U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has kicked off investigations in her new Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight by turning an eye toward billions of dollars in grants doled out by the U.S. Departments of State and Energy. In separate letters, McCaskill is requesting that Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu provide information on attempts to strengthen oversight over grant program funding-and that Gene Dodaro, the Comptroller General of the United States, examine the State Department's rules regarding grants and cooperative agreements.
The request to Chu comes after a grant award for the manufacture of electric car batteries was used to pay idle workers of LG Chem Michigan to volunteer for local organizations, play games, and watch movies, which, McCaskill said, "raises serious concerns about the Energy Department's grant management."
McCaskill told Dodaro that "[r]ecent reports...have raised concerns regarding the Department [of State]'s ability to adequately oversee grants-I am troubled by the potential for overcharges, improper billing, and other areas of potential fraud that may be occurring as a result of lax oversight."
McCaskill, a former Jackson County Prosecutor and State Auditor, recently became Chairman of a powerful new Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight-a position from which she plans to expand her years-long fight against government waste, fraud, and abuse, expanding from a focus on contracting to include the financial operations of every federal agency. During her time at the helm of the former Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, McCaskill chaired more than 20 hearings, and launched more than 40 investigations at 22 federal departments and agencies, resulting in nearly 30 instances of misconduct referred to federal investigators.