Sunlight as a Disinfectant

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Here’s an example of what you can learn when you dig into federal recordsl…USA Today reports that the federal government, as part of the stimulus package, will be sending over $300 million to 61 housing agencies that auditors have been repeatedly cited for mishandling government aid. A review of the summaries the agencies are required to file with OMB revealed that the delinquent housing agencies were receiving stimulus funds. The stimulus package includes $4 billion to create jobs while fixing up rundown public housing. This constitutes a major increase over the $2.5 billion the federal government usually spends annually maintaining public housing.

Here’s the full list of the questionable housing agencies receiving stimulus funds.

The report says that federal authorities have promised to keep a close eye on how the agencies spend the money. Like me, I imagine you would normally find this statement not all that reassuring.

This may be a case where more transparency not only exposes misconduct, but should prevent it from occurring in the first place. If the public is watchdogging the federal watchdogs, they should be more motivated to monitor the receiving agencies. Sound complicated? Just think ‘transparency as the best disinfectant.’

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