March 5, 2009Client Alert

Title XV: Accountability and Transparency Summary

This section, in conjunction with other parts of the American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“The Act”), sets forth the oversight and enforcement provisions to combat waste and fraud in the disbursement and use of stimulus act funds. The main aspects are as follows:

a) All recipients of funds, whether public or private entities, have public disclosure and reporting requirements. For example, the chief executive of the state or local government receiving funds must certify that funds were properly spent. Likewise, private recipients must prepare public reports on how money was spent and open their books to various oversight entities.

b) The main oversight entities are the various Inspector General offices within the federal government. These offices received billions of dollars under The Act to add more staffing and conduct more investigations. Moreover, other government agencies, such as the FBI and IRS, are not precluded from conducting traditional fraud investigations involving stimulus funds. Intentionally misusing funds and/or lying about how funds were spent will violate multiple criminal statutes.

c) Additional oversight is provided by two new panels: The Recovery Accountability Board and the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel. The Accountability Board is empowered to investigate waste and hold hearings; the Independent Advisory Panel provides private sector expertise to the Accountability Board. Also, as with the FBI and IRS, there is nothing in The Act that prevents various Congressional committees from holding hearings of their own.

In sum, much like the tax code, The Act requires that recipients take affirmative steps to ensure that money is properly spent. The failure to do so will subject recipients to investigation by Congress, various oversight panels, and criminal agents.

This client alert is one of a series designed to provide summaries of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("The Act") and information and guidance regarding opportunities and relief made available through The Act. All of The Act client alerts are available on Michael Best's Stimulus and Economic Recovery Team publications page. For additional information on this topic, please feel free to contact the author of this alert, Steven M. Biskupic at 414.277.3474, or or your Michael Best attorney.

If you are interested in learning about other provisions included in The Act, the Michael Best Stimulus and Economic Recovery Team is prepared to assist you in understanding the implications and in developing and implementing a strategy to secure the benefits of this unprecedented legislation. Specifically, we will assist you to identify opportunities, prepare appropriate proposals and make targeted contacts to secure funds. We will also work with you to ensure that your applications are tailored to meet your needs and that your funded projects proceed in compliance with award requirements and applicable laws.

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