight of GSA’s activities, OIG initiated two projects, one monitoring GSA’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and another auditing the Public Building Service’s Covid-19 communication and cleaning procedures. In response to these oversight initiatives, GSA established a centralized review and approval process for responses to all audit team inquiries. OIG argued that this new process compromised the integrity of the information provided by GSA personnel, and delayed and limited the audit team’s access to requested information.

Released By

Inspector General - General Services Administration
01/15/2021
Report: Further Support for Restaurants and Restaurant Workers Is Needed
Source: Joint Economic Committee
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Joint Economic Committee released a report detailing the impact of Covid-19 on the restaurant industry and explaining why more relief for restaurants and restaurant workers is needed. Since the beginning of the pandemic, one in four (2.5 million) of the 10 million jobs lost across the U.S. have been restaurant jobs.

Released By

Joint Economic Committee
01/14/2021
Federal Covid-19 Testing Report: Data Insights From Six Federal Health Care Programs
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Report
Federal Management, Testing

The PRAC Health Care Subgroup published a report detailing the Covid-19 testing efforts of six federal health care programs within seven months (Feb. 1 to Aug. 31, 2020) after the U.S. declared Covid-19 a public health emergency. The programs covered in the report included: Defense Department’s Medical Treatment Facilities; HHS’s Medicare Part B; DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons; Labor Department’s Workers’ Compensation; the Veterans Health Administration; and OPM’s Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. PRAC found that 10.7 million tests were administered or paid for by the six federal health care programs in this report, representing 12.7 percent of tests performed in the U.S. within the study period.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
01/14/2021
Report: Where’s the Money? DOI Use of CARES Act Funds as of November 30, 2020
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Department of the Interior Inspector General released a CARES Act “Flash Report” detailing the department’s use of CARES Act funds as of Nov. 30, 2020. To date, the CARES Act had provided the department with $909.7 million.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of the Interior
01/13/2021
Report: Remote Inspection of Federal Correctional Institution Terminal Island
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The DOJ Inspector General released findings from a remote inspection of FCI Terminal Island. From May 6 to June 25, 2020, DOJ OIG conducted a remote inspection of Terminal Island to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the institution and to assess the steps it took to prepare for, prevent, and manage transmission within the facility. In April, Terminal Island tested its entire inmate population for Covid-19, but by the time testing was completed, nearly half of the inmate population was already infected. OIG’s analysis showed that 107 inmates who tested negative in two housing units remained housed with 129 positive inmates in those units for between four and five days after the institution received their test results. As of Jan. 4, 2021, 557 Terminal Island inmates and 35 staff members had tested positive for Covid-19; 10 inmates had died. While Terminal Island complied with BOP guidance on inmate testing, five of the ten inmates who died of Covid-19 did not receive a test until after staff sent them to the hospital. Additionally, Terminal Island staff did not comply with BOP policy in notifying the families of inmates with serious illnesses; in one instance, an inmate who ultimately died of Covid-19 was on a ventilator for six days; institution staff told OIG that they never informed that inmate’s family that the inmate had Covid-19 because they did not deem it relevant.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
01/13/2021
Report: Remote Inspection of Federal Correctional Complex Coleman
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The DOJ Inspector General released findings from its remote inspection of FCC Coleman. Coleman had very few Covid-19 cases until a surge beginning at the end of June 2020. Between May 5 and May 30, 2020, DOJ OIG conducted a remote inspection of Coleman to understand how the pandemic affected the complex and to assess the steps officials took to prepare for, prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission within the facility. As of Jan. 3, 2021, Coleman had a total of 833 inmates test positive for Covid-19, with five dying of the virus. Additionally, Coleman has had a total of 175 staff test positive, with one staff member dying of the virus.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
01/12/2021
Report: New Analysis Reveals $250M in Insider Profiteering at Government-Back Drug Companies, Including $105M in New Trades in Less Than 3 Months’ Time
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

Accountable Pharma released a report outlining the more than $250 million in insider stock sales by executives and directors at five major drug companies producing vaccines with taxpayer support, including $105 million in new profits from insider sales between September and mid-November 2020. Accountable Pharma’s findings build upon their previous report compiling executive trading data from the launch of Operation Warp Speed from May 15 through Aug. 31, 2020.

Released By

Accountable.US
01/12/2021
Memorandum: Covid-19 Oversight Recommendations for the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Transition Team
Source: Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Type: Memorandum
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Medical Supplies and PPE, Vaccines and Treatments

Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent a memorandum to incoming Covid-19 Coordinator Jeff Zients and the Biden-Harris Transition Team’s Covid-19 Advisory Board co-chairs (Drs. Vivek Murthy, Marcella Nunez-Smith, and David Kessler) describing findings from her oversight of the Trump administration’s failures in dealing with Covid-19, and identifying key priorities for Joe Biden to address as soon as he takes office.

Released By

Sen. Elizabeth Warren
01/11/2021
Report: Paycheck Protection Program Loan Recipients on the Department of Treasury’s Do Not Pay List
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General sent a “Management Alert” to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza to bring to her attention potential Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud. SBA OIG collaborated with Treasury’s Do Not Pay (DNP) Business Center, which identified high-risk transactions related to financial assistance to small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. OIG’s review of Treasury’s analysis showed that approximately $3.6 billion in PPP loans were sent to potentially ineligible beneficiaries.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
01/11/2021
Majority Staff Report: Something Must Change: Inequities in U.S. Policy and Society
Source: House Ways and Means Committee
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Ways and Means Committee’s Majority Staff released a report on the roles that racism, ableism, and other social, structural, and political determinants play in perpetuating health and economic inequity in the U.S. The report provided context for Committee Democrats’ legislative framework, “A Bold Vision for a Legislative Path Toward Health and Economic Equity,” which put forward health and economic equity policy pillars and priorities. The report and framework were released in response to the Covid-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color, low-income communities, and other historically marginalized groups. The legislative framework can be found here: https://waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/documents/FINAL%20WMD%20Health%20and%20Economic%20Equity%20Vision%20Policy_FRAMEWORK.pdf

Released By

House Ways and Means Committee
01/11/2021
Documents: Final Response from OSC to American Oversight’s Request for Whistleblower Complaints Related to Covid-19 Pandemic and Federal Government’s Response
Source: U.S. Office of Special Counsel
Type: Documents
Federal Management

American Oversight (AO) received a final response from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) from a May 11, 2020, request asking for information regarding 31 whistleblower complaints received by OSC related to the Covid-19 pandemic and/or the federal government’s response to the pandemic from Jan. 1 to May 5, 2020. In response, OSC submitted to AO nine pages of spreadsheets containing information about the relevant agencies, case synopses, the dates cases were opened and closed, details of the allegations, and closing dispositions. The spreadsheets included 142 complaints from March to November 2020 submitted to a wide range of federal agencies, with complaints categorized as “mismanagement,” “abuse of authority,” “public safety,” “public health,” “law,” “rule,” and “waste.” However, much of the content in the allegations, including the dates in which the cases were opened, were redacted by OSC. Notably, the number of complaints at the time of AO’s FOIA request (31) was a markedly lower than the number of complaints that OSC ended up receiving by November 2020 (142).

Released By

U.S. Office of Special Counsel
01/08/2021
Tool: The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Covid-19 Relief Legislation
Source: Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee
Type: Tool
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship published a guide to help small businesses access loan and grant programs included in the recently enacted $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill. The document includes answers to potential questions about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), as well as other forms of assistance.

Released By

Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee
12/31/2020
The Eighth Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The eighth report of the Congressional Oversight Commission (COC), like its seventh report, focused on the Treasury Department and the Defense Department’s $700 million loan to YRC Worldwide Inc., which was made under a coronavirus relief loan program for businesses critical to maintaining national security. The eighth report also analyzed part of the ten additional, smaller loans executed as part of this program. COC recommended that Treasury and Defense use a more robust criteria and process for recommending and certifying a business as being critical to maintaining national security.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Commission
12/28/2020
Report: Systems Processing Economic Impact Payments Performed Well and the Get My Payment Application Security Vulnerabilities Are Being Remediated
Source: Inspector General for Tax Administration - Department of the Treasury
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) conducted an audit to review the effectiveness of IRS systems security and operations related to processing CARES Act Economic Impact Payments. While TIGTA found that the 16 IRS tax systems involved in delivering Economic Impact Payments performed well overall, TIGTA identified a few problems during its audit. Namely, there was a coding issue in the software developed to process the payments, which affected the Individual Master File’s performance. TIGTA also identified the agency’s failure to implement a handful of key baseline security controls. TIGTA concluded by offering recommendations to Treasury’s Chief Information Officer.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
12/28/2020
Report: CARES Act Funding Snapshot Departmental Offices
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General released a CARES Act “Flash Report” detailing how the department allocated CARES Act funds to its offices, and how those offices spent the funds.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
12/22/2020
Report: Covid-19 Related Goods: The U.S. Industry, Market, Trade, and Supply Chain Challenges
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission
Type: Report
Medical Supplies and PPE

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) released its analysis of industry sectors producing coronavirus-related medical products and supplies, pursuant to a request made by the House Ways and Means Committee in August 2020. The report analyzed U.S. industries producing these products, and conducted case studies of specific products within critical sectors and their supply chains. The report highlighted sectors where supply and demand has stabilized, and others where supply chain challenges persist. The report’s findings underlined the importance of addressing supply shortages and bottlenecks and decreasing the country’s reliance on importing certain medical products and components. Ways and Means made the request after USITC released a report in the spring which identified import data on medical supplies relevant to addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

House Ways and Means Committee
12/21/2020
Report: Ineffective Implementation of Corrective Actions Diminishes DHS’ Oversight of Its Pandemic Planning
Source: Inspector General - Department of Homeland Security
Type: Report
Federal Management

The DHS IG published a report containing recommendations aimed at improving oversight of PPE and pandemic planning. Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, OIG found that DHS did not: ensure the office it designated to manage and account for PPE provided adequate management oversight; ensure components’ compliance with the Integrated Logistics Support plan; or designate an office to ensure continued oversight, review, and approval of the agency’s pandemic response plans. Consequently, OIG argued that DHS did not have sufficient department-wide oversight of PPE or planning for Covid-19 as the virus began to spread globally. However, OIG acknowledged that DHS had taken steps by March 2020 to remedy this lack of oversight, noting that DHS implemented a centralized process to manage agency-wide pandemic funding and PPE supplies, and to ensure greater oversight and control. OIG recommended continuing this work, and noted that these efforts would help DHS better protect its workforce and persons under its care and custody during the Covid-19 pandemic and future pandemics.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Homeland Security
12/18/2020
Report: JEC Democrats’ Response to 2020 Economic Report of the President
Source: Joint Economic Committee
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

Joint Economic Committee (JEC) Democrats released a response to Presiswnr Trump’s 2020 Economic Report, published by the Council of Economic Advisers. The response covered Trump’s economic record (pre- and post-pandemic); how Trump’s and congressional Republicans’ response to Covid-19 has undermined America’s ability to recover from the recession; how Trump’s and congressional Republicans’ response to Covid-19 disproportionately hurt the working poor, immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans; and how Trump and congressional Republicans missed opportunities to support workers and families during the pandemic.

Released By

Joint Economic Committee
12/18/2020
Report: Audit of the Disinfection of Department of Defense Facilities in Response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Department inspector general released findings from an audit it conducted to determine whether the department and contractor personnel disinfected areas that were occupied by individuals who tested positive for Covid-19, in accordance with CDC guidance.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
12/17/2020
Memorandum: Section 4029 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Extension of the Federal Reserve’s Emergency-Lending Programs
Source: Congressional Research Service
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) sent a memo to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in response to two questions posted by the subcommittee: First, does the Treasury secretary have the authority to extend the CARES Act supported Federal Reserve lending facilities consistent with Section 4029? And second, if the Treasury secretary agreed to extend the CARES Act supported Fed lending facilities, would the Fed be able to continue making loans under these programs consistent with Section 4029? CRS found that Secretary Steven Mnuchin was incorrect in claiming that he was legally required to terminate potential CARES Act funds by the end of the year. CRS also stated that the Biden administration could restart CARES Act lending programs next year; Section 4029 of the CARES Act permits the Treasury secretary to extend the Fed lending facilities, which would enable the Fed to continue making loans into 2021.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
12/17/2020
Report: Review of Veterans Health Administration’s Emergency Department and Urgent Care Center Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general (OIG) conducted a review of the Veterans Health Administration’s response to anticipated demand and use of emergency department and urgent care services in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. OIG found that 23 emergency department and urgent care center directors lost staff due to providers testing positive for the virus, in addition to staff transfers, resignations, or retirements. While Covid-19 testing was generally available at the facilities surveyed, OIG found that some directors reported the need to ration PPE. Among other findings, OIG reported that facility directors noted the need to preserve the capability to provide emergency or urgent care services for non-coronavirus patients while attending to the special care needs of patients with Covid-19.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
12/16/2020
Supplemental Memorandum on Investigation into Political Interference with Coronavirus Response
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Memorandum
Communications Management, Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a memorandum to the subcommittee’s majority staff detailing new documents obtained during the subcommittee’s investigation of political interference by senior Trump administration appointees in the work of career officials at CDC. The documents obtained by the subcommittee showed that appointees at HHS, including HHS Senior Adviser Paul Alexander, repeatedly called for pursuing a “herd immunity” strategy and were aware that the administration’s policies were causing an increase in Covid-19 cases. The documents can be read here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/12-16-2020-Release-All-Files.pdf

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
12/16/2020
Report: Update: Covid-19-Related Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risks
Source: Financial Action Task Force
Type: Report
Medical Supplies and PPE, Political Opportunism

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) updated a report from May 2020 concerning coronavirus-related crimes, including money laundering and financing for terrorist groups. In its update to that report, FATF provided further details on how criminals continue to exploit the public health crisis, including by counterfeiting medical supplies, abusing economic stimulus measures, and committing cybercrime, investment fraud, and charity fraud. The original report from May is linked here: http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/COVID-19-AML-CFT.pdf

Released By

Financial Action Task Force
12/15/2020
Hearing: Examining the Impact of Covid-19 on Live Event Entertainment Industry
Source: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on Dec. 15, 2020, titled “Examining the Impact of Covid-19 on the Live Event Entertainment Industry.” The hearing examined the impact of the pandemic on the live event entertainment industry and the challenges faced by artists and venues, as well as supporting industries such as lighting and transportation. The hearing also examined proposals for legislative relief, unemployment compensation, and health care subsidies. Witnesses included: David Fay (president and CEO, the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts); Adam Hartke (owner, Cotillion and WAVE); Ron Lafitte (president, Patriot Management); Pete Pantuso (president and CEO, American Bus Association); and Michael Strickland (owner, Bandit Lines).

Released By

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
12/15/2020
Report: The Nation’s Fiscal Health: Information on the Spending and Revenue Implications of Potential Debt Targets
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyzed changes in spending and revenue needed to reach the six potential debt-to-GDP targets the end of a 30-year period (2020-2049). The report noted that the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated major federal spending to respond to the twin challenges of the public health crisis and the economic downturn; this response, combined with severe economic contraction from the pandemic, has generated a substantial increase in the federal debt. GAO stated that once the crisis abates, policymakers will need to cut spending, increase revenue, or both.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
12/14/2020
Report: The Accreditation Con: A Broken Prison and Detention Facility Accreditation System That Puts Profits Over People
Source: Office of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren released findings from a May 2019 investigation she opened on the American Correctional Association (ACA), the nation’s largest accreditor of prisons and immigrant detention facilities, and its relationship with the three largest private prison companies that receive ACA accreditation: CoreCivic, GeoGroup (GEO), and Management and Training Corporation (MTC). Her investigation found that ACA’s dual role as an advocate for the private prison industry and the organization responsible for overseeing conditions at facilities run by private prison companies created an irreconcilable conflict of interest. Of relevance to the Covid-19 pandemic, her investigation found that ACA failed to adapt to the pandemic; rather than shifting its oversight of prisons to address health and safety concerns during the crisis, she found that the ACA greatly reduced its auditing of these facilities.

Released By

Sen. Elizabeth Warren
12/14/2020
Report: Assessment of the Department’s Reconstitution Plans Following Covid-19
Source: Inspector General - Department of Education
Type: Report
Education, Federal Management

The Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General released a report detailing its assessments of the department’s plans and procedures for returning employees to the federal office in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. OIG assessed existing guidance the agency considered when developing its plans and procedures. OIG found that the department generally incorporated available guidance in its Workplace Reconstitution Transition Plan, but found that the plan did not address anti-retaliation, as recommended by OSHA guidance. OIG also found that the Education Department did not periodically reassess and update self-screening questions as necessary in its plan, as recommended by the Office of Management and Budget.

Released By

PRAC
12/10/2020
Hearing: The Logistics of Transporting a Covid-19 Vaccine
Source: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on Dec. 10, 2020, titled “The Logistics of Transporting a Covid-19 Vaccine.” The hearing examined transportation and logistics plans for ensuring vaccines are delivered across the U.S. Witnesses included: Dr. Rachel Levine (secretary of health for Pennsylvania and president, Association of State and Territorial Health Officers); Richard Smith (regional president of the Americas and EVP, FedEx Express); and Wesley Wheeler (president of global health care, UPS). An unofficial transcript of the hearing can be found here: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/senate-commerce-hearing-on-covid-19-vaccine-transportation-transcript-december-10

Released By

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
12/10/2020
Hearing: Small Business in Crisis: The 2020 Paycheck Protection Program and its Future
Source: Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing on Dec. 10, 2020, titled “Small Business in Crisis: The 2020 Paycheck Protection Program and its Future.” Witnesses included: Douglas Holtz-Eakin (president, American Action Forum); Dafina Williams (senior vice president of public policy, Opportunity Finance Network); Thomas Zernick (president of SBA Lending, First Home Bank); and Imam McFarland (COO and Co-Owner, 21st Century Expo Group, Inc.).

Released By

Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee
12/10/2020
Third Congressional Oversight Commission Hearing: Examination of Loans to Businesses Critical to Maintaining National Security
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Congressional Oversight Commission held its third public hearing on Dec. 10, 2020. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testified. The hearing examined funds authorized by the CARES Act that provides up to $17 billion in loans and loan guarantees to businesses critical to maintaining national security.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Commission
12/10/2020
Report: Workplace Warnings: The Need for a New and Improved Paycheck Protection Program
Source: Good Jobs First
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

Good Jobs First conducted a national analysis of Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notices. The WARN Act requires certain employers to provide advance notice of layoffs to workers and the state. Based on that analysis, Good Jobs First released a report revealing that more than 190,000 American workers have been laid off since March 2020 across 1,900 companies that received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Further, about one in eight of those workers lost their jobs permanently. Among the affected workers in 41 states and the District of Columbia, virtually none received 60 days’ advance notice of their layoffs, and more than two-thirds received no advance notice at all. Based on their observations of the PPP, Good Job First concluded with recommended modifications to the program.

Released By

Good Jobs First
12/10/2020
Report: Hotbeds of Infection: How ICE Detention Contributed to Spread of Covid-19 in the United States
Source: Detention Watch Network
Type: Report
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Detention Watch Network published a report detailing ICE’s failed Covid-19 pandemic response. Between May and August 2020, ICE detention facilities were responsible not only for thousands of Covid-19 cases in detention centers, but also contributed to more than 245,000 additional cases in communities across the U.S. Additionally, counties with ICE detention centers were more likely to report Covid-19 cases earlier in the pandemic than counties without a detention center, and were more likely to confront a serious outbreak (at least 15 cases), a major outbreak (more than 250 cases), and a health care emergency (more than 2,500 cases). Counties in economic areas with the largest immigrant detention centers added an estimated 150 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents to baseline estimates. California, Texas, and Arizona had the most net Covid-19 cases due to the large presence of ICE detention facilities.

Released By

Detention Watch Network
12/10/2020
Report: The Cost of Inaction: 19 Deaths an Hour and Rising
Source: Senate Special Committee on Aging
Type: Report
Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Special Committee on Aging published a report showing that rates of death and Covid-19 infection are rising in nursing homes. To date, more than 104,000 residents and workers in long-term care facilities have died from Covid-19; in November, more than 15 nursing home residents died from Covid-19 per hour, with 19 residents dying each hour during the week of Nov. 22, 2020, the most recent week reported. Moreover, due to the pandemic, workforce shortages in nursing homes have increased since Labor Day; in November, one in six nursing homes nationwide reported that they did not have a sufficient workforce.

Released By

Senate Special Committee on Aging
12/10/2020
Report: Financial Assistance: Lessons Learned from CARES Act Loan Program for Aviation and Other Eligible Businesses
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The CARES Act authorized the Treasury Department to provide up to $46 billion in loans to airlines and other aviation businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The loan program had 267 applications and provided 35 loans worth $21.9 billion. As part of its CARES Act oversight responsibilities, GAO reviewed the loans provided, and found that Treasury prioritized applications from the largest passenger air carriers and executed loans with seven of them for nearly $20.8 billion. For other applicants, including smaller passenger air carriers and ticket agents, the amount of time the Treasury took to evaluate their applications and other challenges affected the number of loans executed. GAO concluded its report with a number of recommendations and “lessons learned” for designing and implementing programs of this type in the future.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
12/10/2020
Report: Federal Reserve Lending Programs: Use of CARES Act-Supported Programs Has Been Limited and Flow of Credit Has Generally Improved
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

GAO released findings from a study showing that the use of CARES Act-supported lending facilities had been relatively limited. As of Nov. 15, 2020, GAO found that CARES Act facilities had used about $24 billion, or a little more than 1 percent, of the $1.95 trillion the Federal Reserve can back in transition volume for these facilities. According to GAO’s study, representatives from small business associations, banks, and state and local governments may be deterred from accessing these facilities due to the terms and conditions attached. Additionally, some businesses may not have wanted to take on more debt.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
12/09/2020
Hearing: VA’s Response to Covid-19 across the VA Enterprise
Source: Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on Dec. 9, 2020, titled “VA’s Response to Covid-19 across the VA Enterprise.” Witnesses included: Dr. Paul Lawrence (undersecretary for benefits, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs) and Dr. Richard Stone (executive in charge, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs).

Released By

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
12/09/2020
Report: Audit of Department of Defense Implementation of Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Defense Department Inspector General assessed the agency’s implementation of Section 3610 of the CARES Act, including whether contracting officers properly authorized and reimbursed contractor costs. The IG’s office found that, in general, Defense contracting officers complied with OMB and Defense guidance on implementing Section 3610 of the CARES Act. However, OIG identified challenges that Defense faced, including that contracting officers had to rely on contractors to self-certify their use of Covid-19 relief programs. They also found that the use of Section 3610 authority was limited within the department when compared to the total number of contractors affected by Covid-19 closures and restrictions. Defense OIG conducted their audit from May through November 2020.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Defense
12/08/2020
Hearing: Identifying Congressional and Administration Priorities for the Next Congress: How We Can Support Our Veterans Through and After Covid-19
Source: House Veterans' Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on Dec. 8, 2020, titled “Identifying Congressional and Administration Priorities for the Next Congress: How We Can Support Our Veterans Through and After Covid-19.” Witnesses included: Pat Murray (director, National Legislative Service Veterans of Foreign Wars); John Kamin (assistant director, Veterans Employment and Education Division, the American Legion); Maureen Elias (associate legislative director, Paralyzed Veterans of America); Ashlynne Haycock (deputy director of policy, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors); Victor LaGroon (director, Black Veteran Empowerment Council); Lauren Augustine (vice president of government affairs, Student Veterans of America); and Tanya Ang (vice president, Veterans Education Success).

Released By

House Veterans' Affairs Committee
12/08/2020
Hearing: Early Outpatient Treatment: An Essential Part of a Covid-19 Solution, Part II
Source: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on Dec. 8, 2020, titled “Early Outpatient Treatment: An Essential Part of a COVID-19 Solution, Part II.” Witnesses included: Jane Orient, MD (executive director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons); Pierre Kory, MD (associate professor of medicine, St. Luke’s Aurora Medical Center); Jean-Jacques Rajter, MD (pulmonologist, Broward Health Medical Center); and Ramin Oskoui, MD (vice president of medical staff, Sibley Memorial Hospital; CEO, Foxhall Cardiology).

Released By

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
12/08/2020
Report: The Future of Work: How Congress Can Support Workers in the Modern Economy
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor unveiled a report on the “future of work,” which explored how new technologies and business models are reshaping the American workforce. Of relevance to the Covid-19 pandemic, the report also detailed how the pandemic upended the U.S. labor market and the economy. The committee noted that the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic exposed how low wages, tenuous work arrangements, and a lack of savings left tens of millions of workers without a buffer, and that an unprecedented number of workers will need some form of retraining to help them stay in the workforce.

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
12/03/2020
Report: 2020 Census: Census Bureau Needs to Assess Data Quality Concerns Stemming from Recent Design Changes
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

GAO released a report reviewing changes made to the design of the census in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. After multiple timeline changes, the Census Bureau ultimately shortened the period for door-to-door follow-up work by two weeks, and reduced its response processing time from 153 days to 77 days. GAO indicated that these changes raised concerns about the quality fo the data collected by the bureau. They suggested that shorter follow-up periods could affect population counts, and shorter processing times could affect the data. GAO had previously noted that late design changes to the Census risked decreasing the quality of the census. GAO recommended that the commerce secretary and bureau director should update and implement assessments, evaluations, and coverage measurement efforts to address the effects of the Census Bureau’s response to Covid-19, including the impacts of their response on data quality.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
12/03/2020
Testimony: 2020 Census: Census Bureau Needs to Ensure Transparency over Data Quality
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

GAO Managing Director of Strategic Issues, J. Christopher Mihm, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Dec. 3, 2020, about GAO’s review of late-stage changes made to the design of the census by the Census Bureau. The changes, made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, introduced risks to the quality of data that the bureau provides for apportioning congressional representation among the states. Mihm testified that GAO believes it is important, both for transparency and to ensure public confidence in the census, that the bureau share information about the quality of census data in “near real-time” as the data is released. Mihm’s testimony came as GAO released a report (https://www.gao.gov/assets/720/711004.pdf) articulating concerns with the census’s data quality in light of the late-stage changes made to the count.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
12/02/2020
Hearing: Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response
Source: House Financial Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing on Dec. 2, 2020 titled “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response.” Witnesses included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. An unofficial transcript of the hearing can be found here: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/jerome-powell-steven-mnuchin-testimony-house-oversight-hearing-transcript-december-2

Released By

House Financial Services Committee
12/02/2020
Hearing: Covid-19: Vaccine Safety and Distribution
Source: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing Dec. 2, 2020 titled, “Covid-19: Vaccine Safety and Distribution.”

Released By

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
12/02/2020
Report: Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2021-2023
Source: Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery
Type: Report
Federal Management

SIGPR published its first strategic plan, setting forth its mission, vision, and goals for the next three years and how it intends to fulfill them. The plan detailed a three-year roadmap for SIGPR to fulfill its statutory responsibility to conduct independent, objective, and fact-based oversight of certain CARES Act funds and programs, while developing SIGPR’s team and processes.

Released By

Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery
12/01/2020
Hearing: The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress
Source: Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing on Dec. 1, 2020, titled “The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress.” Witnesses included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. An unofficial transcript of the hearing can be found here: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/steve-mnuchin-jerome-powell-testimony-about-cares-act-transcript-december-1

Released By

Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
12/01/2020
Tool: SearchPPP.com
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Tool
Relief Funds and Loans

SBA recently released its remaining data on businesses and individuals receiving loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Accountable.US compiled the latest tranche of data into a searchable database at searchPPP.com; users can search by industry, loan amount, location, name, and congressional district, among other categories. The temporary database follows Accountable.US’s previous searchable databases, including those for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, Payroll Support Program, and previously released PPP data, which are all available in the Accountable.US Covid Bailout Tracker. Accountable.US noted that data from searchPPP.com will eventually be merged into their Covid Bailout Tracker.

Released By

Accountable.US
12/01/2020
Report: Evaluation of CARES Act Debt Relief to 7(A) Borrowers
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General examined SBA’s implementation of debt relief for borrowers in the 7(a) Program, SBA’s flagship loan guarantee program. Section 1112 of the CARES Act provided $17 billion in debt relief to borrowers in the 7(a), 504, and microloan programs. SBA OIG conducted the review to determine whether SBA exercised effective internal controls to provide debt relief to 7(a) borrowers in accordance with CARES Act Section 1112 and internal policies and procedures. OIG found that SBA effectively ensured that more than 224,000 borrowers of 7(a) loans received $2.6 billion in debt relief within the first three months of the CARES Act. By June 2020, SBA had verified that nearly all reported eligible 7(a) borrowers had received subsidy payments. While OIG found that SBA accurately made payments on behalf of borrowers, opportunities existed to improve payment controls to ensure that only eligible borrowers received subsidy payments; OIG found that $43 million in subsidy payments went to borrowers that may have been ineligible. Moreover, because subsidy payments were issued quickly due to the urgency and severity of economic hardship facing borrowers, OIG recommended SBA strengthen internal controls and oversight of subsidy payments, rather than relying too heavily on lenders self-certifying loan statuses and payment amounts.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/30/2020
Report: Covid-19: Urgent Actions Needed to Better Ensure an Effective Federal Response
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Communications Management, Federal Management, Testing

GAO submitted a report to congressional committees detailing its continued oversight of the federal government’s Covid-19 response. Among its highlighted findings, GAO found that states and territories were concerned about ongoing shortages of testing-related supplies and medical supplies (e.g., nitrile gloves). GAO also noted that as vaccines and therapeutics were being approved for use, more transparency around FDA’s scientific reviews of safety and effectiveness was needed to strengthen public confidence in them. Additionally, GAO stated that HHS and CDC provided little scientific explanation for changing key testing guidelines during the pandemic. The report included 11 recommendations and one suggestion for Congress to consider.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
11/30/2020
Report: EPA’s Initial Plans for Returning to the Office Incorporate CDC Guidance but Differ by Location
Source: Office of the Inspector General - Environmental Protection Agency
Type: Report
Federal Management

The EPA Inspector General published a report reviewing initial reopening procedures for the agency’s 13 primary offices across the U.S., including its headquarters. In their review, EPA OIG noted that while location-specific reopening plans incorporated elements of CDC’s interim guidance, specific health and safety measures outlined in the plans often varied. EPA OIG identified differences with respect to cleaning/disinfection procedures, masking, social distancing, interactions with visitors and non-EPA employees, public transportation, and ventilation systems, among other issues.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/30/2020
The Seventh Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The Congressional Oversight Commission (COC) released its seventh report, which focused on the Treasury and Defense’s $700 million loan to YRC Worldwide (YRC). The loan was made under a loan program for businesses critical to maintaining national security. COC noted that Defense had not yet provided a satisfactory explanation for how YRC is critical to national security. COC also expressed concerns about the Treasury’s decisions regarding the terms and conditions of loan; YRC had been operating at a loss and had poor credit ratings before and during the pandemic, yet the Treasury provided the company a loan at a significantly lower interest rate than the rates currently being offered to borrowers with the same poor credit rating as YRC.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Commission
11/30/2020
Report: Covid-19 in Behavioral Health & Addiction Treatment Programs
Source: House Oversight and Reform Committee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Katie Porter
Type: Report
Vulnerable Populations

The House Oversight Committee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Katie Porter released a report detailing findings from a comprehensive survey of Covid-19 outbreaks in behavioral health and addiction treatment programs. The lawmakers’ investigation, the first national survey of Covid-19 in residential behavioral health and addiction treatment facilities, revealed that more than half of residential behavioral health facilities covered by the survey had at least one Covid-19 case, while one in seven had larger outbreaks. The investigation also found that limited testing capacity prevented residential behavioral health programs from conducting routine testing of their patients and staff; that facilities’ paid sick leave policies did not provide sufficient coverage for all workers; and that fewer patients have been able to receive inpatient care during the pandemic despite an increased need for services.

Released By

House Oversight and Reform Committee
11/30/2020
Tool: Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF)
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Tool
Relief Funds and Loans

PRAC unveiled a tool on its website that allows users to find details about projects funded by Covid-19 relief funds. The Treasury made $150 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) available to states, eligible local governments, Tribal governments, D.C., and the U.S. territories. These prime recipients are spending CRF money on expenses resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. PRAC’s CRF tracker is searchable and allows users to “follow” how CRF money flowed from prime recipients to sub-recipients.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/25/2020
Report: Top Management Challenges Facing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2021
Source: Inspector General - Department of Housing and Urban Development
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The HUD Inspector General published a report detailing HUD’s top management and performance challenges for FY 2021, including responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. Challenges surrounding Covid-19 include: ensuring that the public receives accurate information; ensuring timely and appropriate use of CARES Act grant funding; implementing forbearance requirements in HUD’s management programs; and performing HUD’s mission operations through the pandemic.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Housing and Urban Development
11/23/2020
Report: Bailed Out and Propped Up: U.S. Fossil Fuel Pandemic Bailouts Climb Toward $15 Billion
Source: BailoutWatch, Public Citizen, and Friends of the Earth
Type: Report
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

BailoutWatch, Public Citizen, and Friends of the Earth released a report revealing that the fossil fuel industry received between $10.4 billion and $15.2 billion in direct economic relief from the federal government. These direct relief funds were magnified by “indirect lifelines,” most notably when the Federal Reserve bought $432 million in oil and gas bonds from private investors on the secondary market. The move by the Fed fueled a lending boom of more than $93 billion in new bond issuances by oil and gas companies, the fastest rate of energy bond issuance since at least 2010. BailoutWatch, Public Citizen, and Friends of the Earth found that more than 26,000 coal, oil, and gas companies directly benefited from government stimulus efforts, with the bulk of these companies having received SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

Released By

BailoutWatch, Public Citizen, and Friends of the Earth
11/20/2020
Audit Report: Employee Safety – Postal Service Covid-19 Response
Source: Inspector General - U.S. Postal Service
Type: Report
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE, Testing

The U.S. Postal Service OIG released a report detailing their assessment of the Postal Service’s response to Covid-19 as it pertains to the safety of its employees. To lead its pandemic response, USPS created the Covid-19 Command Response Team to ensure the agency followed directives and guidance from thhe CDC. In their assessment of the agency’s efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19, OIG identified three areas where USPS could better protect its employees: face-covering policy, contact tracing, and its employee health-screening program. First, USPS employees did not always wear face coverings when social distancing could not be achieved. Facility management voiced confusion with the face-covering policy and interpreted it to mean that state and local directives determined whether employees were required to wear face coverings. Second, the agency’s Close Contact Tracing Program did not include an overarching program goal with associated metrics, and did not have adequate staffing. Management indicated that they did not establish goals for the program. Lastly, although CDC recommended temperature-taking for employees in April 2020, USPS did not deploy temperature taking within its facilities nationwide.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/19/2020
Hearing: Insuring Against a Pandemic: Challenges and Solutions for Policyholders and Insurers
Source: House Financial Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance (House Committee on Financial Services) will planned a hearing for Nov. 19, 2020, titled, “Insuring Against a Pandemic: Challenges and Solutions for Policyholders and Insurers.” Witnesses to be announced.

Released By

House Financial Services Committee
11/19/2020
Hearing: Insuring Against a Pandemic: Challenges and Solutions for Policyholders and Insurers
Source: House Financial Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance (House Committee on Financial Services) held a hearing on Nov. 19, 2020 titled, “Insuring Against a Pandemic: Challenges and Solutions for Policyholders and Insurers.” Witnesses included: Ann Cantrell (Owner, Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store; speaking on behalf of the National Retail Foundation); John Doyle (President and CEO, Marsh); Brian Kuhlmann (Chief Corporate Counsel, Shelter Insurance; speaking on behalf of APCIA and NAMIC); Michelle Melendez McLaughlin (Chief Underwriting Officer, Chubb North America); and R.J. Lehmann (Executive Editor and Senior Fellow, International Center for Law and Economics).

Released By

House Financial Services Committee
11/19/2020
Hearing: Early Outpatient Treatment: An Essential Part of a Covid-19 Solution
Source: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on Nov. 19, 2020, titled “Early Outpatient Treatment: An Essential Part of a COVID-19 Solution.” Witnesses included: Peter McCollough, MD, MPH (vice chief of Internal Medicine, Baylor University Medical Center); Harvey Risch, MD, PhD (professor of epidemiology, Yale University); George Fareed, MD (medical director and family medicine specialist, Pioneers Medical Center); and Ashish Jha, MD, MPH (dean, School of Public Health, Brown University).

Released By

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
11/19/2020
Interim Report II: Review of the Office of Justice Programs’ Administration of CARES Act Funding
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The DOJ Office of the Inspector General released its second interim report reviewing the Office of Justice Programs’ administration of CARES Act funding. As of Aug. 22, 2020, OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance had awarded 99.7 percent of the $850 million received under the CARES Act. OJP received 84 percent of DOJ’s total allocation of CARES Act funds. The next round of financial reporting was due on Nov. 30, 2020.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Justice
11/19/2020
Report: Remote Inspection of the CORE Services Group, Inc.’s Brooklyn House Residential Reentry Center, Brooklyn, New York
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Justice Department’s inspector general released a report detailing findings from its remote inspection of Brooklyn House Residential Reentry Center (RRC), conducted between May 4 and June 22, 2020. The inspection was conducted to better understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected this facility and to assess the steps its management officials took to prepare for, prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission. The inspection was also conducted to evaluate whether the policies and practices of CORE Services Group and Brooklyn House RRC complied with Bureau of Prisons directives intended to control the spread of Covid-19, as well as with general CDC guidance. While Brooklyn House RRC staff whom the inspector general interviewed stated that they believed the facility did its best to address the virus and its effects, the report noted several systemic factors that potentially heightened the risk of Covid-19 spread within the institution and surrounding communities. For example, BOP did not require RRCs like Brooklyn House to quarantine asymptomatic inmates, either upon entry into custody or upon departure to long-term home placements.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/19/2020
Report: Remote Inspection of the GEO Group’s Toler House Residential Reentry Center in Newark, N.J.
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Justice Department’s inspector general published a report detailing findings from its remote inspection of Toler House Residential Reentry Center (RRC), which provides reentry services in Newark, N.J., conducted between May 1 and June 9, 2020, in order to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected this facility and to assess the steps management officials took to prepare for, prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission. The inspection evaluated whether the policies and practices of GEO Group and Toler House RRC complied with Bureau of Prisons directives intended to control the transmission of Covid-19, as well as general guidance from CDC. Among other findings, the report found that Toler House RRC did not distribute face masks to all of its residents until nearly three weeks after the CDC recommended on April 3 that all individuals wear cloth face coverings in public settings and in areas where social distancing measures could not be maintained.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/19/2020
Report: Defense Production Act: Opportunities Exist to Increase Transparency and Identify Future Actions to Mitigate Medical Supply Chain Issues
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

GAO released a report examining the federal government’s use of the Defense Production Act and similar actions to address Covid-19 medical supply chain issues, including: the extent to which federal agencies have used DPA and similar actions; the federal approach for using DPA and similar actions for medical supplies; and federal agencies’ efforts to identify lessons learned. The report recommended that HHS identify how DPA and similar actions will be used to increase domestic production of essential medical supplies as part of efforts to reduce reliance on foreign manufacturers. GAO noted that this report is the first in a series of reports they plan to issue on the use of DPA and similar actions for Covid-19.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/19/2020
Report: Distance Learning: Challenges Providing Services to K-12 English Learners and Students with Disabilities During Covid-19
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Education, Vulnerable Populations

GAO reviewed distance learning plans from a non-generalizable group of 15 school districts selected for their high proportion of either English language learners or students with disabilities. GAO found that some English learners and their families had difficulty fully participating in distance learning during spring 2020 due to a lack of necessary technology, language barriers, and the demands of meeting basic family needs. For those with special education needs, a variety of factors complicated the delivery of special education services during distance learning, including: the wide range of needs of students with disabilities; difficulty providing services specified in their individualized education programs; and the capacity of parents and caregivers to assist teachers and service providers in delivering general education, specialized instruction, and related services to their children. Moreover, delivering related services like occupational, physical, or speech therapy for students with complex needs was particularly difficult to do so remotely.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/19/2020
Report: Transparency in Pandemic-Related Federal Spending: Gaps in CARES Act Data Sources and How to Close Them
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) is responsible for providing the public with a transparent accounting of how pandemic response funds are spent. To evaluate their ability to provide a comprehensive look at CARES Act spending, PRAC investigated whether there were gaps in data currently available to them, and whether those gaps would affect the level of transparency they could provide to the public. PRAC commissioned a study to examine this question, reviewing data from USASpending.gov, SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and Treasury’s OIG Coronavirus Relief Fund. While PRAC found that existing publicly available data met a substantial portion of the CARES Act’s transparency requirements, their study found 16 key gaps in the data sources themselves that could impair their ability to provide the public with timely data and information on federal spending on Covid-19. The report identified 13 corrective actions that Congress, OMB, agencies, and other stakeholders could take to close or decrease these gaps.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/18/2020
Report: State Legislative Oversight of Emergency Contracts Related to Covid-19: Three Case Studies
Source: Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School
Type: Report
Medical Supplies and PPE, State Issues, Testing

The Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School published a report underlining the need for strong state oversight in Covid-19 contracting. The report presented three case studies that examined oversight inquiries by state legislatures into problems with emergency state contracts issued to combat Covid-19. The case studies in the report examined coronavirus-related emergency spending in 10 states related to the procurement of testing services, masks for first responders, and consulting services to facilitate the payment of unemployment insurance benefits or the reopening of communities. The ten states examined were California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.

Released By

Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School
11/18/2020
Tool: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee Agile Products Toolkit
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Tool
Federal Management

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) published a toolkit to aid inspectors general, states, and local agencies conducting quick reviews as part of duties to provide expeditious oversight of federal funds. The guidelines laid out in the toolkit pertain to reviews related to Covid-19’s impact on federal operations, as well as reviews of other emergent or ongoing challenges external to Covid-19. PRAC developed the toolkit specifically for senior management and congressional stakeholders responsible for the oversight of taxpayer funds, and included a set of guidelines, best practices, and lessons learned to help conduct, complete, and issue reports or other products rapidly.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/18/2020
Report: 12 Million Workers Facing Jobless Benefit Cliff on December 26
Source: The Century Foundation
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The Century Foundation (TCF) released a report illustrating that approximately 12 million workers will lose Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Extended Benefits (EB) when funding for these programs expires on Dec. 26, 2020. TCF noted that unless these programs are extended, only 18 states will provide any type of additional benefits to millions of the long-term unemployed.

Released By

The Century Foundation
11/17/2020
Report: Large Political Donations Came After Paycheck Protection Program Loans
Source: Project on Government Oversight and Anti-Corruption Data Collective
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

The Project on Government Oversight and the Anti-Corruption Data Collective found that large political donations flowed from over a hundred businesses after they received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The donations suggested that many of these recipients might not have needed the relief funds meant for struggling small businesses.

Released By

Project on Government Oversight
11/17/2020
Report: Remote Inspection of Federal Correctional Complexes Oakdale and Pollock
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The DOJ Inspector General published a report detailing findings from its remote inspection of FCC Oakdale and FCC Pollock between May 7 and June 16, 2020. The inspection was conducted to better understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected these prisons and to assess the steps officials took to prepare for, precent, and manage Covid-19 transmission. The IG found that despite their geographic proximity, FCC Oakdale and FCC Pollock experienced disparate outcomes in terms of transmission. At FCC Oakdale by June 16, 225 inmates and 29 staff members had tested positive for Covid-19, and eight of those inmates had died. As of Nov. 8, an additional 31 inmates and 22 staff members had tested positive, though no additional staff members or inmates had died. At FCC Pollock, by June 16, zero inmates and three staff members had tested positive for, but no one had died. As of Nov. 8, 52 inmates and an additional 39 staff members tested positive, but no staff members or inmates had died due to Covid-19.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/17/2020
Report: Federal Efforts Accelerate Vaccine and Therapeutic Development, But More Transparency Needed on Emergency Use Authorizations
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Communications Management, Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

GAO released a report discussing the need for FDA to identify ways to uniformly disclose to the public information from its scientific review of safety and effectiveness data when issuing emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for Covid-19 therapeutics and vaccines. GAO found that FDA does not uniformly disclose its scientific review of safety and effectiveness data for EUAs, as it would normally do for approvals of new drugs and biologics.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
11/13/2020
Report: The Economic Impact of Coronavirus Response Funds (Second Quarterly Report)
Source: Office of Management and Budget
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Office of Management and Budget released its second quarterly report on the economic impact of Covid-19 response funds, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, among others. The report discussed how these funds have impacted employment, economic growth, and other key economic indicators. The results in the report were categorized as preliminary and current as of mid-October 2020.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/12/2020
Hearing: Oversight of Prudential Regulators: Ensuring the Safety, Soundness, Diversity, and Accountability of Depository Institutions During Pandemic
Source: House Financial Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry

The House Committee on Financial Services planned a hearing for Nov. 12, 2020, titled, “Oversight of Prudential Regulators: Ensuring the Safety, Soundness, Diversity, and Accountability of Depository Institutions during the Pandemic.” Witnesses include: Brian Brooks (acting comptroller of the currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency); Rodney Hood (chairman, National Credit Union Administration); Jelena McWilliams (chairwoman, FDIC); Randal Quarles (vice chairman of supervision, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System).

Released By

House Financial Services Committee
11/10/2020
Report: Remote Inspection of Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The DOJ Inspector General released a report detailing findings from a remote inspection of Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn. The inspection, conducted between April 30 and June 10, 2020, sought to better understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the institution and to assess steps MDC Brooklyn officials took to prepare for, prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission. The IG found that while MDC Brooklyn followed BOP directives regarding testing symptomatic inmates, limited testing supplies inhibited the institution’s ability to test other inmates to measure the true number of cases in April and May. The IG also found that some health services providers were unable to obtain the necessary PPE, including N95 respirators and gowns, to evaluate inmates with Covid-19 symptoms and treat them in medical isolation. However, MDC Brooklyn’s housing arrangement, which uses self-contained, tiered units with closed cells on separate floors, likely limited contact and potential cross-contamination among inmates in different units. Further, the institution’s implementation of BOP social distancing directives further limited interpersonal contact among inmates.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
11/09/2020
Tool: 50 States Open Records Project
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Tool
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

In response to the Trump administration’s mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Accountable.US launched the 50 States Open Records Project, a nationwide public records investigation into all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., American Samoa, and Guam, seeking information on how the Trump administration’s hindered the ability of states to adequately respond to Covid-19, while encouraging many states to reopen prematurely against overwhelming expert advice.

Released By

Accountable.US
11/06/2020
Report: Building a More Resilient ICT Supply Chain: Lessons Learned During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
Type: Report
Business and Industry

The ICT Supply Chain Risk Management Task Force’s Covid-19 Impact Study Working Group released a report examining how the pandemic impacted the logistical supply chains of information and communication (ICT) companies. The report also provided recommendations on how organizations can increase their supply chain resilience from future risks.

Released By

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
11/02/2020
Report: Backdoor Bailout: Pandemic-Related Assistance to Biggest Banks
Source: Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund and Risky Finance
Type: Report
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund published a report detailing some of the ways in which the largest banks have benefited from regulatory forbearance and the Federal Reserve’s financial market interventions. The report’s findings were based on analyses of regulations and bank financial reports conducted by AFR Education Fund and Risky Finance.

Released By

Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund
11/02/2020
Report: Politics Over People: How the Administration’s Corruption, Cover-Ups, and Incompetence Hurts the American People
Source: House Committee on Education and Labor
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Communications Management, Education, Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor released a report highlighting its oversight of the Trump administration. Of relevance to the Covid-19 pandemic, the report discussed the ways in which the Department of Education mishandled the education relief funds secured for students through the CARES Act; how the administration pressured the CDC to water down Covid-19 safety recommendations for Smithfield meatpacking plant; and HHS’s refusal to establish a Special Enrollment Period during the pandemic, among other actions.

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
10/30/2020
Interim Staff Report: Inefficient, Ineffective, and Inequitable: The Trump Administration’s Failed Response to the Coronavirus Crisis
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Report
Communications Management, Elections and Campaigns, Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis published an interim staff report outlining some of the subcommittee’s key findings during its first six months. The report discussed the ways in which President Trump’s failure to respond appropriately to the Covid-19 outbreak led to a public health catastrophe. In particular, the report discussed the ways in which the administration failed to take responsibility and implement a national plan to combat Covid-19. The Committee detailed the ways in which Trump downplayed the crisis repeatedly and contradicted internal White House reports; instances in which political appointees improperly interfered (more than 60 times) in the government’s public health response; how the administration directed funding for critical supplies to companies with political connections to the administration; how it failed to address conflicts of interest in vaccine development; and how it and some state governments have failed to help people vote safely during the pandemic. So far, the subcommittee has launched 30 investigations — many of them ongoing — sent more than 120 letters, and reviewed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. The select subcommittee held 15 public hearings and briefings with senior administration officials, experts in public health and economics, and Americans personally impacted by the pandemic. The subcommittee has also published seven staff reports detailing its initial findings.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
10/29/2020
The Sixth Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Congressional Oversight Commission published its sixth report detailing updates about recent key actions taken by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve regarding lending programs and facilities under Subtitle A of the CARES Act, as well as updates regarding the commission’s oversight activities.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Commission
10/29/2020
Pandemic Response Accountability Committee: Semi-Annual Report to Congress (April 1 – Sept. 30, 2020)
Source: PRAC
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) published its first semi-annual report, which covers April 1 to Sept. 30, 2020. The report summarized PRAC’s structure and responsibilities; investigations and indictments/complaints launched; and reports published so far.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
10/29/2020
Memorandum: Management and Performance Challenges Facing the Department of the Treasury
Source: Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Treasury Department Inspector General (OIG) sent an information memorandum to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin detailing OIG’s perspective on the most serious management and performance challenges facing the Treasury. The memorandum discussed six main challenges facing the agency: Covid-19 pandemic relief; operating in an uncertain environment; cyber threats; anti-money laundering/terrorist financing and Bank Secrecy Act enforcement; efforts to promote spending transparency and to prevent and detect improper payments; and information technology acquisition and project management. The first challenge listed is new, while the other five are ongoing from last year.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
10/28/2020
Brief: Third Quarter GDP Will Paint Misleading Picture of Recovery
Source: Joint Economic Committee
Type: Report
Communications Management, Federal Management

The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released a brief illustrating the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on global domestic product. Rep. Don Beyer, JEC vice chair, warned that record GDP growth this quarter did not mean much because it followed a record decline the previous quarter. The pandemic led to a historic loss in economic output, but President Trump has tried to mislead the public by claiming that GDP growth this quarter means that the economy is recovering well.

Released By

Joint Economic Committee
10/28/2020
Report: Inspection of Small Business Administration’s Initial Disaster Assistance Response to Coronavirus Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General released a report detailing concerns about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and warned that billions might have been fraudulently obtained or directed to ineligible businesses. The IG stated that SBA “lowered the guardrails” or “relaxed internal controls” as it tried to expedite aid to businesses. The report noted that based on the IG’s analysis of SBA’s EIDL data (as of July 31, 2020), SBA approved $14.3 billion (of which $13.4 billion had been disbursed) in EIDL monies to accounts that differed from the original bank accounts listed on the loan applications. The IG also found $62.7 billion (of which $58 billion had been disbursed) in multiple Covid-19 EIDLs were doled out to applicants using the same IP addresses, email addresses, bank accounts, or businesses listed at the same addresses. Lastly, approximately $1.1 billion in EIDLs and emergency advance grants were given to potentially ineligible businesses.

Released By

Inspector General - Small Business Administration
10/28/2020
Tool: A Timeline of Trump’s Political Pressure on Health Officials
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Tool
Communications Management, Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Accountable.US published a timeline highlighting instances in which President Trump placed political pressure on health officials’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

Accountable.US
10/28/2020
Report: Veterans Crisis Line Challenges, Contingency Plans, and Successes During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General reviewed Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) operations, ranging from contingency planning to quality metrics and lessons learned, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The IG’s review process included completing remote interviews, document reviews, and surveying VCL employees and VHA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention staff. According to the IG’s report, VCL continued to meet performance targets for key indicators including speed in answering calls, rate of call abandonment, and levels of silent monitoring and caller satisfaction during and after VCL staffs’ transition to telework. VCL leaders reported that, in the future, VCL could benefit from a broader technology and equipment plan, and having its own information technology staff and managing its own contracts. They also reported that they could have developed better succession planning with overlap for key positions, and maintained an inventory of items such as headsets, keyboards, and cell phones. Ultimately, the IG’s office made no recommendations.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
10/27/2020
Report: CARES Act Flash Report September 2020: Where’s the Money?
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Department of the Interior’s Inspector General published a “flash report” detailing how the departmnet has spent CARES Act funds, as of Sept. 30, 2020. The CARES Act has provided the department with $909.7 million, which includes direct apportionments of $756 million to support the needs of Interior programs, bureaus, Indian Country, and the Insular Areas, and a $153.7 million transfer from the Department of Education to the Bureau of Indian Education.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of the Interior
10/27/2020
Report: Veterans Health Administration Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Response Report
Source: Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Veterans Health Administration released a report detailing its efforts to address the Covid-19 pandemic from early January 2020 to June 30, 2020. The Covid-19 Response Report provided details about the VA’s planning and preparation ahead of the pandemic, initial crisis response, key policies and directives, interactions and interdependencies with federal and state agencies, and adaptations to health care operations. The report also detailed the challenges the VA needed to address in order to respond to the pandemic, including challenges surrounding PPE and deploying health care personnel to meet critical needs in certain areas. As of Nov. 6, 2020, VA had tested 879,457 veterans and employees for Covid-19 and diagnosed 67,905 veterans with the disease, of which 14,168 were admitted to a VA medical center for care.

Released By

Department of Veterans Affairs
10/26/2020
Report: HHS, Inc.: Big Pharma Ties Draw Pandemic Response Concerns
Source: Project on Government Oversight and Anti-Corruption Data Collective
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

The Project on Government Oversight and the Anti-Corruption Data Collective published an investigation detailing ties between pharmaceutical companies and HHS officials (particularly HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan) and those involved in Operation Warp Speed. The report discussed how those industry ties impacted the administration’s COVID-19 pandemic response. Additionally, the report discussed the ways in which one of Hargan’s medical industry clients, Alvogen, was able to secure a $470 million contract with HHS for oseltamivir, an antiviral drug used to treat the flu.

Released By

Project on Government Oversight
10/26/2020
Report: Recommendation for Identifying, Protecting, and Ensuring Proper Handling of Tribal Data and Information
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The Interior Department Inspector General released a report detailing findings from its investigation of Interior officials’ disclosure of sensitive and confidential tribal information to entities outside the U.S. government. The IG’s office found that the Treasury Department emailed Interior a spreadsheet of CARES Act tribal registration data the Treasury had requested and collected from the tribes; the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) asked for this information from the Treasury to confirm whether the tribes had registered to receive CARES Act funding. The IG noted that the Treasury, in its email, had failed to mark tribal financial data related to applications for CARES Act funding as confidential, which contributed to inappropriate widespread dissemination of that data. BIA employees forwarded a spreadsheet containing the data to officers of tribes outside the federal government. Such a practice is inconsistent with Interior Department guidance on properly using and protecting agency data.

Released By

House Natural Resources Committee
10/23/2020
Report: Road to Recovery: Administration Must Build Public Trust and Ensure Safe, Effective, and Free Coronavirus Vaccines
Source: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (minority staff)
Type: Report
Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Minority Staff published a report identifying gaps in the Trump administration’s Covid-19 vaccine preparedness measures. The report noted that while President Trump learned of the severity and lethality of the Covid-19 pandemic nine months before, the U.S. continued to lack a comprehensive, national plan to combat the virus. The U.S. also continued struggling to secure N95 respirators and testing reagents. The report called for a swift and equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine once it becomes available. In the meantime, the minority staff urged the administration to implement an inclusive and comprehensive vaccine strategy rooted in science and transparency. Additionally, given that the pharmaceutical companies developing and manufacturing vaccine candidates received billions in taxpayer dollars, the committee noted that it would be important that any vaccine is made safe, free, and widely available to every American.

Released By

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
10/22/2020
Tool: COVID-19 Response Summary: Whistleblower Data
Source: OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program
Type: Tool
Federal Management

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program published a tracker documenting the number of coronavirus-related whistleblower complaints filed, pending, screened, administratively closed, docketed for investigation, and docketed and completed. The tracker is regularly updated.

Released By

OSHA Whistleblower Protection Program
10/21/2020
Video: Dr. Anthony Fauci Addresses Federal Watchdogs
Source: Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency
Type: Video
Federal Management

After queries by Project on Government Oversight, the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency released video of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s keynote remarks on Oct. 20, 2020, at an inspectors general awards ceremony. His remarks were interpreted as a thinly veiled criticism of Trump’s management of the Covid-19 crisis.

Released By

Project on Government Oversight
10/21/2020
Report: Some FDA Advisors Tapped to Review Coronavirus Vaccines Received Payments from Vaccine Companies
Source: Project on Government Oversight
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released a report detailing conflicts of interest of several members of the FDA’s Covid-19 vaccine advisory committee. POGO found that the FDA advisers’ ties to the drug companies included consulting fees and compensation for travel and lodging. In some cases, companies paid the advisers directly. In other cases, records showed that companies paid these advisers’ organizations for medical studies in which they played a principal role.

Released By

Project on Government Oversight
10/21/2020
Report: 130,000-210,000 Avoidable COVID-19 Deaths — and Counting — in the U.S.
Source: National Center for Disaster Preparedness (Columbia University Earth Institute)
Type: Report
Federal Management, Testing

A report by Columbia University Earth Institute’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness compared the U.S. death toll and policy response to Covid-19 to six similarly high-income countries (South Korea, Japan, Germany, Australia, France, and Canada). Notably, the report suggested that if the U.S. had followed similar policies and protocols as the other six countries, including building sufficient testing capabilities, enacting earlier lockdowns, issuing a nationwide mask mandate, and providing federal guidance on social distancing, between 130,000 and 210,000 Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. could have been avoided.

Released By

National Center for Disaster Preparedness (Columbia University Earth Institute)
10/20/2020
Report: President Trump’s 9-Month Campaign to Politicize Covid Science and Pressure Public Health Experts
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Communications Management, Federal Management

Accountable.US released a report highlighting nine months of politicization, misinformation, pressure, and intimidation by President Trump and his political appointees of career scientists working on the government’s Covid-19 response.

Released By

Accountable.US
10/19/2020
Report: Weapons Manufacturers Secured $164M In PPP Funds Despite Booming Gun and Ammo Sales
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

Accountable.US found that weapons manufacturers secured between $70 million and $164 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds, despite a spike in gun sales during the pandemic. Major gun manufacturers Brownells and Kimber received more than $5 million each. Following an aggressive lobbying effort from the industry, these gun companies received CARES Act relief monies intended for struggling small businesses.

Released By

Accountable.US
10/16/2020
Report: Top Management and Performance Challenges Facing the Department of Justice 2020
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The Justice Department’s inspector general released a report identifying nine challenges it believed represent the most pressing concerns for the agency, many of which involve the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of the challenges discussed included: protecting the health and safety of BOP and U.S. Marshals Service staff and inmates; returning employees to the workplace safely; overseeing and administering CARES Act funds; combatting coronavirus-related fraud; and minimizing Covid-19 health risks for those in immigration court proceedings.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Justice
10/16/2020
Report: Underserved and Unprotected: How the Trump Administration Neglected the Neediest Small Businesses in the PPP
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a staff report providing preliminary findings from the subcommittee’s ongoing investigation of the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The report discussed how the Treasury and SBA encouraged big banks to provide loans to wealthy, existing clients, often excluding minority- and women-owned businesses in the process. Further, SBA and Treasury failed to issue guidance prioritizing underserved markets. The investigation also revealed that several lenders processed bigger PPP loans for wealthy customers at more than twice the speed of smaller loans for the neediest small businesses.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
10/16/2020
Report: Top Management and Performance Challenges Facing Small Business Administration
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General published a report detailing the top challenges facing the SBA in FY2021, including possible fraud involving its Covid-19 economic relief programs. In particular, the report highlighted challenges with SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Released By

Inspector General - Small Business Administration
10/15/2020
Report: Covid-19, Economic Pressure and Americans’ Mental Health
Source: Joint Economic Committee
Type: Report
Vulnerable Populations

The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released a report on how the U.S.’s failure to contain Covid-19 has taken a toll on Americans’ mental health. The report notes that although young people aged 18 to 29 are less likely to be hospitalized or die from Covid-19, almost half report having depressive symptoms and/or generalized anxiety disorder, the highest rate of mental illness of any age group. The report also notes that Black and Latinx populations have reported some of the highest rates of mental illness during the pandemic, likely because they are bearing the brunt of its health and economic impacts. Additionally, Congress’s response to the pandemic has included little funding for the prevention and treatment of mental illness.

Released By

Joint Economic Committee
10/15/2020
The Fifth Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The fifth report of the Congressional Oversight Commission focused on the implementation of the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF) by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury. The report noted that the MLF calmed the municipal markets and provided an emergency backstop, while making clear that the MLF was not an economic stimulus, and that macroeconomic conditions remained relatively strained compared to the beginning of 2020. The report detailed potential changes that could be made to the MLF, including expanding it, extending it into 2021, lengthening the repayment term, lowering rates, expanding the number of eligible borrowers, offering more flexibility on loan use, and creating a secondary market facility. The report also summarized a Sept. 17, 2020, commission hearing exploring the MLF, its impact on the municipal bond market, the status of state and local budgets, and potential changes to the MLF. Three out of the four witnesses at the hearing backed the recommended changes listed in the report.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Commission
10/14/2020
Tool: Responding to the Coronavirus Crisis
Source: Brennan Center for Justice
Type: Tool
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

The Brennan Center for Justice (NYU Law) developed a repository of reports, resources, and policy plans discussing how the Trump administration has used the Covid-19 crisis to undermine democracy in a variety of ways, while offering recommendations on how to address some of these crises. In particular, the Brennan Center has published plans and resources for advocates looking to support election safety during the pandemic.

Released By

Brennan Center for Justice
10/14/2020
Report: Disaster Recovery: Covid-19 Pandemic Intensifies Disaster Recovery Challenges for K-12 Schools
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Education, Federal Management

The Government Accountability Office reviewed how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected schools recovering from recent natural disasters, the support the Department of Education has provided to help schools recover from disasters, and how the pandemic has affected schools’ use of Education Department resources.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
10/13/2020
Memorandum: Opportunities Exist To Improve HUD’s Communication to Renters About Eviction Protections
Source: Inspector General - Department of Housing and Urban Development
Type: Memorandum
Communications Management, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The HUD Inspector General reviewed HUD’s communication to renters regarding the eviction moratorium found in Section 4024, as part of the office’s oversight work concerning HUD relief efforts provided by the CARES Act. The Section 4024 eviction moratorium protects millions of households residing in properties that participate in certain housing programs or have federally backed mortgage loans, including renters connected to HUD’s public housing and rental assistance programs, and as well as those who rent in Federal Housing Administration-insured single-family homes, FHA-insured multi-family properties, and other properties related to HUD programs. While the Section 4024 moratorium expired on July 24, 2020, the IG’s report noted that it is still crucial that HUD have clear, complete, and accessible guidance available to help renters amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Maintaining up-to-date and easily accessible information for impacted renters, including information on any new renter protections, would help to ensure that renters know their rights, maintain housing stability through the pandemic, and avoid homelessness.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Housing and Urban Development
10/13/2020
Report: Unmasked: Secret Service Photos and Videos Show Departures from Social Distancing
Source: Project on Government Oversight
Type: Report
Federal Management

In its investigation of the U.S. Secret Service and the agency’s safety precautions surrounding Covid-19, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) raised questions about the degree of care taken by the Secret Service to prevent the virus from spreading, and the effectiveness of the agency’s own precautions. Based on communications with and requests for information from the Secret Service, public social media posts, and other evidence, POGO found that personnel often failed to comply with masking and social-distancing guidelines, thereby endangering their colleagues and individuals with whom they interacted.

10/11/2020
Tool: “Save Our Science (SOS) Political Interference Tracker
Source: Sen. Patty Murray (Ranking Member, Senate HELP Committee)
Type: Tool
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

Sen. Patty Murray (Ranking Member, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee) launched the “Save Our Science (SOS) Political Interference Tracker,” a page that details reports of Trump Administration officials interfering in the work of public health experts and scientists on the frontlines of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts.

10/09/2020
Report: Unnecessary Costs: How the Trump Administration Allowed Thousands of Aviation Workers to Lose Their Jobs
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a staff report on the Payroll Support Program (PSP), created by Congress to preserve aviation jobs by providing payroll assistance to companies in exchange for keeping workers employed. Following a months-long investigation, the Select Subcommittee’s report revealed that Treasury allowed aviation contractors to fire thousands of workers, even as these companies received hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds intended to protect those workers’ jobs.

10/08/2020
Report: Lamborghinis, Strip Clubs, Bogus Companies, and Lies: The First 56 Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Cases
Source: Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
Type: Report
Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

Project on Government Oversight (POGO) published an in-depth review of the first six months of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud cases. Across these 56 cases, 82 individuals have been charged with fraud; DOJ has alleged that a quarter of a billion dollars in PPP loans were fraudulently sought. The charged individuals sought a total of around $250 million in loans, though in some cases they either did not obtain loans or did not obtain the full amount they sought. Slightly less than half of that amount—$113 million—was successfully obtained by the individuals accused of fraud. In other words, POGO found that lenders and the Small Business Association did not stop alleged fraud in these instances.

10/08/2020
Brief: OSHA Must Protect Covid Whistleblowers Who File Retaliation Complaints
Source: National Employment Law Project
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The National Employment Law Project analyzed OSHA’s public data showing 1,744 coronavirus-related retaliation complaints filed by workers from the beginning of the pandemic through Aug. 9, 2020. NELP found that only 348 complaints were docketed for investigation, and only 35 complaints (2 percent) were resolved in that period. 54 percent of the complaints were dismissed or closed without investigation. Of the small number of resolved complaints, NELP noted that it was unclear whether any were settled in a manner beneficial to the workers; OSHA does not make those outcomes public or explain the settlements.

Released By

National Employment Law Project
10/07/2020
Tool: Fossil Fuel Companies that Received PPP Loans Smaller Than $150,000
Source: BailoutWatch
Type: Tool
Relief Funds and Loans

BailoutWatch released a tracker detailing fossil fuels companies that received PPP loans smaller than $150,000. Over $735,000,000 in PPP loans smaller than $150,000 were distributed to 19,156 companies in the fossil fuel sector as of Sept. 8, 2020. The BailoutWatch tracker detailing fossil fuels companies receiving loans greater than $150,000 can be found here: https://bailoutwatch.org/data/fossil-fuel-ppp-loans-over-150k

10/07/2020
Tool: Fossil Fuel Companies that Received PPP Loans Larger Than $150,000
Source: BailoutWatch
Type: Tool
Relief Funds and Loans

BailoutWatch released a tracker detailing fossil fuels companies that received PPP loans greater than $150,000. The tracker displays PPP loans larger than $150,000, distributed to companies involved in fossil fuel production, distribution, and manufacturing. Through Sept. 8, 2020, BailoutWatch found 6,776 fossil fuel companies received loans totaling between $3,547,750,000 and $8,369,750,000. The BailoutWatch tracker detailing fossil fuels companies receiving PPP loans smaller than $150,000 can be found here: https://bailoutwatch.org/data/fossil-fuel-companies-ppp-loans-sub-150k

10/07/2020
Hearing: IRS in the Pandemic
Source: House Committee on Oversight and Reform
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing on Oct. 7, 2020, titled “IRS in the Pandemic.” Witnesses included Charles Rettig (commissioner, IRS), Erin Collins (National Taxpayer Advocate, Taxpayer Advocate Service), and Vijay D’Souza (director, Information Technology and Cybersecurity, GAO). An unofficial transcript of the hearing can be found here: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/house-oversight-hearing-on-irs-operations-transcript-october-7

Released By

House Committee on Oversight and Reform
10/06/2020
Report: Federal Oil and Gas Revenue: Actions Needed to Improve BLM’s Royalty Relief Policy
Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism

GAO released a report finding that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to reduce royalties for oil and gas companies operating on public lands during the COVID-19 pandemic violated its own regulations and were implemented inconsistently, and that it was not clear that it was done to meet BLM’s stated goals of conserving public resources and protecting U.S. taxpayer interests.

BLM manages the federal government’s oil and gas program on public lands, with the goals of facilitating safe and responsible energy development while providing a fair return for the American taxpayer. In April 2020, oil and gas producers faced financial challenges from a drop in demand for oil during the COVID-19 pandemic. BLM developed a temporary policy to provide oil and gas companies relief from royalties that they owe to the federal government (and taxpayers) when they sell oil and gas produced on federal lands. However, BLM regulations allow the agency to lower royalties at an oil and gas well only if the company can show that the reduction would make an uneconomic well profitable. GAO found that BLM did not consistently require companies to prove their wells on public lands needed the royalty reduction in order to keep operating, and thus the reduction may have violated BLM’s own regulations.

10/06/2020
Hearing: House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Hearing: “Interior’s Royalty Cuts: Thoughtful Policy or Industry Giveaway?”
Source: The House Committee on Natural Resources
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing titled, “Interior’s Royalty Cuts: Thoughtful Policy or Industry Giveaway?,” on Oct. 6, 2020. The hearing focused on the royalty cuts the Trump Administration offered oil and gas drillers and mining corporations operating on public lands during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hearing came as GAO released a report on the same day finding that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) royalty reductions for oil and gas companies during the COVID-19 pandemic violated its own regulations and were implemented inconsistently, and that BLM was unable to determine if it achieved its stated goals of conserving public resources and protecting U.S. taxpayer interests. Witnesses included: Frank Rusco (Director, Natural Resources and Environment Team, GAO), Mark Squillace (Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School), and Jayson O’Neill (Deputy Director, Western Values Project). BLM was invited to appear for the hearing, but declined.

10/06/2020
Document: Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines to Prevent Covid-19: Guidance for Industry
Source: Food and Drug Administration
Type: Documents
Communications Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The FDA released its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) standards for prospective Covid-19 vaccines on Oct. 6, 2020. The stricter standards were released after American Oversight filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking these guidelines. The new guidelines were published in the face of threats from the White House to block their release.

Released By

American Oversight
10/05/2020
Report: Heartless: Organ Donation Contractors Lobby Against a Popular Health Care Initiative While Pocketing Pandemic Relief Loans
Source: Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

Project on Government Oversight (POGO) investigated how some companies in the organ transplant industry have been approved for potentially at least $100 million of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans–loans which were intended to help small business survive COVID-19. POGO found that in some cases, borrowers were sitting on large financial assets, expensive real estate, or other reserves (in one case, POGO found a company worth more than $112 million that received a PPP loan).

10/02/2020
Hearing: HHS Secretary Azar Testified Before Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Communications Management, Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE, Testing, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

On Oct. 2, 2020, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hybrid hearing with HHS Secretary Azar on HHS’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Until this hearing, Azar had not testified before Congress since February, when the United States had fewer than 20 confirmed deaths from Covid-19. Between February and October, more than 200,000 Americans died from the virus and more than 6.6 million have been infected. An unofficial transcript from the hearing can be found here: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/hhs-sec-alex-azar-testimony-on-coronavirus-transcript-october-2

10/02/2020
Report: The Trump Administration’s Pattern of Political Interference in the Nation’s Coronavirus Response
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Report
Elections and Campaigns, Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a majority staff analysis examining instances of political interference in the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The staff analysis showed that administration officials have repeatedly injected partisan politics into public health decisions over the course of the pandemic. The staff analysis found at least 47 separate incidents of political interference in the administration’s response spanning from February through September 2020. These incidents, the report noted, have impacted every major facet of the administration’s public health response and appear to be increasing in number and severity as the election draws near.

10/02/2020
Our Vote 2020: 20 Ways to Secure a Full and Fair Election During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Source: House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Type: Report
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism, State Issues

The House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (House Committee on Oversight and Reform) released a staff report entitled “Our Vote 2020: 20 Ways to Secure a Full and Fair Election During the Coronavirus Pandemic.” The report outlines five actions that voters, employers, and local and state governments can take to secure a full and fair election this fall. The staff report highlights that the pandemic’s potential impact on voter safety and voter turnout in November’s election has been a source of concern. In response to the public health threat, many states have tried to encourage voters to cast their 2020 ballots by mail. President Trump, in turn, has repeatedly undermined the legitimacy of mail-in voting.

10/02/2020
Interactive Dashboard: Covid-19 Bureau of Prisons Data
Source: Department of Justice Inspector Genera
Type: Tool
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Justice launched an interactive dashboard to track Covid-19 cases, deaths, testing, and trends among BOP staff and inmates.

10/01/2020
State Actions on Coronavirus Relief Funds
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures
Type: Tool
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination

As part of the CARES Act, the federal government awarded each state $1.25 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF). The National Conference of State Legislatures created a database detailing CRF actions to illustrate the ways states are utilizing its CRF allocations. This database provides up-to-date, real-time information in the 50 states.

10/01/2020
Covid Bailout Tracker
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Tool
Relief Funds and Loans

Accountable.us created the COVID Bailout Tracker to shed light on the companies that received Paycheck Protection Program relief funds and airline bailouts.

10/01/2020
Hearing: Preventing Fraud and Abuse of PPP and EIDL: Update with SBA Office of Inspector General and GAO
Source: House Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Investigations
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations (Committee on Small Business) held a hearing on Oct. 1, 2020, titled “Preventing Fraud and Abuse of PPP and EIDL: An Update with the SBA Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office.” Witnesses included Hannibal “Mike” Ware (Office of the Inspector General, SBA) and William Shear (Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, GAO).

The subcommittee met to discuss the July 28 Management Report from the SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Covid-19 reports from the Government Accountability Office. The reports detailed a lack of internal controls and potential for fraud within SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The hearing gave members the opportunity to discuss OIG and GAO’s findings and determine if SBA’s response to these reports was consistent with their recommendations or if more work would be needed to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse.

10/01/2020
Testimony: COVID-19 Loans Lack Controls and Are Susceptible to Fraud
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, Relief Funds and Loans

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a study of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program. The document linked is testimony that was submitted before the House Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations (House Committee on Small Business). SBA has made or guaranteed more than 14.5 million loans and grants through PPP and EIDL, which GAO noted has provided about $729 billion to help small businesses adversely affected by Covid-19. However, GAO also noted that the speed with which SBA implemented the programs may have increased their susceptibility to fraud. In its June 2020 report, GAO recommended that SBA develop and implement plans to identify and respond to risks in PPP to ensure program integrity, achieve program effectiveness, and address potential fraud. SBA neither agreed nor disagreed, but GAO noted in this testimony that it believes implementation of this recommendation is essential.

09/30/2020
Documents: FEMA Records Regarding National Stockpile Shipments of Medical Supplies to States
Source: Federal Emergency Management Administration
Type: Documents
Medical Supplies and PPE, State and Federal Coordination

American Oversight obtained records from FEMA detailing Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) quantities and supplies. FEMA sent these documents in response to American Oversight’s public records request seeking SNS shipments of medical supplies to states in response to Covid-19.

Released By

American Oversight
09/30/2020
Hearing: How Covid-19 Is Impacting Small Businesses Across the Food System
Source: House Committee on Small Business
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Small Business held a hybrid hearing on Sept. 30, 2020, titled “How Covid-19 Is Impacting Small Businesses Across the Food System.” Witnesses included Kimberly Gorton (president and CEO, Slade Gorton & Co., testified on behalf of the National Fisheries Institute), Jimmy Wright (president, Wright’s Market, testified on behalf of the National Grocers Association), Rob Larew (president, National Farmers Union), and Collin Castore (owner of Seventh Son Brewing and president of Ohio Craft Brewers Association).

09/30/2020
Hearing: Pathway to a Vaccine: Ensuring a Safe and Effective Vaccine People Will Trust
Source: House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vaccines and Treatments

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, held a hearing on Sept. 30, 2020, titled “Pathway to a Vaccine: Ensuring a Safe and Effective Vaccine People Will Trust.” Witnesses included Helene Gayle (co-chair, Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine), Ashish K. Jha (dean, School of Public Health, Brown University), Ali S. Khan (dean, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Mark McClellan (founding director, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, Duke University), Paul A. Offit (director, Vaccine Education Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

09/30/2020
Hearing: Indian Country Covid-19 Response and Update
Source: House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies held a hearing on Sept. 30, 2020, titled “Indian Country Covid-19 Response and Update.” Witnesses included Kevin Allis (CEO, National Congress of American Indians), Stacy Bohlen (CEO, National Indian Health Board), and Francys Crevier (CEO, National Council of Urban Indian Health).

09/30/2020
Report: How The U.S. Government Provided a Safety Net for the Flagging Fossil Fuel Industry
Source: BailoutWatch
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

BailoutWatch released a report, jointly produced with Friends of the Earth and Public Citizen, illustrating how oil and gas companies had taken on nearly $100 billion of debt in U.S. markets since late March, fueled by the Federal Reserve’s bailouts in response to Covid-19. BailoutWatch noted that some of these companies may not have survived without the Fed’s intervention, and 12 companies that received these loans had been downgraded by credit rating firms this year. The Fed’s emergency measures boosted the oil sector, with companies taking advantage of lowered debt costs and extended loan terms.

09/30/2020
Report: Economic State of the Hispanic Community in America
Source: Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Joint Economic Committee
Type: Report
Vulnerable Populations

The Joint Economic Committee and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus released a report about the economic state of the Hispanic community, the impact of Covid-19, and why the community is key to re-building the economy after the pandemic. In April 2020, almost a month after President Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency, the unemployment rate for Hispanics spiked from 4.4% to 18.9%, before dropping to 10.5% in August. More than 3 in 5 Hispanic households have lost earnings due to the pandemic and more than 1 in 3 have experienced food insecurity.

09/30/2020
Report: Covid-19 and Achieving Health Equity
Source: Senate Health, Education, and Pensions Committee (minority staff)
Type: Report
Vulnerable Populations

The minority staff of the Senate HELP Committee released a report, “Covid-19 & Achieving Health Equity: Congressional Action Is Necessary to Address Racism and Inequality in the U.S. Health Care System,” outlining how the American health-care system has failed communities of color due to entrenched bias, discrimination, and racism. The report also demonstrated how those failures have contributed to disproportionate and tragically high Covid-19 death and infection rates among the Black, Latinx, and Tribal communities. The report also laid out recommendations for congressional action to address inequality and racism within the U.S. health-care system.

09/30/2020
Report: SIGPR Quarterly Report to Congress
Source: Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) released its quarterly report to Congress detailing its CARES Act oversight. SIGPR’s quarterly reports include information about the Treasury’s loans and investments under CARES Act Section 4003, data regarding the entities that have received such loans and investments, the financial status of those transactions, and other information. SIGPR stated it has initiated a total of 21 preliminary investigations into allegations of improper activity with regards to CARES Act funds. Of those, SIGPR has referred seven to other IGs with proper jurisdiction. SIGPR is currently working one investigation jointly with a partner United States Attorney’s office.

09/30/2020
Report: Evaluation of Department of Defense Medical Treatment Facility Challenges During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Inspector General released a report about DoD’s medical treatment facilities’ handling of COVID-19. The goal of the evaluation was to determine challenges and needs encountered by personnel working at DoD medical facilities while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report found that the facilities faced challenges with staffing levels and coordination, testing capabilities, information technology use, supply amounts, and various forms of guidance that led to questions of the lines of authority.

09/30/2020
Report: Some Mortgage Loan Servicers’ Websites Continue To Offer Information about CARES Act That Could Mislead or Confuse Borrowers
Source: Inspector General – Housing and Urban Development
Type: Report
Communications Management, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) sent a memorandum on Sept. 30, 2020 concerning FHA servicers’ websites. The memorandum detailed findings from a study OIG conducted on information provided to borrowers about forbearance options available under the CARES Act by servicers of FHA-insured mortgage loans.

OIG reported on April 27, 2020 that after reviewing the websites of 30 FHA servicers who service approximately 90 percent of FHA loans, they found that these websites provided incomplete, inconsistent, dated, and unclear guidance to borrowers related to their forbearance options. OIG cautioned that the lack of clear and consistent guidance from FHA servicers, as well as enforcement of these guidelines by FHA, left homeowners unable to make informed decisions about paying their mortgages and uncertain about the relief that may be available to them during the pandemic. In their most recent study, OIG found that despite virtually all of the top 30 servicers updating their websites with information about options available to borrowers during the pandemic, some websites continued to provide information that was misleading or confusing, or otherwise offered little or no information to borrowers related to their forbearance options under the CARES Act.

09/30/2020
Report: Military, Diplomatic, and Other International Election Mail
Source: U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General
Type: Report
Elections and Campaigns, Federal Management

The U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted an evaluation of USPS’s preparedness for processing international mail, including military and diplomatic mail. The OIG found that USPS’s preparedness is at risk based on mail-processing delays at the Chicago International Service Center, where operations were significantly impacted beginning in late March 2020, primarily due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and delays remained into mid-August, the time of OIG’s most recent observations. OIG concluded that these delays threaten the facility’s overall ability to timely process military, diplomatic, and other international election mail and that, as of mid-August, the Postal Service did not have an active system for tracking and reporting on eligible military, diplomatic, and other international election ballots.

09/30/2020
Report: USDA Coronavirus Disease 2019 Funding
Source: Department of Agriculture Inspector General
Type: Report
Federal Management

On May 28, 2020, the USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated a non-audit service to identify the funding streams USDA used to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic as of May 31, 2020. Specifically, OIG identified the programs, appropriations, and any other funding streams used, as well as key controls and mechanisms, including applicable information systems for the identified programs. To report the various funding streams, OIG reviewed agency websites, surveyed departmental mission area and agency officials, and identified sources of funding from Covid-19 legislation as well as repurposed appropriations used for Covid-19 relief activities through May 31.

09/29/2020
Tool: Tracking Trump Administration Attacks on Government Science, Ethical Violations, and Other Abuses During Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Brennan Center for Justice
Type: Tool
Elections and Campaigns, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Political Opportunism, Testing, Vaccines and Treatments

The Brennan Center is tracking Trump administration attacks on government science, ethical violations, and other abuses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Subjects in the tracker include everything from politicizing testing and attacks on government scientists to attacks on voting by mail during the pandemic. The tracker is regularly updated.

09/29/2020
Tool: Tax Beneficiaries of the CARES Act
Source: BailoutWatch
Type: Tool
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

BailoutWatch created a data visualization tool detailing the amount that fossil fuel companies have claimed in tax refunds from the CARES Act. The CARES Act loosened net operating loss (NOL) and alternative minimum tax (AMT) restrictions, allowing corporations to carry back operating losses generated since 2018 for up to five years and to immediately claim unused AMT credits. These changes strongly benefited companies within the fossil-fuel sector that generated heavy losses in the past three years. BailoutWatch notes that fossil-fuel companies have claimed over $3.8 billion in tax refunds through June 2020.

09/28/2020
EPA Has Sufficiently Managed Emergency Responses During the Pandemic But Needs to Procure More Supplies and Clarify Guidance
Source: Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General
Type: Report
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General (OIG) evaluated whether the agency managed its resources for emergency responses to provide continued protection of human health and the environment during the Covid-19 pandemic. OIG sought to examine whether the EPA provided sufficient protective measures to its on-scene coordinators (OSCs) who respond to
emergency incidents. It also interviewed all ten EPA regional Superfund and Emergency Management Division directors, as well as directors from the Office of Emergency Management. The OSCs who responded expressed concerns that the EPA did not provide sufficient protective measures or effectively manage its emergency responses. About half reported that the pandemic impacted their ability to respond to emergencies and some cited delays in procuring PPE and cleaning supplies, while some said there were delays due to the additional time needed to obtain approval for deployment. All respondents said that the EPA did not provide Covid-19 tests to them before or after deployment. Although almost all respondents indicated that they were familiar with the EPA’s health and safety guidance, some said that they had issues complying with the guidance, while some said that they needed clarifications on the guidance. However, regional directors said that PPE and other supplies were provided to OSCs, and told OIG about the implications of the pandemic on EPA’s impending emergency responses. Specifically, a director in one western region stated that the region may be unable to respond to large incidents because of a lack of N95 masks, which the region deems necessary for wildfire responses.

09/28/2020
Report: CARES Act Flash Report August 2020: Where’s the Money?
Source: Office of the Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Department of Interior (DOI)
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General released a short report capturing how much CARES Act money the Department has spent and how, as well as a the agency’s progress on various reporting requirements.

09/28/2020
Report: Interim Report Regarding CARES Act Expenditures and Controls
Source: Inspector General - U.S. Railroad Retirement Board
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board’s inspector general (OIG) issued an interim report regarding fiscal accountability under the CARES Act. RRB has issued over $147 million in additional unemployment and sickness benefits under the CARES Act since May 10, 2020. In addition, the CARES Act awarded RRB $5 million to respond to Covid-19. The OIG’s investigation found that 70 percent of the mobile phones acquired with the CARES Act money to support the RRB workforce were not functioning. OIG also found that CARES Act benefit payments were being issued without any concurrent verification against state wages and unemployment benefits for the same periods.

09/28/2020
Report: Postal Service and Census Bureau Under Attack by Administration
Source: Project on Government Oversight
Type: Report
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The Project on Government Oversight published findings from a wide-ranging investigation on politicization of the U.S. Postal Service and Census Bureau by the Trump administration and how the operations of both agencies have been impacted by Covid-19.

09/27/2020
Report: PPP At Six Months: A Flawed Program That Came Up Short
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

Ahead of the six-month anniversary of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), government watchdog Accountable.us released a report outlining the program’s flaws and requested that any additional aid for small businesses include strengthened oversight and accountability measures. The report discussed PPP’s flawed design and implementation, which Accountable.us argued left it vulnerable to fraud and misuse; the ways in which PPP inordinately benefited publicly traded companies, chain restaurants, real-estate firms, or entities with connections to President Trump or administration officials; and racial disparities in assistance (e.g., businesses in Black communities received disproportionately less aid than those in white communities), among other findings.

09/25/2020
Hearing: A Review of PPP Forgiveness
Source: House Committee on Small Business
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access (Committee on Small Business) held a hearing on Sept. 25, 2020, titled “A Review of PPP Forgiveness.” Witnesses included Lynn Ozer (president, SBA Lending, Fulton Bank, Pottstown, Penn.), Amy Bonfig (Little Saints Academy, St. Joseph, Minn.), Jim Parker (CEO and director, Riverview Studios, Bordentown, N.J.), and Pete Patel (president and CEO, Promise Hotels, Tulsa, Okla.).

09/25/2020
Hearing: Restaurants in America During Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Ways and Means Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry

The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on Sept. 25, 2020, titled “Restaurants in America During the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Witnesses included Buddy Dyer (mayor, Orlando), Sondra Bernstein (owner and proprietor, The Girl and the Fig), Christine Hà (owner and chef, The Blind Goat), Mario Sandoval (culinary worker, Las Vegas), Saru Jayaraman (president, One Fair Wage), and Melvin Rodrigue (board chairman, National Restaurant Association).

09/24/2020
Report: President Trump’s 3,400 Conflicts of Interest
Source: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Type: Report
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Political Opportunism

A report published by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) tracked 3,403 conflicts of interest (to date) for President Trump, illustrating the ways in which the president has blurred the line between his public responsibilities and his private financial interests. Of relevance to the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused many Trump properties to close temporarily, CREW noted that Trump’s properties had since reopened and resumed hosting — and billing — political and special interest groups, convening officials, donors, and lobbyists for eight events since March. During the Republican National Convention, Trump Victory hosted a three-day event at the Trump hotel, drawing attendance from ten administration officials, including at least five cabinet officials and President Trump himself.

09/24/2020
Report: Audit of Screening and Quarantine Procedures for Personnel Entering Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
Source: Department of Defense Inspector General
Type: Report
Federal Management, Testing

The Department of Defense’s Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit to determine whether the Air Force implemented screening and quarantine procedures for personnel entering Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, in accordance with applicable guidance in response to Covid-19. OIG was able to determine whether screening and quarantine procedures were developed. However, because no one failed the initial screening during observations, ot could not verify how effectively the quarantine procedures were implemented.

09/24/2020
Hearing: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell
Source: Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hybrid hearing on Sept. 24, 2020, titled “The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress.” Witnesses included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

09/24/2020
Hearing: Paycheck Protection Program: An Examination of Loan Forgiveness, SBA Legacy Systems, and Inaccurate Data
Source: House Committee on Small Business
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development (Committee on Small Business) held a hearing on Sept. 24, 2020, titled “Paycheck Protection Program: An Examination of Loan Forgiveness, SBA Legacy Systems, and Inaccurate Data.” Witnesses included William Manger (SBA chief of staff and associate director, SBA Office of Capitol Access).

09/24/2020
Report: The Trump Administration’s Mistreatment of Detained Immigrants
Source: House Committee on Oversight and Reform
Type: Report
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a staff report, “The Trump Administration’s Mistreatment of Detained Immigrants: Deaths and Deficient Medical Care by For-Profit Detention Contractors,” after a 14-month investigation of ICE detention centers and two for-profit contractors that operate ICE detention centers, CoreCivic and GEO Group. These companies operate facilities holding more than 80 percent of all people in ICE detention. The staff report noted that longstanding practices like overcrowding, prolonged detention, lack of consistent and quality medical care, unsanitary living conditions, and poor detainee treatment likely established the conditions in which Covid-19 could spread rapidly, while compounding already-existing dangers. ICE confirmed that more than 6,000 detainees and ICE staff had contracted Covid-19 at more than 95 detention facilities; at least four detainees had died after contracting Covid-19 in ICE custody. Documents obtained by the committee raised concerns that these numbers would continue to rapidly increase; detainees are not usually provided basic immunizations, often have chronic health conditions that can make them more susceptible to severe or fatal Covid-19, and live and eat in unsanitary conditions. The committee found that detainees were not being appropriately treated for other infectious diseases like TB, HIV, MRSA, meningitis, or hepatitis.

09/23/2020
Document: USPS Communications of Postmaster General Brennan Containing Key Terms
Source: U.S. Postal Service
Type: Documents
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism

In response to American Oversight’s FOIA request, the U.S. Postal Service released nearly 10,000 pages of records on Aug. 21, 2020. The request was for the communications of Postmaster General Megan Brennan containing key terms related to possible political interference in USPS operations; the communications surrounded agency loans, the USPS Board of Governors, and Covid-19. On Sept. 17, after the documents had been posted publicly and had been discussed in multiple news reports, USPS requested that American Oversight remove the file from its website. Following conversations with USPS, American Oversight reposted a copy of the file that includes redactions requested by the agency on a limited number of pages. However, pages detailing issues that were the subject of public reporting remain un-redacted.

Released By

American Oversight
09/23/2020
Transcript: An Update on the Federal Response
Source: Senate Health, Education, and Pensions Committee (minority staff)
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Testing, Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing, “COVID-19: An Update on the Federal Response,” on Sept. 23, 2020. Witnesses included Anthony Fauci (director, NIAID), Robert Redfield (director, CDC), Brett Giroir (assistant secretary for health, HHS), and Stephen Hahn (commissioner, FDA). An unofficial transcript of the hearing can be found here: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/fauci-redfield-covid-19-senate-testimony-transcript-september-23

09/23/2020
Hearing: Fed Chair Jerome Powell at House Select Subcommittee Hearing
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

On Sept. 23, 2020, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hybrid hearing with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on the Fed’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Video of the hearing can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ke3jciFUmw&feature=youtu.be

09/23/2020
Hearing: Health Care Lifeline: The Affordable Care Act and the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Subcommittee on Health (Committee on Energy and Commerce) held a virtual hearing on Sept. 23, 2020, titled “Health Care Lifeline: The Affordable Care Act and the Covid-19 Pandemic.” Witnesses included Dr. Aviva Aron-Dine (vice president for health policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities), Dean Cameron (director, Idaho Department of Insurance), Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin (president, American Action Forum), Peter Lee (executive director, Covered California), and Dr. Benjamin Sommers (Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health/Brigham & Women’s Hospital).

09/23/2020
Hearing: Immigrants as Essential Workers During Covid-19
Source: House Judiciary Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship (Judiciary Committee) held a hearing on Sept. 23, 2020, titled “Immigrants as Essential Workers During Covid-19.” Witnesses included Tom Jawetz (vice president, immigration policy, Center for American Progress), Dimple Navratil (small-business owner), Vicente Reyes (farmworker, DACA recipient, incoming CalTech undergraduate), and Haeyoung Yoon (senior policy director, National Domestic Workers Alliance).

09/23/2020
Hearing: Responsible Management of Data During Covid-19 and Beyond
Source: House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight (Committee on Science, Space, and Technology) held a hearing on Sept. 23, 2020, titled “Data for Decision-Making: Responsible Management of Data During Covid-19 and Beyond.” Witnesses included Lisa Lee (associate vice president for research and innovation, Virginia Tech), Lisa Maragakis (senior director of infection prevention, Johns Hopkins Health System), Avik Roy (president, Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity), and Janet Hamilton (executive director, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists).

09/23/2020
Report: Analysis of Corporate Bond Purchases: Fed Bought Bonds Issued by Companies That Laid Off Workers During Covid-19 Pandemic While Paying Dividends to Shareholders
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a staff analysis of corporate bond purchases made by the Federal Reserve. In June 2020, the Fed began purchasing individual corporate bonds through its Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility, a lending facility backed by CARES Act funds. Since June, the Fed had purchased corporate bonds issued by approximately 500 large companies. The subcommittee’s analysis revealed that companies that issued bonds purchased by the Fed conducted substantial layoffs and paid billions in dividends to shareholders during the pandemic, raising concerns that the Fed’s bond purchasing program may be exacerbating economic inequities and contributing to an economic recovery that disproportionately benefits wealthy executives and investors.

09/23/2020
Report: Canadian Mining Corporations Land Millions in PPP Loans
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

An Accountable.us investigation found that more than $12 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan funds went to nine major Canadian mining corporations, rather than to U.S. small businesses as the program intended.

09/23/2020
Report: Impact of Covid-19 on Child-care Industry
Source: Joint Economic Committee
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Education, Vulnerable Populations

The Joint Economic Committee released its first congressional report on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the child-care industry. Before the pandemic, nearly 12 million American children aged 5 and younger were in some form of childcare. However, since the pandemic, about half of child-care providers have been forced to shut down at some point. Moreover, about 1 in 5 child-care workers have been left without a job. Even at child-care providers that are open, enrollment is down 67 percent. The committee found that one of the key factors holding back the country’s economic recovery is that parents, particularly mothers, are having to choose between going to work and ensuring their children have safe, quality care.

09/22/2020
Report: Opportunities Exist to Improve HUD’s Responses to Inquiries From Borrowers, Industry Partners, and the General Public Regarding Forbearance and Foreclosure Relief Provided by the CARES Act
Source: Housing and Urban Development Inspector General
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General (OIG) reviewed HUD’s responses to inquiries regarding forbearance and foreclosure relief amid the Covid-19 pandemic, to evaluate the accuracy of HUD’s responses to inquiries from borrowers, industry partners, and the general public regarding forbearance and foreclosure relief provided by the CARES Act. OIG found that HUD could improve its customer service to borrowers, industry partners, and the general public by providing more direct, accurate, and complete responses to their inquiries.

09/22/2020
Transcript: Hearing on Oversight of Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response
Source: House Committee on Financial Services
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The House Committee on Financial Services held a hybrid hearing, “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response,” on Sept. 22, 2020. Witnesses included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. An unofficial transcript of the hearing can be found here: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/transcript-mnuchin-powell-testimony-on-treasury-dept-federal-reserve-covid-19-response. `

09/22/2020
Transcript: Hearing on the Economic Impact of America’s Failure to Contain the Coronavirus
Source: Joint Economic Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Federal Management

The Joint Economic Committee held a hearing on Sept. 22, 2020, titled “The Economic Impact of America’s Failure to Contain the Coronavirus.” Witnesses included Dr. Anisha Jha (dean, Brown University School of Public Health), Dr. Austan Goolsbee (Robert P. Gwinn Professor, University of Chicago; former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers during Obama administration), Dr. Adam Michel (senior policy analyst, Heritage Foundation’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget), and Dr. Jeffrey Singer (senior fellow, Cato Institute).

09/22/2020
Report: The Way Forward: Formal Recommendations on Preparing for a Second Wave
Source: Rep. Andy Kim
Type: Report
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE, Testing

Rep. Andy Kim (member of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis) released a report titled “The Way Forward: Formal Recommendations on Preparing for a Second Wave.” The report was the result of testimony from the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis and interviews with public health experts. Recommendations from the report focused on four main areas: improving diagnostic testing infrastructure, strengthening contact tracing, increasing the availability and quality of personal protective equipment, and implementing early warning systems and indicators.

09/22/2020
Report: 11 Deaths An Hour: An Update on the Trump Administration’s Response to Covid-19 in Nursing Homes
Source: Sens. Bob Casey and Ron Wyden
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Bob Casey (ranking member, Special Committee on Aging) and Ron Wyden (ranking member, Senate Committee on Finance) released a report that analyzed data reported to CMS and CDC by nursing homes for July and August 2020. The data showed persistent shortages of PPE, testing, and staffing in nursing homes, and that on average, more than one resident was infected every minute and 11 residents died every hour. This report follows up on the July 2020 report “Covid-19 in Nursing Homes: How the Trump Administration Failed Residents and Workers.” Both reports provided a series of recommendations outlining the urgent actions needed to address Covid-19 in nursing homes, including: ensuring comprehensive data collection; providing states and nursing homes with funding; supplying adequate PPE and testing; investing in home and community-based services; supporting nursing home workers with premium pay, overtime, and other essential benefits; upholding residents’ rights; and resuming visitation safely.

09/21/2020
Report: BSEE’s Safety Inspection Program COVID-19 Response
Source: Department of the Interior Inspector General
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Department of the Interior’s Inspector General (OIG) reviewed guidance developed by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to mitigate inspectors’ exposure to Covid-19. OIG reached out to its regions, districts, and individual inspectors to assess how they implemented BSEE’s Safety Inspection Program. OIG found that BSEE developed, communicated, and updated Covid-19 guidance for all personnel involved with offshore inspections; continued to complete its required inspections; and adapted its practices and remotely witnessed operators’ blowout preventer tests by accessing the operators’ software systems.

09/21/2020
Report: USAID Covid-19 Activity Update (January–August 2020)
Source: Inspector General - USAID
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) within the U.S. Agency for International Development wrote a brief providing information on USAID’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated challenges, as well as related oversight plans and activities. This brief reports on activities from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic through Aug. 31, 2020.

09/21/2020
Report: ICE Detention Facilities Failing to Meet Basic Standards of Care
Source: House Committee on Homeland Security
Type: Report
Immigration and Border Issues, Testing, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Homeland Security released a majority staff report detailing an investigation of eight ICE immigrant detention facilities. The investigation revealed that ICE failed to conduct proper oversight of migrant detention facilities, leaving deficiencies unidentified and uncorrected, and that ICE facilities frequently failed to meet basic standards of care. The majority staff found deficient medical, dental, and mental health care, including lack of protection from Covid-19, in the eight facilities investigated. As of September 2020, six migrants had died in ICE custody from Covid-19 and more than 5,000 had tested positive.

09/21/2020
Report: Federal Covid-19 Efforts Could Be Strengthened by Timely and Concerted Actions
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

The Government Accountability Office released a report assessing the federal government’s response to Covid-19. GAO included 16 recommendations for federal agencies, including a request to HHS (with support from the Defense Department) to establish a timeframe for documenting and sharing a national plan for vaccine administration and distribution; a request to the Treasury (in coordination with the IRS) to make estimates of eligible recipients who have yet to file for an economic impact payment, and other relevant information, available to outreach partners to raise awareness about how and when to file for economic impact payments; and a request to the CDC to determine whether having the authority to require states and jurisdictions to report race and ethnicity information for Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths is necessary for ensuring more complete data, and if so, seek such authority from Congress, among other recommendations.

09/21/2020
Report: Vaccine Profiteering at Five Top Drug Companies, Over $145 Million Earned by Executives Since Start of OWS
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Vaccines and Treatments

An Accountable Pharma (Accountable.us) report on Covid-19 vaccine profiteering revealed that executives and directors at five top drug companies that received billions of taxpayer dollars through Operation Warp Speed (OWS) have made more than $145 million cashing out stock options since the launch of OWS on May 15, 2020. The report was released following the House Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets (Financial Services Committee) hearing, “Insider Trading and Stock Option Grants: An Examination of Corporate Integrity in the Covid-19 Pandemic,” on Sept. 17, 2020.

09/20/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Report (Sept. 20, 2020)
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Report
Communications Management, Federal Management, State Issues

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis obtained and released six weeks of White House Coronavirus Task Force reports on Oct. 20, 2020. These reports, shared privately with state governments each week but not released to the public, revealed that the White House had long been aware of rising Covid-19 cases nationwide and the need for more testing and mask mandates. The Task Force’s Sept. 20 report noted that 18 states were in the “red zone,” and that cases were up 49 percent in North Dakota, 65 percent in Arkansas, 76 percent in Utah, and 145 percent in Wisconsin. The reports for four of the weeks (Sept. 27, Oct. 4, Oct. 11, and Oct. 18) were originally released by the Center for Public Integrity; those reports are linked on the select subcommittee’s website: https://coronavirus.house.gov/news/press-releases/coronavirus-surges-select-subcommittee-releases-white-house-reports

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and Center for Public Integrity
09/18/2020
Tool: PRAC’s PandemicOversight.gov
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Tool
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) created PandemicOversight.gov to display the details of the $2.6 trillion coronavirus relief spending provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and three related pieces of legislation.

The tracker features information on who received coronavirus funding, how much they received and how they’re spending the money. Users can also report fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of the funding.

Released By

Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency
09/18/2020
Defense Department OIG Covid-19 Oversight Plan (Sept. 2020 Update)
Source: Department of Defense Inspector General
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Defense Department Inspector General’s Covid-19 Oversight Plan describes the independent audits, evaluations, and investigations that the office intends to conduct of Defense programs, operations, and activities executed in response to Covid-19. Congress appropriated nearly $10.6 billion for the Pentagon to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Covid-19, domestically and internationally. In addition, Congress appropriated $20 million for the inspector general to conduct increased oversight of Defense Department operations and activities in response to Covid-19. The OIG reviewed the agency-wide distribution of CARES Act funds to plan and coordinate oversight of emerging Covid-19 challenges in Defense operations and programs such as health care, procurement, force readiness, and cyber and information technology. In its September 2020 update, the report details the OIG’s ongoing oversight projects, criminal investigations, and best practice guidance issued to the agency.

09/18/2020
Tool: Brookings Tracker of House Oversight in the Trump Era
Source: Brookings Institution
Type: Tool
Federal Management

The Brookings Institution created a tracker detailing House oversight activities of the 116th Congress, including oversight hearings and letters dating back to Jan. 3, 2019. The documents and hearings tracked include those pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic and is regularly updated. The methodology for the tracker is detailed here: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/gs_20190321_tracking_oversight_trump_era_methodology.pdf

09/17/2020
Report: Date of Receipt of Claims and Mail Processing During Covid-19 National State of Emergency
Source: Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General (OIG) reviewed the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) processing of mail and benefit claims during the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, the review team examined whether VBA staff documented the date of receipt for benefits-related correspondence, as required by new guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic, and continued mail operations at VA facilities to ensure benefit claims were processed. Based on its sample analysis, the OIG found VBA staff did not properly apply date-of-receipt documentation guidance for an estimated 98 percent of 3,200 claims established from April 7 through April 20, 2020. The date of receipt is important because it may be used to establish when veterans become entitled to benefit payments. Veterans could be underpaid if staff record an incorrect date of receipt.

09/17/2020
New Data Shows Small Businesses in Communities of Color Had Unequal Access to Federal Covid-19 Relief
Source: Brookings Institution
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The Brookings Institution released a report detailing how small businesses in communities of color had unequal access to federal Covid-19 relief funds. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) had so far distributed 5 million loans across the country, and data offered a comprehensive snapshot of how access to PPP loans varied considerably based on neighborhood demographics, with small businesses in majority-white neighborhoods receiving PPP loans more quickly than small businesses in majority-Black and majority-Latino or Hispanic neighborhoods.

09/17/2020
Report: A Worsening Crisis: Failed Response to Covid-19 In ICE Detention
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Watchdog group Accountable.us released a report discussing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in ICE detention facilities. The report brings together research on the failures of ICE and its private detention center operators to put in place measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 and protect the people in its care, as well as detention center staff. Accountable.us noted that despite warnings about the potential impact of Covid-19 from health experts, ICE leadership and private detention center operators failed to act early to mitigate risk and contain outbreaks in facilities by implementing measures like consistent physical distancing, masks, and testing. So far in 2020, more than 5,600 detainees and more than 1,000 ICE and contract employees had been diagnosed with Covid-19 in ICE facilities. However, this is most likely an undercount as ICE had failed to update its employee statistics for the last three months, and refused to require their private contractors publicize that information (nearly every ICE detention facility is run by contractors).

09/17/2020
Report: Communities of Color in Los Angeles Shortchanged by Trump Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

Watchdog group Accountable.us analyzed ZIP codes across Los Angeles and found an inequitable distribution of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Overall, for every 1,000 residents of Los Angeles, 17 PPP loans were awarded, and the county’s demographic split was roughly even between white and nonwhite residents. For the top ten ZIP codes with the largest non-white population, loans per 1,000 residents dropped to 11; for the top ten ZIP codes with the most white residents, it rose to 59.3. Black ZIP codes mirrored the larger nonwhite trend, with the top 10 proportioned zip codes also receiving 11 loans per capita. Despite the PPP’s intention to serve small businesses, larger entities in the Los Angeles area received loan funding while smaller businesses suffered. Covid-19 created record unemployment rates in Los Angeles, and some economists predicted it could take up to the three years for the area to return to pre-pandemic unemployment levels.

09/17/2020
Hearing: Municipal Liquidity Facility
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Congressional Oversight Commission held a hearing on Sept. 17, 2020, examining the Municipal Liquidity Facility established by the Federal Reserve pursuant of the CARES Act. Witnesses included Kent Hiteshew (deputy associate director, Division of Financial Stability, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System), Chris Edwards (director, Tax Policy Studies, Cato Institute), Marion Gee (finance director, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District; president, Government Finance Officers Association), Patrick McCoy (director of finance, Metropolitan Transit Authority), and Dr. Mark Zandi (chief economist, Moody’s Analytics).

09/16/2020
Transcript: Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts
Source: Senate Appropriations Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Communications Management, Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, Testing, Vaccines and Treatments

The Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on Sept. 16, 2020, called “Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts.” Witnesses included Robert Redfield (director, CDC); Bob Kadlec (assistant secretary for preparedness and response, HHS); and Brett Giroir (assistant secretary of health, HHS). Video of the hearing can be found here: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/hearings/review-of-coronavirus-response-efforts

09/16/2020
Report: Failure to Deliver: Harm Caused by U.S. Postmaster General DeJoy’s Changes to Postal Service Mail Delivery
Source: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (minority staff)
Type: Report
Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

The minority staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released an investigative report on the impact of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s operational changes to the postal service’s mail delivery process. Relevant to the Covid-19 pandemic, the report notes that mail delivery delays following DeJoy’s changes exceeded delays that occurred at the outset of the pandemic. The report authors recommended passing the Delivering for America Act, which would prevent DeJoy from instituting any new changes that might disrupt mail delivery. The report also highlighted an increase in Americans’ reliance on USPS to deliver their prescription medications.

09/16/2020
Hearing: Prioritizing Fannie’s and Freddie’s Capital over America’s Homeowners and Renters? A Review of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Financial Services Committee
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on sept. 16, 2020, titled “Prioritizing Fannie’s and Freddie’s Capital over America’s Homeowners and Renters? A Review of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.” The hearing featured testimony from FHFA Director Dr. Mark Calabria.

09/15/2020
Journalist’s Toolbox: Covid-19
Source: Professor Mike Reilley
Type: Tool
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Medical Supplies and PPE, Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Testing, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Updated twice per week, the Journalist’s Toolbox contains thousands of free (and some fee-based) resources organized by beats on more than 150 searchable pages. The Covid-19 Toolbox compiles updates on public Covid-19 data and research outputs, media coverage on various topics related to the pandemic (e.g., school reopenings), and sources for fact-checking and detecting misinformation about Covid-19, among other resources.

Released By

Society of Professional Journalists
09/14/2020
Covid-19 Drugs and Vaccines Tracker
Source: STAT
Type: Tool
Business and Industry, Vaccines and Treatments

STAT developed a Covid-19 treatment and vaccines tracker displaying some of the most frequently discussed efforts to treat or prevent Covid-19, with details on the science, history, and timeline for each endeavor. The tracker, which is continually updated, only captures novel medicines, not repurposed drugs. Therapies and vaccines are sorted in order of how close they could be to approval, starting with treatments in Phase 3 trials, followed by others in Phase 1 studies, and then preclinical development.

09/14/2020
Covid-19 Preparedness Tracker
Source: STAT
Type: Tool
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

Developed in partnership with the Center on Rural Innovation and Applied XL, STAT’s Covid-19 Preparedness Tracker features a dashboard that uses a host of factors — everything from the relative age of the population to the number of nearby hospital beds and staff — to determine which counties are best prepared for an outbreak and which might need more help.

09/13/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Report (Sept. 13, 2020) (Released October 20, 2020)
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Report
Communications Management, Federal Management, State Issues

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis obtained and released six weeks of White House Coronavirus Task Force reports on Oct. 20, 2020. These reports, shared privately with state governments each week but not released to the public, revealed that the White House had long been aware of rising Covid-19 cases nationwide and the need for more testing and mask mandates. In the task force’s Sept. 13 report, 18 states were listed as being in the “red zone” for new Covid-19 cases. The Task Force warned that Wisconsin in particular was seeing an increase in new cases, with sharp increases around the University of Wisconsin campuses. The reports for four of the weeks (Sept. 27, Oct. 4, Oct. 11, and Oct. 18) were originally released by the Center for Public Integrity; those reports are linked on the select subcommittee’s website: https://coronavirus.house.gov/news/press-releases/coronavirus-surges-select-subcommittee-releases-white-house-reports

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and Center for Public Integrity
09/10/2020
Report: Challenges for Consideration in Implementing and Overseeing the CARES Act
Source: Department of Education Inspector General
Type: Report
Education, Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) within the U.S. Department of Education released a management information report providing OIG’s perspective on challenges the department may face as it implements the CARES Act. In preparing this report, OIG reviewed recent audit work performed by OIG and the Government Accountability Office as well as OIG’s annual Management Challenges reports. OIG also reviewed challenges that the Education Department faced when administering grant programs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), to include how the challenges were addressed and what lessons were noted as needing to be considered in the future. OIG identified challenges related to grantee oversight and monitoring, student financial assistance oversight and monitoring, and data quality and reporting that OIG recommended the department should consider as it implements and oversees the CARES Act.

09/10/2020
Pandemic Rollback Tracker: Slashing Safeguards During the Coronavirus
Source: Coalition for Sensible Safeguards
Type: Tool
Federal Management, Political Opportunism

The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards released a “Pandemic Rollback Tracker” documenting regulatory rollbacks by the Trump administration during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the six months since President Trump declared a public health emergency in response to the pandemic, his administration has “repealed at least 30 public protections and proposed at least 20 more rollbacks unrelated to Covid-19,” according to Public Citizen (https://www.citizen.org/news/six-months-after-emergency-declared-trump-has-repealed-more-than-30-public-protections/).

09/10/2020
Transcript: House Oversight Committee Hearing to Extend Statutory Deadlines for the Census Due to Covid-19 Crisis
Source: Rev.com
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Political Opportunism, State and Federal Coordination

Unofficial transcript from the Sept. 10, 2020, House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing “Providing the Census Bureau with the Time to Produce a Complete and Accurate Census.” Witnesses included J. Christopher Mihm (managing director, Strategic Issues Team, GAO), John H. Thompson (former director, Census Bureau, 2013-2017), Stephen Roe Lewis (governor, Gila River Indian Community), Stacey Carless (executive director, NC Counts Coalition), and Hans von Spakovsky (minority witness, senior legal fellow, Heritage Foundation). Video of the hearing can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4OF6jQFfgc&feature=youtu.be

09/09/2020
SBA and Pandemic Loan Fraud
Source: Project on Government Oversight
Type: Documents
Relief Funds and Loans

Internal Small Business Administration (SBA) emails showed the agency enacting key anti-fraud controls in its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program in late July through mid-August after $160 billion had already been disbursed. Emails obtained by Project on Government Oversight cast doubt on SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza’s July 23 statement to the inspector general that SBA was “doing all it can to reduce the risk of fraud on the loan side.”

Released By

Project on Government Oversight
09/09/2020
POGO’s COVID-19 Relief Spending Tracker
Source: USASpending.gov, Treasury, HHS, DOT, SBA, Fed
Type: Tool
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

POGO’s Covid-19 Relief Spending Tracker is a data visualization tool using data analyzed from USASpending.gov and spending disclosure data obtained from the Treasury, HHS, the Transportation Department, the Small Business Administration, and the Federal Reserve to keep track of where relief monies are going. The tracker overlays Covid-19 relief funds with indicators of community need across the U.S., making it easier to identify waste, fraud, and abuse.

Released By

Project on Government Oversight
09/09/2020
Transcript: Senate HELP Hearing on Covid-19 Vaccine Development (Sept. 9, 2020)
Source: Rev.com
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism, Vaccines and Treatments, Vulnerable Populations

Unofficial transcript of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing (Sept. 9, 2020): “Vaccines: Saving Lives, Ensuring Confidence, and Protecting Public Health.” The full-committee hearing featured testimony from Surgeon General Jerome Adams and NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, along with questions from members of the committee.

09/09/2020
Memo: Examination of States’ Preparedness for November Election
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Memorandum
Elections and Campaigns, Political Opportunism, State Issues

Members of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a staff memo detailing their investigation of election preparedness in Texas, Georgia, Florida, and Wisconsin. They examined whether these states were prepared to provide adequate voting by mail, extended early voting, and safe polling places as recommended by the CDC in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The subcommittee found that Texas refused to expand mail-in voting and may face a poll-worker shortage; Georgia reversed its policy of sending absentee ballot applications to all voters, leading to confusion and possible disenfranchisement; Florida has refused to expand early voting or help counties recruit poll workers; and Wisconsin faces a potential poll-worker shortage. The memo followed letters to these states’ governors from Reps. James Clyburn (select subcommittee chairman) and Zoe Lofgren (Chairwoman, Committee on House Administration) seeking information on these states’ plans to eliminate barriers faced by voters and to follow election guidance from the CDC to ensure a free, fair, and safe general election.

09/09/2020
Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic and U.S. Response
Source: Just Security
Type: Tool
Communications Management, Federal Management

Just Security developed a comprehensive timeline of the coronavirus outbreak, its development into a global pandemic, and details about U.S. federal response. The timeline was created on April 13, 2020, but is continually updated. All events included in the timeline are based on publicly accessible information. The timeline also includes events dating back to the Obama-Trump transition, with the outgoing Obama team having run the Trump team through a series of pandemic scenarios (Jan. 13, 2017) in order to familiarize the incoming team with “domestic incident management policy and practices” in the face of major crises.

09/08/2020
Report: Laboratory Safety: FDA Should Strengthen Efforts to Provide Effective Oversight
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Lab Safety had limited authority to conduct investigations and reviews. Notably, hazardous biological agents can threaten FDA’s work and areas of responsibility, as well as its ability to support the development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests. GAO attributed numerous possible factors contributing to the office’s lack of efficacy in performing reviews of FDA labs, including reduced funding under the current administration; its relatively low position on the FDA organizational chart; its inability to conduct unannounced lab inspections; and the fact that the office was created in 2016 but the FDA did not stand it up until 2017.

In 2014, FDA discovered improperly stored boxes of smallpox virus, posing a risk to individuals who might have been exposed. This incident raised concerns about the oversight of FDA’s laboratories conducting research on hazardous biological agents. In 2016, GAO made five recommendations to improve FDA’s laboratory safety, four of which HHS had not fully implemented as of July 2020.

09/08/2020
Memorandum: FHFA-OIG’s Investigation of Allegations of Fraud Affecting PPP Loans Obtained or Sought from FHLBank Member Institutions
Source: Inspector General - Federal Housing Finance Agency
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), at the invitation of the Justice Department, participated in multi-agency investigations into allegations of Paycheck Protection Program loan fraud committed by financial institutions that are members of the Federal Home Loan Bank system. FHFA-OIG issued a memorandum to FHFA with a status report on these investigations. To date, eight individuals had been charged by indictment or complaint with stealing or attempting to steal $60.5 million in PPP funds.

Released By

PRAC
09/08/2020
Memorandum: Early Experiences with Covid-19 at Border Patrol Stations and Ports of Entry
Source: Inspector General - Department of Homeland Security
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Immigration and Border Issues

The DHS Inspector General sent a memorandum to CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan after surveying personnel at CBP facilities from April 22 to May 1, 2020. The 136 Border Patrol stations and 307 Office of Field Operations ports of entry that responded to the survey described various actions taken to prevent and mitigate Covid-19 spread among travelers, detained individuals, and staff, including increased cleaning and disinfecting of common areas as well as availability of PPE and supplies for staff and individuals with whom they come into contact. Facilities reported concerns with their inability to practice social distancing and the risk of exposure to Covid-19 due to the close-contact nature of their work. Regarding staffing, facilities reported decreases in current staff availability due to Covid-19, but had contingency plans to ensure continued operations. The facilities that responded expressed concerns regarding staff availability if there were an outbreak at the facility. Overall, the majority of respondents reported that their facilities were prepared to address Covid-19. No recommendations were made in the memorandum.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
09/08/2020
Report: The Corporate Culprits Receiving Covid Bailouts
Source: Good Jobs First
Type: Report
Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

Using data from Covid Stimulus Watch and Violation Tracker, Good Jobs First determined that more than 43,000 recipients of the grants and loans awarded through the Paycheck Protection Program and other provisions of the CARES Act have been involved in some form of corporate misconduct over the past decade, paying a total of $13 billion in penalties to federal and state regulators. These companies have received $57 billion in grants and $91 billion in loans through the CARES Act.

09/04/2020
Report: Early Experiences With Covid-19 at CBP Border Patrol Stations and OFO Ports of Entry
Source: Department of Homeland Security Inspector General
Type: Report
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general conducted a survey of Border Patrol stations and Office of Field Operations (OFO) ports of entry concerning their experiences handling Covid-19. The report notes that 136 Border Patrol stations and 307 OFO ports of entry responded to the survey describing various actions they had taken to prevent and mitigate the pandemic’s spread among travelers, detained individuals, and staff, including increased cleaning and disinfecting of common areas and PPE for staff, as well as supplies available to those individuals with whom they come into contact. However, facilities reported concerns with their inability to practice social distancing and the risk of exposure to Covid-19 from the close-contact nature of their work. Facilities reported decreases in current staff availability due to Covid-19 but had contingency plans in place to ensure continued operations, and expressed concerns regarding staff availability should there be an outbreak. The majority of respondents reported their facilities were prepared to address Covid-19. The observations, primarily based on survey responses from facilities, provide an early perspective on CBP’s efforts during the pandemic. While the inspector general made no recommendations in its report, it states the report is intended to inform agency decision-makers as they consider additional actions.

09/03/2020
Report: Controls Implemented by the Defense Health Agency to Control Costs for TRICARE Coronavirus Disease
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Department Inspector General audited the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to determine the controls that DHA implemented to control costs for health-care claims related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
09/03/2020
Report: Observations on Contractor Paid Leave Reimbursement Guidance and Use
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

Section 3610 of the CARES Act allows agencies, at their discretion, to reimburse contractors for the cost of paid leave during the Covid-19 pandemic. Normally, if contractors are not working, they are not paid. Between the CARES Act’s passage in March and early July 2020, all the agencies GAO reviewed issued some form of guidance to implement Section 3610. In July, the Office of Management and Budget released guidance to address discrepancies in the agencies’ guidance. So far, most agencies had not reported using Section 3610 much. However, the Defense De3partment indicated that it could receive billions of dollars in reimbursement requests in the future.

09/01/2020
Report: VHA Appointment Management During Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the Veterans Health Administration canceled non-urgent face-to-face appointments and converted some to virtual appointments. The VA Inspector General reviewed VHA’s appointment management strategies and the status of canceled appointments, finding that about 5 million canceled appointments (68 percent) from March 15 through May 1 had evidence of follow-up (e.g., telephone and video appointments) or tracking (e.g., marked for future follow-up in the VA’s scheduling system). However, the IG found that 2.3 million cancellations (32 percent) had no indication of follow-up or tracking at the time of review. The IG also found other problems, including inconsistencies with which VHA guidance on the matter (which changed over time) was applied in facilities. The IG suggested that VHA coordinate a well-defined rescheduling strategy with all facilities so that patients did not fall through the cracks, among other recommendations.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
09/01/2020
Preliminary Analysis of Paycheck Protection Program Data
Source: Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released its preliminary analysis of data from the Paycheck Protection Program, finding billions in PPP loans could have been subject to fraud, waste, or abuse. Key findings: More than $1 billion in loans went to companies that received multiple loans; more than $96 million went to companies prohibited from doing business with the government; $195 million went to government contractors with performance/integrity issues; the System for Award Management database red-flagged $2.98 billion in loans; the SBA and the Treasury approved hundreds of applications missing key identifying info about the borrower.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
09/01/2020
Testimony: Mnuchin at Select Subcommittee Hearing on Sept. 1, 2020
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

In his testimony at a hybrid hearing held by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin stated that the economy had not yet recovered from the pandemic and that he was “concerned” about the expiration of enhanced unemployment insurance. Mnuchin said he agreed with the “idea of providing money for rental assistance” and acknowledged that state and local governments needed additional funding, that more oversight is needed for PPP, and that the hardest-hit areas and communities needed greater support.

08/31/2020
Report: USPS Processing Readiness of Election and Political Mail During 2020 Elections
Source: Inspector General - U.S. Postal Service
Type: Report
Elections and Campaigns, Federal Management

The U.S. Postal Service Inspector General evaluated USPS’s readiness for timely processing of mail ahead of the 2020 elections. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was an expected increase in the number of Americans voting by mail. The IG conducted its audit during the special and primary elections held in May and June 2020 by reviewing operations at Processing and Distribution Centers that were processing mail for a special or primary election (Santa Clarita, Portland, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Charleston, Brooklyn, and Oklahoma City). The evaluation did not cover operational changes made by the postmaster general in August 2020. The report detailed the ways in which the seven centers reviewed did not always comply with election and political mail readiness procedures.

Released By

PRAC
08/31/2020
Report: Remote Inspection of Federal Bureau of Prisons Contract Correctional Institution McRae, Operated by CoreCivic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Justice Department Inspector General conducted a remote inspection of Correctional Institution McRae, operated by CoreCivic in McRae-Helena, Ga., between April 28 and May 22, 2020, to better understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the facility and to assess the steps officials took to prepare for, prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission within the facility. At the time of the IG’s fieldwork, 1 inmates had tested positive for Covid-19 and one had died. As of Aug. 4, an additional seven inmates had tested positive; no additional inmates had died as a result of the virus.

Released By

PRAC
08/31/2020
Report: Remote Inspection of Federal Bureau of Prisons Contract Correctional Institution Moshannon Valley, Operated by Geo Group
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Vulnerable Populations

The Justice Department Inspector General conducted a remote inspection of Correctional Institution Moshannon Valley, operated by Geo Group, to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the prison and to assess the steps Moshannon officials took to prepare for, prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission within the prison. At the time of the IG’s fieldwork, between April 27 and May 20, no inmates had tested positive for Covid-19. As of Aug. 4, there were still no inmate cases, but there were two staff cases of Covid-19.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Justice
08/31/2020
Report: Remote Inspection of Federal Bureau of Prisons Contractor Dalby Correctional Institution, Operated by Management & Training Corp.
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Vulnerable Populations

The Justice Department Inspector General conducted a remote inspection of Correctional Institution Giles W. Dalby (Dalby), operated by Management & Training Corporation (MTC) and located in Post, Tex., to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the prison and to assess the steps Dalby officials took to prepare for, prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission within the prison. At the time of the IG’s fieldwork — between April 29 and June 9 — Dalby had no positive Covid-19 cases. However, after the completion of the IG’s fieldwork, the IG learned that four Dalby inmates tested positive on June 22. As of Aug. 4, 83 Dalby inmates had tested positive, eight had active cases, 74 had recovered, and one had died.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
08/31/2020
Brief Update on Initial Federal Response to Pandemic
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Government Accountability Office issued a report on oversight of some aspects of the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic. They found that federal obligations totaled $1.5 trillion and expenditures totaled $1.3 trillion, as of June 30, and between Jan. 1 and June 30, about 125,000 more deaths occurred from all causes than would normally be expected.

08/27/2020
Report: Alleged Deficiencies in Management of Staff Exposure to a Patient with Covid-19 at the VA Portland Health Care System
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The VA Inspector General investigated the validity of allegations related to the management of staff exposure to a patient diagnosed with Covid-19 at the VA Portland Medical Center in Oregon. The patient was the facility’s first Covid-19 patient. The IG’s findings did not substantiate the claim that emergency department staff failed to notify imaging department staff that a patient suspecting of having Covid-19 had been sent to the imaging department; at the time of the patient’s transport, emergency department staff had not identified suspicion of Covid-19. The IG report noted that emergency staff failed to alert imaging staff of the patient’s potential influenza. The IG’s findings did not substantiate the claim that imaging department supervisors failed to promptly and properly notify staff who had contact with the patient. However, the IG identified missteps in the facility’s processes when responding to staff exposure to Covid-19 and made five recommendations to the VA Portland Medical Center director related to communicating infection control precautions prior to transfer, management of staff with exposure to high-consequence infections, and inclusion of a detailed staff exposure management process in relevant facility policies.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs

Records

<a href=”https://www.oversight.gov/sites/default/files/oig-reports/VAOIG-20-02240-248.pdf“>Click here to view or download the file.</a>

08/27/2020
Report: Alleged Deficiencies in Management of Staff Exposure to a Patient with Covid-19 at the VA Portland Health Care System
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The VA Inspector General investigated the validity of allegations related to the management of staff exposure to a patient diagnosed with Covid-19 at the VA Portland Medical Center in Oregon. The patient was the facility’s first Covid-19 patient. The IG’s findings did not substantiate the claim that emergency department staff failed to notify imaging department staff that a patient suspecting of having Covid-19 had been sent to the imaging department; at the time of the patient’s transport, emergency department staff had not identified suspicion of Covid-19. The IG report noted that emergency staff failed to alert imaging staff of the patient’s potential influenza. The IG’s findings did not substantiate the claim that imaging department supervisors failed to promptly and properly notify staff who had contact with the patient. However, the IG identified missteps in the facility’s processes when responding to staff exposure to Covid-19 and made five recommendations to the VA Portland Medical Center director related to communicating infection control precautions prior to transfer, management of staff with exposure to high-consequence infections, and inclusion of a detailed staff exposure management process in relevant facility policies.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
08/27/2020
Report: Alleged Deficiencies in Management of Staff Exposure to a Patient with Covid-19 at the VA Portland Health Care System
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The VA Inspector General investigated the validity of allegations related to the management of staff exposure to a patient diagnosed with Covid-19 at the VA Portland Medical Center in Oregon. The patient was the facility’s first Covid-19 patient. The IG’s findings did not substantiate the claim that emergency department staff failed to notify imaging department staff that a patient suspecting of having Covid-19 had been sent to the imaging department; at the time of the patient’s transport, emergency department staff had not identified suspicion of Covid-19. The IG report noted that emergency staff failed to alert imaging staff of the patient’s potential influenza. The IG’s findings did not substantiate the claim that imaging department supervisors failed to promptly and properly notify staff who had contact with the patient. However, the IG identified missteps in the facility’s processes when responding to staff exposure to Covid-19 and made five recommendations to the VA Portland Medical Center director related to communicating infection control precautions prior to transfer, management of staff with exposure to high-consequence infections, and inclusion of a detailed staff exposure management process in relevant facility policies.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
08/26/2020
Report: Women Faced Greater Economic Hurt and Job Losses During COVID-19
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Vulnerable Populations

Accountable.us found that women workers have been disproportionately impacted by economic challenges and job losses as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. One in three jobs held by women have been deemed “essential” during the crisis, but no federal hazard pay has been approved to support these workers. Accountable.us noted that up to 90 percent of minority and women-owned businesses were shut out of the Paycheck Protection Program; of those who managed to receive PPP assistance, Accountable.us found that less than 0.5 percent went to Black woman-owned businesses, as compared to the 70 percent that went to businesses owned by white men. Moreover, the burden of child care fell disproportionately on women; women were 4 to 5 times more likely to leave work or reduce their hours during the pandemic as child care shifted to the home.

Released By

Accountable.us
08/25/2020
Report: Did CARES Act Benefits Reach Vulnerable Americans?
Source: Brookings Institution
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The Brookings Institution analyzed data from the nationally-representative Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey to assess whether CARES Act monies were reaching the most vulnerable Americans. The survey was administered by the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis to roughly 5,500 households between April 29 and May 20, 2020, and found that, compared with white respondents, racial minorities were much more likely to experience Economic Impact Payment (EIP) delays. For example, Black households were 8 percent more likely and Hispanic households 11 percent more likely to experience a delay. Other findings included: Men were more likely than women to experience a delay; the probability of experiencing a delay decreased as respondents’ age increased; full-time self-employed and part-time wage-and-salary (i.e., not self-employed) respondents were more likely to experience a delay than full-time wage-and-salary respondents; very low-income (less than $10,000 in 2019) households were more likely to experience delays than those with higher incomes; those without bank accounts and those with low levels of liquid assets were much more likely to experience delays. Specifically, those without bank accounts were 20 percentage points more likely to be waiting for payment than those with bank accounts; respondents who had not filed their 2019 taxes were 18 percentage points more likely to still be waiting for a payment than those who had filed their 2019 taxes; and homeowners were less likely to still be waiting for their payment than those who rented or had some other living situation, among other findings.

08/24/2020
How Ukrainian Oligarch’s Companies Got Paycheck Protection Program Loans
Source: Project on Government Oversight
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Project on Government Oversight found that coal companies controlled by a Ukrainian billionaire — one of convicted felon Paul Manafort’s “paymasters” and an owner of two $200 million-plus homes — ended up getting $21 million in U.S. taxpayer assistance meant to help cash-starved small businesses.

Released By

Project on Government Oversight
08/21/2020
Interim Report: Postmaster General DeJoy’s Postal Service Delays
Source: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (minority staff)
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Political Opportunism, Vulnerable Populations

Interim report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs minority staff detailing the impacts of operational changes and mail delays initiated by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. On Aug. 6, 2020, Sen. Gary Peters, ranking member of HSGAC, launched an investigation into USPS mail delivery delays resulting from changes made by DeJoy, including the elimination of extra mail transportation trips, the reduction of overtime for USPS workers, the start of a pilot program for mail sorting and delivery policies at hundreds of post offices, and the reduction of equipment at mail processing plants. Peters noted in July to DeJoy that these changes slowed mail delivery and compromised service for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and others who rely on the mail for medicines, essential goods, voting, correspondence, and for their livelihoods, which has increased during the pandemic. The interim report finds that USPS’s changes have exacerbated problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

08/21/2020
Fourth Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The fourth report of the Congressional Oversight Commission provided an in-depth analysis of the Main Street Lending Program.

08/20/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Reports on ‘Red Zone’ States Compiled by Center for Public Integrity
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Report
Communications Management, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

The Center for Public Integrity collected and published White House Coronavirus Task Force Reports detailing the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in all 50 states dating back to June 23, 2020. The Center for Public Integrity noted that the task force provided weekly reports to governors about the state of the pandemic, along with county-level data and recommendations for mitigating the spread of the virus, but does not make these reports public. It is also unclear whether governors receiving these weekly reports share them with local elected officials or state or local health departments. The repository, which is regularly updated, contains individual state reports acquired by the Center for Public Integrity and compilations of state reports acquired by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

Released By

Center for Public Integrity
08/19/2020
Disparity in PPP Loans Between Wealthy and Poor Congressional Districts
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

Accountable.us released a report showing that the poorest congressional districts were shortchanged by the Paycheck Protection Program. The 10 poorest congressional districts received more than 56,600 fewer PPP loans than the 10 wealthiest districts — amounting to a $13.3 billion gulf.

Released By

Accountable.us
08/14/2020
Report: OSHA Needs to Improve Its Handling of Whistleblower Complaints During the Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Labor Department Inspector General conducted an audit of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Whistleblower Program. As part of the first phase of the OIG’s Pandemic Oversight Response Plan, the IG investigated the impact Covid-19 whistleblower complaints have had on OSHA, and how the agency has addressed these complaints. The IG found that the pandemic has significantly increased the number of whistleblower complaints received by OSHA. The agency had struggled to complete investigations in a timely manner before the pandemic created the potential for even greater delays. The IG audit found that while the number of whistleblower complaints had increased, the program’s full-time staff had decreased. Depending on the region, investigators reported the number of open investigations ranged from 19 to 45 in 2020. The IG’s report detailed the potential consequences of OSHA failing to respond to whistleblower reports in a timely manner, including the potential for workers to suffer emotionally and financially, and for evidence to dissipate.

Released By

PRAC
08/14/2020
Memorandum: Forest Service’s Wildland Fire Response Plans
Source: Inspector General - Department of Agriculture
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, State Issues

The USDA Inspector General wrote a memorandum on the Forest Service’s Wildland Fire Response Plans (WFRP), which were developed in order to more safely and effectively combat wildland fires during the Covid-19 pandemic. In reviewing the WFRP and developing their comments, the IG also considered guidance issued by various health organizations, including CDC, OSHA, and the World Health Organization. The memo, sent to the Forest Service, identified certain processes and procedures that could enhance the Forest Service’s ability to more safely and effectively combat wildland fires during the pandemic and enhance the ability of other federal, state, and local wildland fire agencies to use the WFRPs. A response from the Forest Service followed the IG’s memorandum.

Released By

Inspector General - Department of Agriculture
08/14/2020
Report: The Economic Impact of Coronavirus Response Funds
Source: Office of Management and Budget
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Pursuant to the CARES Act, the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the Treasury, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Small Business Administration, issued its first quarterly report to Congress and the public on the economic impact of Covid-19 relief funds. OMB found that the CARES Act and other response funds substantially improved economic growth and reduced unemployment. OMB acknowledged that while there is no conclusive study on the CARES Act’s total impact, the body of current evidence suggested that the combined effects of job retention and income support staved off much larger declines in output and employment.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
08/11/2020
Interactive Tool: Lost on the Frontline
Source: The Guardian and Kaiser Health News
Type: Tool
Medical Supplies and PPE, Vulnerable Populations

The Guardian and Kaiser Health News launched an interactive, public-facing database that aimed to count and honor every U.S. health-care worker who died after contracting Covid-19 on the job. These workers include physicians, nurses, paramedics, nursing home staff, and hospital food-service workers and cleaning staff. By tracking factors such as race and ethnicity, age, profession, location, and whether the workers had adequate access to PPE, the database aims to provide insight into the U.S. health-care system during the pandemic.

08/11/2020
Tool: Lost on the Frontline
Source: The Guardian and Kaiser Health News
Type: Tool
Medical Supplies and PPE, Vulnerable Populations

The Guardian and Kaiser Health News launched an interactive, public-facing database that aimed to count and honor every U.S. health-care worker who died after contracting Covid-19 on the job. These workers include physicians, nurses, paramedics, nursing home staff, and hospital food-service workers and cleaning staff. By tracking factors such as race and ethnicity, age, profession, location, and whether the workers had adequate access to PPE, the database aims to provide insight into the U.S. health-care system during the pandemic.

08/09/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Report (Aug. 9, 2020)
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Documents
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

The White House Coronavirus Task Force’s August 9, 2020, report (released on Aug. 31). The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis noted that the report’s contents contradict public statements by the White House and include confirmed cases and deaths (both per 100,000), total tests (per 100,000), and positivity rate. The task force noted that 48 states and Washington, DC, were in either the red or yellow zones; Indiana was highlighted as needing mitigation efforts, testing, and contact tracing to be implemented aggressively.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
08/07/2020
Report: Covid-19: WHD Needs to Closely Monitor the Pandemic Impact on its Operations
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Labor Department Inspector General audited the Wage and Hour Division’s (WHD) initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The IG reviewed the extent to which Covid-19 has affected WHD’s ability to implement its Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) responsibilities and conduct investigations, and what plans and guidance WHD has developed to address challenges encountered. The IG’s report noted that the pandemic posed challenges in conducting enforcement activities, while maximizing telework and maintaining social distancing. The IG’s office noted that while WHD’s efforts should help control the spread of Covid-19, these practices have also reduced or eliminated on-site investigations, which impacts WHD’s oversight of the FFCRA, as well as its existing programs, most notably those related to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
08/07/2020
Report: More Can Be Done to Mitigate Risk to Unemployment Compensation Under the CARES Act
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Department of Labor’s Inspector General conducted a performance audit to assess whether the department’s Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) initial implementation of the CARES Act unemployment insurance (UI) provisions were sufficient to mitigate the risk of fraud, waste, and abuse. The IG found that while the ETA implemented CARES Act UI provisions in a timely fashion, additional guidance could better assist states in mitigating the risk of fraud. The IG noted that on May 26, 2020, its office had issued a memorandum highlighting the risk of fraud in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, given its reliance on self-certification; in response, ETA agreed to engage Congress on additional fraud prevention and program integrity measures. The IG also found that ETA could do more to ensure adequate program assessment and reporting; ETA did not include CARES Act UI programs in its program assessments, despite these programs costing an estimated $260 billion. Lastly, the IG made four recommendations to ETA to improve management oversight of the UI program provisions. In response, ETA agreed to three out of the four recommendations.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
08/07/2020
Testimony from Aug. 7 Hearing on Main Street Lending Program
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Relief Funds and Loans

The Congressional Oversight Commission held a hearing to examine the Main Street Lending Program established by the Federal Reserve pursuant to the CARES Act.

08/06/2020
Trump Administration Abuses Thwart U.S. Pandemic Response
Type: Report
Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

The Brennan Center tracked Trump administration attacks on government science, ethical violations, and other abuses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

The Brennan Center
08/05/2020
Report: Architect of the Capitol Status of CARES Act Funding
Source: Inspector General - Architect of the Capitol
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) Inspector General reviewed AOC’s disbursement and use of CARES Act funds.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
08/05/2020
Report: Observations on Amtrak’s Use of CARES Act Funds
Source: Inspector General - Amtrak
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Amtrak Inspector General assessed how the company is using CARES Act funds, and the controls it had in place to accurately account for and report on them. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Amtrak experience a sharp drop in ridership and passenger revenues. The company responded using aggressive cost-cutting actions like canceling some of its train service and reducing management pay and retirement benefits. Despite these moves, Amtrak projected that revenues would still not cover its reduced costs and requested assistance from Congress, which was delivered through the CARES Act and provided the company with a little over $1 billion. The IG reported that Amtrak’s initial steps to use, account for, and report on CARES Act funds were encouraging, and that the the company appeared committed to providing transparency and demonstrating fiscal responsibility over its use of these funds. The IG identified three additional areas Amtrak could focus on, including: providing more transparent data on how changes in service would affect state costs and help states as they develop their own budgets; providing more timely verification of pandemic-related expenses in order to help demonstrate that the company is being a responsible steward of taxpayer funds; and ensuring that adequate controls are in place to safeguard scarce pandemic-related materials and equipment throughout all links in the supply chain.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
08/03/2020
Report: Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery Initial Report to Congress
Source: Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

Under the CARES Act, the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) conducts, supervises, and coordinates audits and investigations of the making, purchase, management, and sale of loans, loan guarantees, and other investments by the Treasury secretary under any program established under Division A of the CARES Act, as well as the management by the secretary of any program established under Division A of the CARES Act. SIGPR’s initial report, submitted within 60 days of IG Brian Miller’s confirmation, detailed information about the Treasury’s loan programs and investments under the CARES Act, data regarding which entities have received those loans and investments, the current status of those transactions, and other relevant information. The report also detailed SIGPR’s understanding of the jurisdictional contours for each of the entities assigned a major oversight role by the CARES Act. Additionally, the report included recommendations based on SIGPR’s first 60 days of research, outreach, and analysis.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
08/02/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Report (Aug. 2, 2020)
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Documents
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

The White House Coronavirus Task Force’s Aug. 2, 2020 report (released Aug. 31). The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis noted that the report’s contents contradict public statements by the White House. The report captures information including confirmed cases and deaths (both per 100,000), total tests (per 100,000), and positivity rate. In this report, the Task Force noted that 23 states were in the “red zone”; widespread transmission from rural to urban areas was occurring in Louisiana; an aggressive continuation of mitigation efforts would need to occur in South Carolina to control spread across the state; and the virus was spreading deeper into rural Oklahoma.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
07/31/2020
Report: EPA OIG’s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General - Environmental Protection Agency
Type: Report
Federal Management

The EPA Inspector General issued a report reviewing how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the EPA Office of the Inspector Generla’s programs and operations. The report discussed actual and potential subjects for audits and evaluations, recently published pandemic-related reports and projects, and potential future investigation targets.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/31/2020
Report: CARES Act Funds for DOI’s Wildland Fire Management Program as of June 19, 2020
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department’s Inspector General published a “flash report” briefly detailing how the Wildland Fire Management Program has spent its CARES Act funds.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/31/2020
Report: Failures in Contract Management and Inept Negotiation Denied Americans Ventilators and Squandered Up to $504 Million
Source: House Committee on Oversight and Reform
Type: Report
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

The Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy released a staff report detailing the Trump Administration’s failures to supply ventilators during the coronavirus crisis and the squandering of more than $500 million in taxpayer funds.

07/31/2020
Hearing: The Urgent Need for a National Plan to Contain the Coronavirus
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hearing with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield, and Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services Admiral Brett Giroir.

07/30/2020
Congressional Districts With Highest Percentage Of Black Residents Shortchanged By Paycheck Protection Program
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

Accountable.us found that recent data and reports on the PPP program have shown its failure to sufficiently aid minority-owned businesses. The Center for Responsible Lending estimates that 90 percent “of businesses owned by people of color have been, or will likely be, shut out of the Paycheck Protection Program.” And overall, only 12 percent of black and Latino business owners have received relief requested from SBA programs, including PPP, after applying.

07/29/2020
Observations on Federal Contracting in Response to the Pandemic
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, Medical Supplies and PPE

Federal agencies awarded $17.8 billion in contracts as of mid-June 2020 for critical goods and services supporting responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. The GAO found that the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Defense, and Veterans Affairs accounted for 85 percent of the money awarded in contracts. About $11 billion was awarded in contracts for goods — e.g., ventilators, gowns, and N95 respirators — to treat coronavirus patients and protect health-care workers. The agencies awarded about $9.4 billion in contracts without competition, often citing urgency as the reason.

07/28/2020
Report: Where’s the Money? DOI’s Use of CARES Act Funds as of June 30, 2020
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department’s Inspector General published a brief “flash report” detailing the amount of money the agency received from the CARES Act, its expenditures as of June 30, 2020, and its obligations to date, among other information.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/28/2020
Report: Covid-19: ETA Should Continue to Closely Monitor Impact on Job Corps Program
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Labor Department Inspector General audited the Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) initial response to challenges to the Job Corps program posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Job Corps temporarily suspended operations on its campuses on March 16, 2020, and transported nearly 30,000 students to their homes or found them housing. Fifty-five centers remained open to house and feed 445 students who had nowhere to go. Between March 16 and May 31, four of these students tested positive for Covid-19, while 35 staff tested positive while actively working. Job Corps transitioned all centers to remote learning on May 11 in order to continue educating and training students. However, not all students had a laptop, tablet, or even internet access to participate in remote learning. The IG made recommendations focused on protecting the health of students and staff currently at centers, ensuring both centers and remote students have the necessary resources to engage in a virtual learning environment, and ensuring centers have the proper controls in place to adhere to national safety guidance prior to reopening their campuses.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/28/2020
Serious Concerns of Potential Fraud in EIDL Program Pertaining to the Response to COVID-19
Source: Small Business Association Inspector General
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General (OIG) issued a management alert on July 28, 2020, to inform the agency of strong indicators of widespread potential fraud in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance grant programs.

OIG received complaints of more than 5,000 instances of suspected fraud from financial institutions receiving economic injury loan deposits. Nine financial institutions reported a combined total of $187.3 million in suspected fraudulent transactions.

Additionally, OIG found indications of deficiencies with internal controls related to disaster assistance for the pandemic, and found $250 million in economic injury loans and advance grants given to potentially ineligible recipients and $45.6 million in potentially duplicate payments.

07/27/2020
Report: Oversight by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of Compliance with Forbearance Requirements Under CARES Act and Implementing Guidance by Mortgage Servicers
Source: Inspector General - Federal Housing Finance Agency
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency Inspector General published a report providing information about oversight by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (collectively referred to as “the Enterprises”) over mortgage servicers’ compliance with Section 4022 of the CARES Act and implementing guidance. The IG revealed that neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac viewed testing whether its servicers comply with legal and regulatory requirements as part of its responsibilities. Moreover, national surveys conducted by one enterprise suggested that a significant number of homeowners were not aware of the option of mortgage forbearance, and that media reports stated that some servicers may have provided inaccurate advice to homeowners about repayment options. The IG also found that in a few cases, information on some servicers’ websites appeared to be inaccurate and contradicted the CARES Act requirements or FHFA and enterprise guidance.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/26/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Report (July 26, 2020)
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Documents
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

The White House Coronavirus Task Force’s July 26, 2020, report (released Aug. 31). The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis noted that the report’s contents contradict public statements by the White House. The report captures information including confirmed cases and deaths (both per 100,000), total tests (per 100,000), and positivity rate. In this report, the task force noted that 22 states were in the “red zone,” and that Georgia continued to see wide community spread without signs of improvement.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
07/24/2020
Report: Covid-19: MSHA Faces Multiple Challenges in Responding to the Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Report
Business and Industry

The Labor Department Inspector General conducted an audit to determine what plans and guidance the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) developed to address coronavirus-related challenges, and to what extent these challenges affected MSHA’s ability to protect the safety of miners and its workforce. The IG identified MSHA’s challenges in enforcing guidance around social distancing, and completing mandatory inspections and ensuring the safety of its inspectors. The IG’s audit also revealed shortages of PPE. The reported included recommendations, including for MHSA to monitor the potential backlog of suspended and reduced enforcement activities and develop a plan to manage the backlog once full operations resume. The IG also recommended that MHSA monitor Covid-19 outbreaks at mines and use that information to reevaluate its decision not to issue an emergency temporary standard.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/24/2020
Congressional Briefing: Looked Over and Left Behind: How the Administration’s Failed Coronavirus Response Has Hurt Native Students
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Congressional Briefing
Education, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor held a briefing to examine the impact of Covid-19 on the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and tribally controlled schools, and how the federal government has failed to serve native students. The briefing included testimony from Darrick Franklin (program manager, Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education) and Kevin Allis (CEO, National Congress of American Indians).

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
07/23/2020
Report: Remote Inspection of Federal Correctional Complex Lompoc
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Justice Department’s Inspector General conducted a remote inspection of Federal Correctional Complex Lompoc between April 23 and May 1, 2020, to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the complex and to assess the steps Lompoc officials took to prepare for, prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission within its facilities. Among the key findings from the inspection, the IG determined that Lompoc’s initial Covid-19 screening process was not fully effective; it identified two staff members who came to work in late March after experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, but whose symptoms were not detected in the screening process to preclude them from working. Additionally, Lompoc staff did not seek to test or isolate an inmate who reported on March 22 that he began having coronavirus-like symptoms two days earlier, and who was examined on four separate days between March 22 and 26 (the local hospital tested the inmate for Covid-19 on March 27, and his results came back positive on March 30).

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/23/2020
Report: Remote Inspection of Federal Correctional Complex Tucson
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Justice Department Inspector General conducted a remote inspection of BOP’s Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) Tucson between April 27 and June 8, 2020, to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the complex and to assess the steps FCC Tucson officials took to prepare for, prevent, and manage Covid-19 transmission within its facilities. The report highlighted several findings, including that FCC Tucson implemented a precautionary 14-day quarantine for incoming inmates before it was required by BOP guidance. Moreover, FCC Tucson limited staff movement within its facilities before the BOP instructed facilities to do so. Unlike other BOP institutions, FCC Tucson was not experiencing a staffing shortage; having sufficient staff allowed it to more easily separate its rosters and assign staff to a single institution, thereby limiting possible staff cross-contamination. Additionally, the IG found that the only FCC Tucson staff member to test positive for Covid-19 at the time of the inspection had not been in the institution for several weeks prior to the positive test, reducing the chance of spreading the virus.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/22/2020
MIT Evaluation of the Paycheck Protection Program
Source: ADP
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

MIT economists evaluated the PPP program using administrative payroll data from ADP and found that while the PPP saved more than 2 million jobs, the cost of saving those jobs was more than $200,000 per job.

Released By

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
07/21/2020
Report: Addressing the Other Covid Crisis: Corruption
Source: Brookings Institution
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response, Relief Funds and Loans

Aryah Mellman and Norm Eisen at Brookings detail the challenges faced by oversight entities in preventing corruption in the Covid-19 relief efforts.

07/20/2020
The Third Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The third report of the Congressional Oversight Commission found that the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program had done very little, and had issued just a single $12 million loan as of July 20, 2020.

07/20/2020
The Third Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The third report of the Congressional Oversight Commission found that the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program had done very little, and had issued just a single $12 million loan as of July 20, 2020.

07/19/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Report (July 19, 2020)
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Documents
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

The White House Coronavirus Task Force’s July 19, 2020, report (released Aug. 31). The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis notes that the report’s contents contradict public statements by the White House. The report captures information including confirmed cases and deaths (both per 100,000), total tests (per 100,000), and positivity rate. In this report, the task force noted that 20 states were in the “red zone,” and that South Carolina in particular was seeing broad community spread across the state.

Released By

Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
07/16/2020
Report: Review of Veterans Health Administration’s Covid-19 Response and Continued Pandemic Readiness
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management

The VA Inspector General reviewed the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) plan (“COVID-19 Response Plan
Incident-specific Annex to the VHA High Consequence Infection (HCI) Base Plan”) to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on veterans, their families, and staff charged with caring for them, on March 23, 2020. This report outlines VHA’s continued response to the pandemic and provides VHA leaders’ descriptions of the evolving challenges they faced in caring for veterans and potentially non-veterans as well. The report follows a March 26 IG report (“OIG Inspection of Veterans Health Administration Covid-19 Screening and Pandemic Readiness”) detailing an evaluation conducted on processes related to screening, facility entry restrictions, and overall facility readiness. For this report, the IG continued to monitor VHA’s readiness; IG staff engaged VHA leaders from 70 selected facilities in discussions about patient-care services provided from March 11 through June 15, 2020, in three clinical settings: inpatient (acute care) and outpatient care, community care, and community living centers (CLCs).

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/14/2020
Memo: American Samoa Uses of Coronavirus Relief Fund Payment
Source: Inspector General - Treasury Department
Type: Memorandum
Relief Funds and Loans, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

The Treasury Department Inspector General wrote a memorandum to Ueligitone Tonumaipea, director of American Samoa’s Treasury Department, discussing CARES Act funds for American Samoa. The memo discussed the funds dispersed, how the funds have been used, and whether those funds have been used appropriately.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/14/2020
Report: CARES Act Flash Report: Bureau of Indian Education Snapshot
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The Department of the Interior Inspector General published a “flash report” briefly detailing the Bureau of Indian Education’s plans to spend its CARES Act funds.

07/14/2020
FEMA’s Role in the Response and Related Challenges
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

Statement of Chris P. Currie, the director of homeland security and justice, before the House Committee on Homeland Security.

07/14/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Report (July 14, 2020)
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Documents
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

The White House Coronavirus Task Force’s July 14, 2020, report released Aug. 31). The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis noted that the report’s contents contradict public statements by the White House. The report captures information including confirmed cases and deaths (both per 100,000), total tests (per 100,000), and positivity rate. In this report, the task force noted that 19 states were in the “red zone,” and that Georgia in particular was facing record numbers of new cases in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
07/09/2020
Interim Report: Review of the Office of Justice Programs’ Administration of CARES Act Funding
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Justice Department Inspector General conducted a preliminary review of the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) administration of CARES Act funding. The IG assessed OJP’s efforts to distribute award funding in a timely and efficient manner, and reviewed pre-award activities to determine whether awards were made in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and other guidelines. The IG noted that the office’s preliminary work indicated that OJP’s administration efforts over CARES Act funding appeared effective and appropriate as of May 29, 2020. However, the IG report stated that OJP’s Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) grant program monitoring strategy could benefit from oversight protocols that considered factors such as whether recipient communities were in areas with few positive Covid-19 test results or deaths. Further, the IG recommended that OJP consider notifying the CESF recipient community, on a regular basis, of fraud schemes targeting CARES Act funds.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
07/09/2020
Federal Reserve Reports to Congress on Lending Facilities in Response to Covid-19
Source: Federal Reserve
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Federal Reserve filed these reports to Congress pursuant to section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act concerning the lending facilities established by the Board.

07/08/2020
ProPublica PPP Loan Database
Source: Small Business Administration
Type: Tool
Relief Funds and Loans

Search ProPublica’s database of PPP loans.

Released By

ProPublica
07/07/2020
COVID Stimulus Watch
Source: Good Jobs First
Type: Tool
Relief Funds and Loans

This tool from Good Jobs First tracks Covid-19 stimulus payments.

Released By

Good Jobs First
07/06/2020
Explore the SBA Data on Businesses that Received PPP Loans
Source: Small Business Administration
Type: Tool
Relief Funds and Loans

The Washington Post provided a tool for exploring borrower data on 660,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans administered by the Small Business Administration and the Department of the Treasury.

Released By

Washington Post
07/05/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Report (July 5, 2020)
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Documents
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

The White House Coronavirus Task Force’s July 5, 2020, report (released Aug. 31). The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis noted that the report’s contents contradict public statements by the White House. The Task Force’s report captures information including confirmed cases and deaths (both per 100,000), total tests (per 100,000), and positivity rate. In this report, the task force noted that 15 states were in the “red zone,” and that Florida in particular was seeing a “significant increase” in new cases.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
07/01/2020
Report: Characteristics of People Receiving Regular Unemployment Benefits in July 2020
Source: Congressional Budget Office
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

In response to a request from the House Ways and Means Committee, the Congressional Budget Office projected the characteristics of some groups that will receive unemployment benefits during July 2020.

Released By

House Ways and Means Committee
06/30/2020
Report: Interim Results of the 2020 Filing Season: Effect of Covid-19 Shutdown on Tax Processing and Customer Service Operations and Assessment of Efforts to Implement Legislative Provisions
Source: Inspector General - Department of the Treasury
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Treasury Inspector General published an interim report detailing an audit initiated to provide information related to the impact of Covid-19 on the 2020 tax filing season. The overall objective of the review was to evaluate whether the IRS timely and accurately processed individual paper and electronically filed tax returns in a timely fashion during the 2020 filing season. The IG plans to issue the final results of their analysis later in 2020. The interim report also included discussion of Economic Impact Payments, which the IRS began issuing on April 10, 2020; as a result of these efforts, the IRS has issued more than 157 million payments totaling more than $264 billion as of May 21. The IG’s office found that IRS correctly computed the payment amount for approximately 98 percent of the more than 157 million payments issued. However, the IG also found that some payments were erroneous: the IRS issued 1.2 million payments (less than 1 percent) to prisoners and deceased individuals during the aforementioned time period.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/30/2020
Hearing: Update on Progress Toward Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School
Source: Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Business and Industry

Testimony of NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, Assistant HHS Director Brett Giroir, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn at June 30, 2020, at Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing.

06/29/2020
Memorandum: EPA’s Initial Implementation of CARES Act Section 3610 Report
Source: Inspector General - Environmental Protection Agency
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The EPA Inspector General conducted a review to determine what guidance EPA provided to its contracting personnel and contractors on how the agency planned to implement Section 3610 of the CARES Act.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/29/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Report (June 29, 2020)
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Documents
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

The White House Coronavirus Task Force’s June 29, 2020, report (released Aug. 31). The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis noted that the report’s contents contradict public statements by the White House. The report captures information including confirmed cases and deaths (both per 100,000), total tests (per 100,000), and positivity rate. In this report, the task force noted that ten states were in the “red zone,” with “significant” increases in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
06/26/2020
Testimony: Opportunities to Improve Federal Response and Recovery Efforts
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Relief Funds and Loans

Testimony of Gene L. Dodaro, U.S. comptroller general, before the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

06/26/2020
Report: Three Statistics that Show the Trump Administration’s Failure on the Paycheck Protection Program and What to Do Next
Source: Accountable.us
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

Accountable.us filed an early report on the efficacy of the Paycheck Protection Program, showing the program failed to protect many small business — especially minority-owned businesses.

Released By

Accountable.us
06/25/2020
Report: The Office of Insular Affairs Took Appropriate Action with CARES Act Funds
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department Inspector General published a CARES Act “flash report” briefly discussing how the department’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) spent CARES Act funds. The IG found that OIA has taken prompt and immediate action in its allocation of CARES Act funds to Insular Area governments.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/25/2020
Report: The National Park Service’s Coronavirus Response Operating Plans
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Department of the Interior Inspector General released a CARES Act “flash report” discussing the National Park Service’s Covid-19 operating plans.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/25/2020
Report: Lessons Learned for Indian Country
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Vulnerable Populations

The Department of the Interior Inspector General published a CARES Act “flash report” detailing the amount of CARES Act funding the department will allocate to Indian Country through grants to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education. The report noted that as of June 13, 2020, around 80 percent of the $522 million provided to BIA and BIE had been obligated. The report detailed lessons learned in the IG’s prior work conducting oversight of the Interior Department, BIA, and BIE, which they believed should inform the department’s consideration as the agency made awards, promoted safety, and provided oversight under the CARES Act. The IG noted that based on previous reports, important areas for the department to consider included ensuring Indian school safety and health, providing oversight to help prevent mismanagement of financial awards, and minimizing the spread of the virus while maintaining safety within tribal detention centers.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/25/2020
Testimony: Key Considerations for Agencies Returning Employees to Workplaces During Pandemics
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

The Government Accountability Office testified before the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Operations about key practices for agencies to consider as their workers re-enter the workplace during the Covid-19 pandemic or telework for sustained periods during this and other emergencies.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
06/25/2020
Report: Lessons Learned for Indian Country
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans, Vulnerable Populations

The Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General prepared a report on “lessons learned” to inform the provision of grants and awards under the CARES Act.

Released By

PRAC
06/25/2020
Report: Office of Insular Affairs Allocation of CARES Act Funds
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General found that the department’s Office of Insular Affairs had “taken prompt and immediate action in its allocation of CARES Act
funds to Insular Area governments.”

Released By

PRAC
06/25/2020
Report: The National Park Service’s Coronavirus Response Operating Plans
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General issued a report on national parks’ plans for reopening or developing Covid-19 response operating plans.

Released By

PRAC
06/25/2020
Report: Opportunities to Improve Federal Response and Recovery Efforts
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

This is the initial report from the Government Accountability Office, which was required by the CARES Act to report bimonthly on its ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts related to the Covid-19 pandemic, including on the spending of $2.6 trillion in emergency assistance for people, businesses, the health-care system, and state and local governments.

06/25/2020
Report: Opportunities to Improve Federal Response and Recovery Efforts
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

This is the initial report from the Government Accountability Office, which was required by the CARES Act to report bimonthly on its ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts related to the Covid-19 pandemic, including on the spending of $2.6 trillion in emergency assistance for people, businesses, the health-care system, and state and local governments.

06/24/2020
Report: Status of CARES Act Funding as of June 12, 2020
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General issued a report on the status of the department’s $1.007 billion in CARES Act appropriations.

Released By

PRAC
06/23/2020
Report: Key Areas of Concern Regarding Implementation of Dislocated Worker Grant Provisions
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Labor Department Inspector General report discussed key areas of concern regarding the department’s Employment and Training (ETA) implementation of Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) provisions included in the CARES Act. ETA received $345 million to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus-related dislocated workers assistance. The concerns presented in report reflected years of oversight work relating to ETA grant programs, including its use of prior stimulus funds and the Labor Department’s response to past natural disasters. The IG noted that as ETA and the states implement the relevant CARES Act provisions and in light of the $345 million available for dislocated workers, it would be important to ensure DWGs are used effectively, efficiently, and in compliance with laws and regulations.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/23/2020
Hearing: Oversight of the Trump Administration’s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management

Testimony of NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, Assistant HHS Secretary Brett Giroir, CDC Director Robert Redfield, and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn at June 23, 2020, House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.

06/23/2020
White House Coronavirus Task Force Report (June 23, 2020)
Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force
Type: Documents
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination

The White House Coronavirus Task Force’s June 23, 2020, report (released Aug. 31). The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis noted that the report’s contents contradict public statements by the White House. The report captures information including confirmed cases and deaths (both per 100,000), total tests (per 100,000), and positivity rate. The report noted that seven states were in the “red zone” (highest risk of Covid-19 spread) and increases in positive cases were seen in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, and Idaho.

Released By

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
06/18/2020
Congressional Briefing: Relaunching America’s Public Workforce System After Covid-19
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Congressional Briefing
Business and Industry, State and Federal Coordination

The House Committee on Education and Labor held a member briefing on June 18, 2020 to discuss rebuilding America’s public workforce system, as the country endures an economic recession due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The public workforce system funds job training and career navigation support and wraparound services, and helps employers avoid layoffs through supporting the financing of on-the-job training and incumbent worker training. The briefing included remarks from Yvette Chocolaad (policy director, National Association of State Workforce Agencies) and Nicole Sherard-Freeman (former executive director of Workforce Development, City of Detroit).

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
06/18/2020
Report: Early Experiences with Covid-19 at ICE Detention Facilities
Source: Inspector General - Department of Homeland Security
Type: Report
Immigration and Border Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General released a report after conducting a survey of ICE detention facilities from April 8 through April 20, 2020, asking about experiences and challenges managing Covid-19 among detainees and staff. The facilities that responded to the survey described various actions they have taken to prevent and mitigate the pandemic’s spread among detainees, including increased cleaning and disinfecting of common areas and isolating new detainees, when possible, as a precautionary measure. However, facilities reported concerns with detainees’ inability to practice social distancing, as well as concerns involved in isolating or quarantining individuals who may be infected with Covid-19. Regarding staffing, facilities reported decreases in staff availability due to Covid-19, but had contingency plans in place to ensure continued operations. The facilities also expressed concerns with having sufficient PPE for staff if there were an outbreak of Covid-19. Overall, almost all facilities stated they were prepared to address Covid-19, but expressed concerns if the pandemic continued to spread. At the time of the survey, 23 facilities reported housing detainees who had tested positive for Covid-19; this number had risen to 48 facilities as of May 11, 2020.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/18/2020
Second Report of the Congressional Oversight Commission
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The second report of the Congressional Oversight Commission contains responses from the Federal Reserve and Treasury to certain questions posed by the commission in its first report.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Commission
06/17/2020
Memorandum: Key Potential Risk Areas for the Department of Transportation in Overseeing CARES Act Requirements
Source: Inspector General – Department of Transportation
Type: Memorandum
Relief Funds and Loans

The Transportation Department Inspector General sent a memorandum to the Transportation secretary providing a summary of five key risk areas for the department’s consideration in bolstering its oversight of CARES Act grantees and contractors. The potential risk areas and the IG’s suggested actions to mitigate those risks were drawn largely from the IG’s prior work assisting the department with oversight of funds for economic stimulus and emergency relief.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/17/2020
Report: Top Challenges Facing Federal Agencies: COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Response Efforts
Source: Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Type: Report
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

Inspectors general submitted summaries of the top management challenges facing federal agencies that received pandemic-related funding.

Released By

PRAC
06/17/2020
Memo: Key Potential Risk Areas for the Department of Transportation in Overseeing CARES Act Requirements
Source: Inspector General – Department of Transportation
Type: Memorandum
Relief Funds and Loans

The Transportation Department’s Office of the Inspector General sent a memo to the secretary about the potential risk areas in implementing the requirements of the CARES Act, including grants to airports and fraud prevention.

Released By

PRAC
06/15/2020
CARES Act Flash Report May 2020: Where’s the Money?
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department Inspector General released a CARES Act “flash report” detailing the amount of CARES Act funds ($756 million) received by the department and its expenditures and obligations as of May 31, 2020.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/15/2020
Report: Where’s the Money? DOI Use of CARES Act Funds as of May 31, 2020
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General issued a report on the department’s progress in obligating CARES Act funding as of May 31, 2020.

Released By

PRAC
06/12/2020
Report: Status of CARES Act Funding as of June 12, 2020 (Unaudited)
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Justice Department Inspector General released a report detailing the amount of CARES Act funding received and obligated by the department. According to DOJ components, as of June 12, 2020, the department has obligated over $959 million, or 95 percent, of the total appropriated funds received.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/04/2020
Congressional Briefing: Building a Community-Based Contact Tracing Workforce
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Congressional Briefing
Federal Management, Testing

The House Committee on Education and Labor held a member briefing to examine Congress’ role in supporting a community-based contract tracing workforce. The briefing, “Building A Community-Based Contact Tracing Workforce,” focused on the need for a robust contact-tracing workforce and how the public workforce system can support the recruitment and training of contact tracers. The briefing featured Dr. Ashish K. Jha (K.T. Li Professor of Global Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute) and Abby Snay (deputy secretary for the future of work, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency).

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
06/04/2020
Report: School Districts Frequently Identified Multiple Building Systems Needing Updates or Replacement
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Education

The Government Accountability Office released a report estimating that more than half of America’s public school districts are in need of significant repairs to their facilities. GAO noted that 54 percent of school districts across the country must replace or update major systems in more than half their buildings. GAO found that HVAC systems were most frequently in need of repair, raising concerns about the safety of school facilities during the Coo9vid-19 pandemic. The report estimated that 4 in 10 school districts need to update or replace HVAC systems in at least half of their school buildings, which GAO estimated would impact 36,000 school buildings nationwide.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
06/02/2020
Testimony: Covid-19 Complicates Already Challenged FDA Foreign Inspection Program
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Hearing/Testimony
Federal Management, Vaccines and Treatments

The GAO published its testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, which discussed how the outbreak of Covid-19 has drawn greater attention to the United States’ reliance on foreign drug manufacturers and complicates the work of the already challenged FDA Foreign Inspection Program. FDA is responsible for inspecting foreign and domestic drug manufacturers, but began to postpone almost all inspections of foreign manufacturing establishments in March 2020 due to Covid-19. GAO concluded that this lack of inspections of foreign manufacturing establishments removed a critical source of information about the quality of drugs manufactured for the U.S. market, in particular, because of much of the manufacturing of drugs used for treating Covid-19 occurs overseas.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
06/02/2020
Report: Special Report on Best Practices and Lessons Learned for DoD Contracting Officials in the Pandemic Environment
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Influence and Access in Pandemic Response

The Defense Department Inspector General published a report detailing best practices and lessons learned identified in audit reports related to contracting during emergencies and disaster responses. The IG’s office analyzed these audit reports and developed a list of best practices and lessons learned that Defense officials should consider following to minimize opportunities for fraud, waste, and abuse in awarding and overseeing the large amount of contracts needed to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
06/02/2020
Report: Best Practices and Lessons Learned for DoD Contracting Officials in the Pandemic Environment
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Department’s Inspector General analyzed past audits related to disaster relief response to provide best practices and lessons learned.

Released By

PRAC
06/01/2020
Report: Telework Impact on HUD’s Operations Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Housing and Urban Development
Type: Report
Federal Management

This Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general summarized survey and interview results on the impact agency-wide telework was having on HUD operations.

Released By

PRAC
05/29/2020
Memo: The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program Needs Proactive Measures to Detect and Prevent Improper Payments and Fraud
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Memorandum
Relief Funds and Loans

The Labor Department’s Office of the Inspector General issued a memo to bring up concerns about the potential of improper payments and fraud from the CARES Act’s expansion of unemployment insurance eligibility.

Released By

PRAC
05/27/2020
Memorandum: Interim Audit Update – Coronavirus Relief Fund Recipient Reporting
Source: Inspector General - Treasury Department
Type: Memorandum
Relief Funds and Loans

The Treasury Inspector General submitted a memorandum to Counselor to the Secretary Daniel Kowalski providing updates on its audit of the Treasury Department’s implementation of the Coronavirus Relief Fund; the scope of the audit included implementation activities from March 27 through April 27, 2020, the date mandated for making Coronavirus Relief Fund payments. The IG reviewed: Title V provisions of the CARES Act related to administering payments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund; an example of a state and local government electronic payment form submitted for Coronavirus Relief Fund payments; Treasury’s Coronavirus Relief Fund Guidance for State, Territorial, Local, and Tribal Governments; Treasury’s Coronavirus Relief Fund frequently asked questions; and Treasury’s certification form for units of local government recipients. The IG also interviewed, and corresponded with, Treasury officials responsible for implementing Coronavirus Relief Fund payments.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/26/2020
Congressional Briefing: Child Care in Peril: How Covid-19 Is Pushing This Essential Sector to the Brink of Collapse
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Congressional Briefing
Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor held a member briefing to examine the challenges facing the child-care sector amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Over half of child-care providers have temporarily closed their doors and those that continue to operate are doing so with significant financial challenges. The briefing featured expert testimony from Hannah Matthew (deputy executive director for policy, Center for Law and Social Policy) and Mary De La Rosa (child-care provider from Los Angeles, Calif.). Their testimony included discussion of: temporary closures of and decreases in enrollment and attendance in child-care programs; the rising cost of providing child-care safely during the Covid-19 pandemic; and the importance of federal support to help child care providers survive the pandemic so they are ready to care for children when parents go back to work.

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
05/26/2020
Alert Memorandum: The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program Needs Proactive Measures to Detect and Prevent Improper Payments and Fraud
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Memorandum
Relief Funds and Loans

The Labor Department Inspector General sent a letter Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration John Pallasch to alert him of concerns the IG’s office had during their ongoing audit of the Labor Department’s response to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program’s expansion under the CARES Act. The CARES Act’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program expanded UI eligibility to individuals who are not typically qualified to receive such benefits. To establish eligibility, individuals have to self-certify that they have lost employment income due to a coronavirus-related reason specified within the statute; the IG expressed concern that reliance on self-certifications alone to ensure eligibility for PUA will lead to increased improper payments and fraud.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/22/2020
Improving Health Coverage in Response to Covid-19
Source: Congress
Type: Documents
Vulnerable Populations

Sens. Ron Wyden, Jeanne Shaheen, Tina Smith, and Patty Murray released a white paper outlining a series of legislative priorities including expanding premium support through subsidies and tax credits, incentivizing Medicaid expansion in hold-out states, and a special open enrollment period, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Their proposal also calls for all Covid-19 treatment costs to be covered, including for the uninsured. The proposal has the support of 33 Senate Democrats.

Released By

Senate Democrats
05/21/2020
Advisory Notice: Key Questions to Inform USAID’s Covid-19 Response
Source: Inspector General - U.S. Agency for International Development
Type: Advisory Notice
Federal Management

The USAID IG sent an advisory notice to USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa posing key questions from past lessons learned for USAID to consider while planning and executing its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The lessons learned and corresponding questions fall under four broad areas: managing risks to humanitarian assistance amid a public health emergency; maintaining responsibilities for planning, monitoring, and sustaining U.S.-funded development; maximizing stakeholder coordination for a global Covid-19 response; and addressing vulnerabilities and implementing needed controls in USAID core management functions.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/21/2020
Report: At a Glance: Review of the National Science Foundation CARES Act Spending Plan
Source: Inspector General - National Science Foundation
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The National Science Foundation Inspector General published a brief report detailing a review conducted to identify whether NSF’s plan for expending CARES Act funds were reasonable, prudent, and met the intent of the funding objectives.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/20/2020
CARES Act Flash Report: Lessons Learned for CARES Act Awards
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department Inspector General published a “flash report” detailing lessons learned and risks identified in the IG’s prior work — both audits and investigations — that the department should consider as it makes awards and provides oversight under the CARES Act.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/20/2020
Report: Infection Control Deficiencies Were Widespread and Persistent in Nursing Homes Prior to Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Government Accountability Office sent a report to Sen. Ron Wyden (ranking member, Senate Finance Committee) detailing the prevalence of infection control deficiencies in nursing homes prior to the Covid-19 crisis. In light of the pandemic, GAO was asked to examine the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ oversight of infection prevention and control protocols and the adequacy of emergency preparedness standards for emerging infectious diseases in nursing homes, as well as CMS’s response to the pandemic.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
05/19/2020
Alert Memorandum: ETA Needs to Improve Its Plans for Providing Administrative, Financial Management, and Audit Requirements Relief to Grant Recipients Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Memorandum
Relief Funds and Loans

The Labor Department Inspector General (OIG) sent a memorandum to Labor’s Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training (ETA) John Pallasch, telling him that ETA needed to improve its communication with grant recipients regarding the availability of flexibilities provided in a March 19, 2020, OMB memorandum (“Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations”), including any subsequent updates and ETA’s related implementation plans. Given the time limit imposed on these flexibilities, OIG noted that it was imperative for ETA to communicate this information quickly and through the most effective means possible, such as the Labor Department’s public-facing websites or direct communication with grant recipients.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/18/2020
Congressional Briefing: Addressing the Impact of Covid-19 on Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Congressional Briefing
Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor held a member briefing to examine the challenges facing seniors and people with disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic. The briefing, “Addressing the Impact of Covid-19 on Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities,” held on May 18, 2020, focused on how seniors and people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to both Covid-19 and to collateral consequences arising from social distancing measures. The briefing featured testimony from Shireen McSpadden (executive director, Department of Disability and Aging Services, City and County of San Francisco) and Kelly Buckland (executive director, National Council on Independent Living).

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
05/18/2020
Report: Questions About the CARES Act’s $500 Billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Funds
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The first report of the Congressional Oversight Commission reviewed actions by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve implementing Treasury relief spending to date, including designing lending programs and facilities. It also outlined some preliminary questions based on those actions that we intend to examine.

Released By

Congressional Oversight Commission
05/15/2020
Report: Railroad Retirement Board’s Office of Inspector General Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Oversight Plan
Source: Inspector General - U.S. Railroad Retirement Board
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board Inspector General published a report detailing what it had done and planned to do with regards to CARES Act oversight. The document contained OIG’s CARES Act oversight plan; management and reporting requirements, as required by the CARES Act; and plans for audits and investigations post-implementation of the CARES Act provisions.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/14/2020
Congressional Briefing: Protecting Workers from Covid-19
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Congressional Briefing
Business and Industry, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The House Committee on Education and Labor held a member briefing on May 14, 2020, entitled “Protecting Workers from Covid-19.” The briefing focused on how, despite rising death tolls among workers, OSHA has not taken meaningful action to protect workers from Covid-19. The event included expert testimony from Ademola Oyefeso (United Food and Commercial Workers Union) and Dr. David Michaels (professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University).

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
05/14/2020
50 States Open Records Project: Idaho
Source: Idaho
Type: Documents
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Independent watchdog group Accountable.us filed open records requests in all U.S. states and territories to understand how the Trump administration hindered the states’ ability to adequately respond to the pandemic. These are the documents from Idaho.

Released By

Accountable.us
05/08/2020
Flash Report: Small Business Administration’s Implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program Requirements
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General published a report detailing its review and assessment of the regulations of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act, in addition to guidance published in SBA’s Interim Final Rules and FAQs issued as of April 30, 2020. The IG also assessed the PPP borrower application and additional public documents issued by SBA and Treasury. The IG found that SBA’s Interim Final Rules for implementing the PPP and SBA’s FAQs mostly aligned with the CARES Act. However, the IG did find that some areas did not fully align with the CARES Act’s provisions, and provided suggestions to help SBA better align its PPP requirements with provisions of the CARES Act.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/07/2020
Congressional Briefing: Remote Learning in the Time of the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Education and Labor Committee
Type: Congressional Briefing
Education

The House Committee on Education and Labor held a member briefing on May 7, 2020. The briefing, “Remote Learning in the Time of the Covid-19 Pandemic,” focused on the abrupt closure of schools due to Covid-19, and how these closures have exacerbated longstanding inequities in K-12 education and underscored disparities in school funding, curricular resources, school facilities, and teacher quality. The briefing included testimonies from Marlon Styles (superintendent, Middletown City School District) and Robin Lake (director, Center on Reinventing Public Education). The two panelists discussed challenges delivering remote learning and the effect on students; how schools are working to address the equity gaps in remote learning, as well as quality issues when it comes to instruction; and the importance of federal emergency relief to help schools respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

House Education and Labor Committee
05/05/2020
Report: Where’s the Money? DOI Use of CARES Act Funds as of April 28, 2020
Source: Inspector General – Department of the Interior
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Interior Department Inspector General released a report detailing the department’s use of CARES Act funds as of April 28, 2020.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
05/04/2020
Report: National Preparedness: Additional Actions Needed to Address Gaps in the Nation’s Emergency Management Capabilities
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Government Accountability Office was asked to examine national preparedness, and in this report found that states and territories have a good handle on their strengths and weaknesses, but FEMA hasn’t used the information to determine the full scope of national needs. The report contains GAO recommendations.

05/01/2020
A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons
Source: The Marshall Project
Type: Tool
State Issues, Vulnerable Populations

The Marshall Project collected data on Covid-19 infections in state and federal prisons. With reporting undertaken in partnership with the Associated Press, the Marshall Project developed and regularly updated a tracker detailing the number of people sickened or killed by Covid-19 in prisons, and how widely the virus had spread within each state. Users can select, from a drop-down menu, the state for which they want information about Covid-19 cases and deaths among the incarcerated population.

04/27/2020
Memorandum: Some Mortgage Loan Servicers’ Websites Offer Information About CARES Act Loan Forbearance That Is Incomplete, Inconsistent, Dated, and Unclear
Source: Inspector General - Department of Housing and Urban Development
Type: Memorandum
Communications Management, Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The Department of Housing and Urban Development Inspector General published a memorandum detailing its assessment of what information servicers of mortgage loans that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures were providing on their public-facing websites to borrowers regarding forbearance. On April 17, 2020, 22 days after enactment of the CARES Act, OIG reviewed the top 30 servicers’ websites to identify readily accessible information for borrowers related to the Covid-19 crisis. Their review of the 30 servicers’ websites, which service approximately 90 percent of FHA loans, revealed that those websites provided incomplete, inconsistent, dated, and unclear guidance to borrowers related to their forbearance options under the CARES Act.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
04/27/2020
Some Mortgage Loan Servicers’ Websites Offer Information about CARES Act Loan Forbearance That Is Incomplete, Inconsistent, Dated, and Unclear
Source: Inspector General – Housing and Urban Development
Type: Report
Relief Funds and Loans

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General assessed what information regarding forbearance was being provided to borrowers by servicers of mortgage loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The review found that servicers’ websites provided incomplete, inconsistent, dated, and unclear guidance to borrowers.

04/24/2020
50 States Open Records Project: Oregon
Source: Oregon
Type: Documents
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Independent watchdog group Accountable.us filed open records requests in all U.S. states and territories to understand how the Trump administration hindered the states’ ability to adequately respond to the pandemic. These are the documents from Oregon.

Released By

Accountable.us
04/23/2020
White Paper: Risk Awareness and Lessons Learned from Prior Audits of Entrepreneurial Development Programs
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: White Paper
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General prepared a memorandum to inform SBA of lessons learned and risks identified in prior audits and reviews of entrepreneurial development programs. OIG recommended that SBA consider this information as it implements mandates to administer federal funds to Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and resource partner associations related to the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure funds are used as intended and programs achieve their objectives.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
04/23/2020
Report: Special Report on Protecting Patient Health Information During the Covid‑19 Pandemic
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Defense Department Inspector General published a report summarizing lessons learned identified in audit reports related to protecting patient health information, and how those lessons learned can help inform how military medical treatment facilities can protect patient health information and personally identifiable information during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
04/21/2020
Advisory Report: CARES Act: Initial Areas of Concern Regarding Implementation of Unemployment Insurance Provisions
Source: Inspector General – Department of Labor
Type: Report
Federal Management, State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

The Labor Department Inspector General released an advisory report discussing areas of concern that the department and states should consider when implementing unemployment insurance provisions included in the CARES Act.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
04/06/2020
Memorandum: Covid-19 Expenditures: Lessons Learned Regarding Awareness of Potential Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Risk
Source: Inspector General – Department of Defense
Type: Memorandum
Federal Management, Relief Funds and Loans

The Defense Department Inspector General sent a memorandum summarizing lessons learned identified in past audits, and detailing (based on their previous work) which areas of concern the department should focus on as it implements the CARES Act.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
04/06/2020
Document: PPE Distribution
Source: Rep. Carolyn Maloney
Type: Documents
Medical Supplies and PPE

Rep. Carolyn Maloney released a new document from HHS showing that the administration had failed to distribute sufficient PPE to states and that PPE was not distributed in accordance with state requests.

04/03/2020
Report: Hospital Experiences Responding to the Covid-19 Pandemic: Results of a National Pulse Survey (March 23–27, 2020)
Source: Inspector General - Department of Health and Human Services
Type: Report
Medical Supplies and PPE, Testing, Vaccines and Treatments

The Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General published a report providing HHS and other relevant decision-makers (e.g., state and local officials, other federal agencies) with a national snapshot of hospitals’ challenges and needs in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. OIG noted that the report was not a review of HHS’s response to the pandemic; the information contained in this report was collected to aid HHS as it continues to lead efforts to address Covid-19 and support hospitals and other first responders.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
04/03/2020
White Paper: Risk Awareness and Lessons Learned from Prior Audits of Economic Stimulus Loans
Source: Inspector General - Small Business Administration
Type: White Paper
Relief Funds and Loans

The SBA Inspector General published a white paper providing SBA with information regarding lessons learned and risks identified in prior audits and inspections that should be considered when managing and mitigating the risk of loss associated with Covid-19 relief loans. Notably, prior audits and inspections revealed that SBA issued Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and non-EIDLs without fully vetting borrowers’ credit or their ability to repay the loans. SBA had also previously issued EIDLs and non-EIDLs to businesses that did not suffer an economic loss, or to businesses outside the timeframe of a particular disaster. Moreover, SBA has previously encountered challenges with having staff provide accurate and appropriate assistance to borrowers during large-scale disasters. The IG report concluded that SBA should ensure that loans are provided to eligible applicants in a timely manner, and that borrowers meet all eligibility requirements. The IG also highlighted the need for experienced or well-trained personnel to provide assistance and handle increased loan volume and expedited processing timeframes during the pandemic.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
04/01/2020
50 States Open Records Project: Georgia
Source: Georgia
Type: Documents
State and Federal Coordination, State Issues

Independent watchdog group Accountable.us filed open records requests in all US states and territories to understand how the Trump administration’s incompetence hindered the states’ ability to adequately respond to COVID-19. These are the documents from Georgia.

Released By

Accountable.us
03/26/2020
Report: OIG Inspection of Veterans Health Administration’s Covid-19 Screening Processes and Pandemic Readiness (March 19–24, 2020)
Source: Inspector General - Department of Veterans Affairs
Type: Report
Federal Management, Vulnerable Populations

The VA Inspector General published a report following inspections at 237 VA facilities evaluating their Covid-19 screening processes and collecting data on their pandemic preparations. Facilities inspected included: medical centers, community-based outpatient clinics, and community living centers.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
03/03/2020
Report: Science and Tech Spotlight: Coronaviruses
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: Report
Federal Management

The Government Accountability Office released a brief “spotlight” report on coronaviruses, discussing previous coronavirus outbreaks, how coronaviruses work, current diagnostics, and research on vaccines and therapeutics. The GAO brief also provided information on potential challenges posed by coronaviruses.

Released By

Government Accountability Office
03/01/2020
Document: USDA Human Pandemic Operations Plan
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Type: Documents
Federal Management

In response to American Oversight’s request, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) produced its March 2020 “Human Pandemic Operations Plan,” a working document that addressed how USDA planned to protect the safety and health of FSIS employees and maintain essential FSIS functions and services during a pandemic.

Released By

American Oversight
01/05/2020
Report: Survey on the Effects of Covid-19 on ATF, DEA, FBI, USAO, and USMS Investigative Operations
Source: Inspector General – Department of Justice
Type: Report
Federal Management

The DOJ IG surveyed law enforcement personnel within DOJ during July and early August 2020 to gain insight into the impact of Covid-19 on law enforcement investigative operations. OIG deployed an anonymous online survey to Special Agents; Criminal Investigators; General Inspection; Investigation, Enforcement, and Compliance personnel; and U.S. marshals and deputy U.S. marshals. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents noted that Covid-19 affected their ability to work on their cases. While the survey showed that most respondents agreed that their agency provided them guidance on Covid-19 reporting procedures in the event of a possible infection, 57 percent of respondents reported that screening procedures had not been implemented for federal agents at their agencies. In addition, nearly a quarter of respondents did not believe that their agency supplied them with adequate PPE or training on its proper use.

Released By

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee