GAO Blog: GAO’s review of the federal response to COVID-19

GAO Blog: GAO’s review of the federal response to COVID-19. “Facing unprecedented national public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, federal agencies moved swiftly to distribute funds and implement programs to help people and businesses. But, as a tradeoff for that speedy response, agencies have made only limited progress so far in achieving transparency and accountability goals. On June 25, we issued our first audit report on the federal response to COVID-19 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and other relief laws. The CARES Act requires GAO to issue bi-monthly reports through the first year of the law, in addition to several other related studies. Today’s WatchBlog explores what we’ve found so far.”

Politico: A watchdog out of Trump’s grasp unleashes wave of coronavirus audits

Politico: A watchdog out of Trump’s grasp unleashes wave of coronavirus audits. “By the end of April, at least 30 CARES Act reviews and audits — ‘engagements,’ per GAO lingo — are expected to be underway, according to interviews with senior investigators. Topics will range from the government’s handling of coronavirus testing to its distribution of medical equipment, and from the nation’s food supply to nursing home infections and any missteps in distributing the emergency cash payments that began landing in millions of Americans’ bank accounts this week. The office’s top fraud investigator said it’s already received a complaint about a check landing in the account of a deceased person.”

US Government Accountability Office: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Public Access to Research Results

US Government Accountability Office: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Public Access to Research Results . “Public access to the results of federally funded research can accelerate scientific breakthroughs. In 2013, certain federal agencies were directed to create plans for increasing access to publications and data they funded. The 19 agencies we reviewed made progress, but some have not fully implemented their plans…. We made 37 recommendations to 16 agencies to address these and other issues.”

GAO: Digging Deep on the 2020 Census with GAO’s New Podcast Series

GAO: Digging Deep on the 2020 Census with GAO’s New Podcast Series. “Today we’re introducing a new breed of GAO podcast — Watchdog Report: Deep Dig. While our traditional podcast tends to zero in on the bottom line of one of our new reports, Deep Dig will explore broader issues we examine, and bring you stories from the people behind our reports. The first episode of Deep Dig is on the 2020 Census — one of our High Risk areas.”

US Government Accountability Office (GAO): Our New “Science & Tech Spotlights”

US Government Accountability Office (GAO): Our New “Science & Tech Spotlights”. “GAO has launched a new line of science and tech quick reads, 2-pagers providing brief overviews of key topics in the field. To complement our more in-depth evaluations and assessments, these ‘Science & Tech Spotlights’ summarize emerging innovations and the relevant policy context.”

Route Fifty: Watchdog Warns Census ‘Short on Time’ While Using Untested New Methods

Route Fifty: Watchdog Warns Census ‘Short on Time’ While Using Untested New Methods. “The 2020 Census will for the first time allow respondents to answer surveys online, but the Census Bureau hasn’t been able to test to ensure all new innovative methods will function correctly when deployed, according to the Government Accountability Office.”

FEES, FINES, AND PENALTIES: Better Reporting of Government-wide Data Would Increase Transparency and Facilitate Oversight (GAO)

GAO: FEES, FINES, AND PENALTIES:
Better Reporting of Government-wide Data Would Increase Transparency and Facilitate Oversight
. “Federal agencies collect hundreds of billions of dollars annually in fees, fines, and penalties, such as national park entry fees and penalties for violations of federal telemarketing law. Government-wide data could help Congress identify trends in collections and significant changes that could be an indication of an agency’s performance. Currently, there is no comprehensive, government-wide report that identifies specific fees, fines, and penalties. We made 4 recommendations to enhance the Office of Management and Budget’s current reporting on these collections, such as making more specific data publically available.”

Security Issues With State-Level Health Insurance Sites

You may have heard that the federal health insurance Web site has/had some issues. Apparently there are issues with state-level health insurance sites, too. “Federal investigators found significant cybersecurity weaknesses in the health insurance websites of California, Kentucky and Vermont that could enable hackers to get their hands on sensitive personal information about hundreds of thousands of people, The Associated Press has learned. And some of those flaws have yet to be fixed. The vulnerabilities were discovered by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, and shared with state officials last September. Vermont authorities would not discuss the findings, but officials in California and Kentucky said this week that there was no evidence hackers succeeded in stealing anything.” One wonders how thoroughly they looked.