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)
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.

10/07/2020
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

10/06/2020
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
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.

10/05/2020
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
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
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: 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
Hearing: How Covid-19 Is Impacting Small Businesses Across the Food System
Source: House Committee on Small Business
Type: Hearing
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
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: and Related Agencies, Environment, House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Interior
Type: Hearing
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: and Pensions Committee (minority staff), Education, Senate Health
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
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
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: Defense Department 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: and Urban Affairs, Housing, Senate Committee on Banking
Type: Hearing
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
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
Transcript: An Update on the Federal Response
Source: Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee
Type: Transcript
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
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
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
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: and Technology, House Committee on Science, Space
Type: Hearing
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: Transcript
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: Transcript
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.

09/18/2020
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
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: Transcript
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
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.

09/10/2020
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: Transcript (unofficial)
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: DOT, Fed, HHS, SBA, Treasury, USASpending.gov
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 (September 9, 2020)
Source: Rev.com
Type: Transcript
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
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: 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
Preliminary Analysis of Paycheck Protection Program Data
Source: Small Business Administration
Type: Report (preliminary)
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
Mnuchin Testimony at Select Subcommittee Hearing on Sept. 1, 2020
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Type: Press Release
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
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.

08/26/2020
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: Repository
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
08/11/2020
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
Testimony from Aug. 7 Hearing on Main Street Lending Program
Source: Congressional Oversight Commission
Type: Transcript
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
08/02/2020
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: 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 on “The Urgent Need for a National Plan to Contain the Coronavirus,” July 31, 2020
Source: House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic
Type: Transcript
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
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.

07/26/2020
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
07/22/2020
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
07/14/2020
FEMA’s Role in the Response and Related Challenges
Source: Government Accountability Office
Type: 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
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
06/30/2020
Testimony: Update on Progress Toward Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School
Source: Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions
Type: Transcript
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
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: 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: 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
Testimony: Oversight of the Trump Administration’s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Source: House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Type: Transcript
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
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
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
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
06/02/2020
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
05/22/2020
Improving Health Coverage in Response to Covid-19
Source: Congress
Type: Document
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
05/18/2020
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
05/14/2020
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
05/04/2020
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
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
04/06/2020
Document: PPE Distribution
Source: Rep. Carolyn Maloney
Type: Report
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.

04/01/2020
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