McConnell Wants GAO to Monitor Stimulus

Posted March 12, 2009 at 11:05am

Looking to add another layer of oversight to last month’s $787 billion stimulus bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is calling on the Government Accountability Office to regularly submit reports to Congress on where the money is being spent.

“I am deeply concerned by reports that oversight will stop at the state-level once a governor designates the federal money to be spent at the local or municipal level,— McConnell wrote in a letter to acting GAO comptroller general Gene Dodaro today.

McConnell requested bimonthly reports from the GAO, noting they should pay particular attention to duplicitous spending and track spending to the project level.

“Taxpayers need to know how these entities are spending stimulus funds at the project level,— McConnell wrote in the letter. “Tracking money only to the state level is insufficient, as it fails to measure the actual expenditure of taxpayer dollars and the projects for which these funds are being spent.—

The stimulus measure, which squeaked through the Senate last month with the support of just three Republicans, included money for an appointed oversight board with investigative power. It also increased funding for the GAO. Republicans, however, charge that those federal oversight statutes were not detailed enough.

Meanwhile, at least a half-dozen Senators — led by Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Policy Committee Chairman John Ensign (Nev.) — are scheduled to meet Thursday discuss oversight matters and Democrats’ possible plans for a second stimulus package.

While Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) backed off the idea earlier Thursday, Republicans are not withholding their fire.

“I saw reports about the possibility of a second stimulus package when we don’t even know what was in the first stimulus package yet,— Alexander said in a statement. “Senate Republicans are having a roundtable discussion today to plan a series of hearings to monitor the stimulus spending, which we thought was excessive and not directed at creating jobs.—