How To Make $2.7 Million Disappear


Dan Walters points out a new report from California Inspector General Laura Chick, detailing how an Imperial County "social service organization" managed to disappear $2.7 million in ARRA stimulus funds.

Chick, one of the very few straight shooters to emerge from L.A.'s political class, reports in her letter to the governor [pdf] that Brawley-based Campesinos Unidos got the funding to weatherize farm workers' homes, but did not have any employees with training in this line of work. It's unclear that the company has performed any of the work or has plans to do so. Chick writes:

My report also found that Campesinos' books are in such disarray that we cannot determine how much Recovery money has actually been spent or how well it has been spent. This is not an acceptable way to account for the people's money.

The full IG report [pdf] gives some details about the problems with Campesinos' records, which sound like the result of something worse than poor organization:

Specifically, CUI retroactively revised or added budget line item definitions, descriptions, and expenditure categories, and then executed numerous expenditure adjustments to shift costs. As a result, we found expenditures that were not ARRA related but were billed to ARRA, were charged to the wrong expenditure account, were charged to the wrong category of costs (Le., salaries were charged to operating expenses), and purchases that should not have been expensed.

Didn't Martha Stewart go to prison for this type of thing?

My attempt to figure out where all those Obamadollars were being spent in my own neighborhood.