Federal Eye: Recovery Board Chairman Says Waste and Fraud ‘Inevitable’

The official tasked with overseeing the economic stimulus funds says it’s “inevitable” that taxpayer funds will be lost due to waste, fraud and abuse.

Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board (RAT Board), met today with state officials responsible for distributing the federal funds and said he will “work tirelessly to reduce those losses to the lowest level humanly possible.”

Devaney spoke during a White House conference on implementation of the Recovery Act that brought together state officials with Cabinet secretaries and other administration officials to discuss how the billions of dollars of ffederal stimulus funds should be spent.

“I’m afraid that there may be a naïve impresssion that given the amount of transparency and accountability called for by this act, no or little fraud will occur,” Devaney said, according to a summary prepared by reporters in attendance.

“Obviously the challenge for all of us, especially those charged with oversight, will be to significantly minimize such loss,” he said, according to the press pool report. “My promise to all of you today is that my staff, members of the board, I will work tirelessly to reduce those losses to the lowest level humanly possible.” The Interior Department’s former inspector general, he helped unearth the Jack Abramoff scandal.

He said the widely-promoted Recovery.gov Web site will meet his transparency or accessibility standards for at least a year. Devaney also urged federal and state officials to avoid sending mixed signals with its online outreach.

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