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Zients Closely Watching Recovery Cash, Nearly 100 Percent Follow Reporting Rules

Photo: OMB

When the Recovery Act began pumping money into the battered economy in 2009, the Office of Management and Budget placed strict reporting guidelines on recipients of the federal cash.

Now, OMB Interim Director Jeffrey Zients, who is also the federal chief performance officer, said nearly all organizations that have received federal funds are making the required quarterly updates on how they are spending the money.

According to a White House blog posting, 99.5 percent of organizations disclosed how they are using a contract, grant or loan, in the last reporting period.

And most of those who had failed to disclose their reports, were first-time rule-breakers, Zients said in the blog posting.

But Zients said the push for more transparency doesn’t end with these optimistic numbers.

“Now, it would be easy to rest on this accomplishment of near 100 percent participation,” Zients said on the blog, “but frankly, we’re not satisfied — we believe that everyone that is required to share with the public how they are putting Recovery dollars to work should be doing so.”

The government will “aggressively” pursue the remaining 0.5 percent that has failed to disclose, Zients added, noting that often noncompliance is the result of technical problems.

“Changing the way business is done in Washington doesn’t happen overnight — we are constantly working to improve transparency processes and help recipients of Recovery Act funds adjust to meet our high standards,” he said.

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