Senator Presses Energy Department on GAO Findings

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, is pressing the Energy Department to be more responsive to a new GAO report criticizing its defenses against fraud and waste in contracting

“Oversight challenges with management of fraud risk and improper payments exist across the DoE complex,” McCaskill wrote to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, noting that the department devotes nine-tenths of its $27 billion to contracting and facilities. “It is apparent that the risk is actually unknown because DoE does not adequately assess or oversee it.”

GAO found, for example, that the department does not have consistent or detailed policies on reviewing whether invoiced charges are appropriate; that some contracts have not been audited for as long as eight years; that there is a lack of oversight of payments for subcontractor charges; and that much of the data produced by contractors is insufficiently detailed.

The department generally agreed with GAO’s recommendations although it disagreed with a recommendation to require fuller data keeping by contractors.