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Taxpayers supply $1B annually, and AmeriCorps is 7 years without clean audit

By Alan Wooten
The Center Square

Taxpayers provide it $1 billion annually, and for seven years running, AmeriCorps has failed to get a clean audit. A North Carolina congresswoman says that's enough.

Identifying fraud risks, assessing inherent fraud risks, setting risk tolerance and consideration of existing controls were all cited in a scathing report of the Corporation for National and Community Service – aka AmeriCorps – from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., says it's a legacy of "incompetence and total disregard for taxpayer money" taking center stage. She chairs the House Committee on Education and Workforce, which requested the report.

Foxx, in a social media post, said the report "revealed that not only has AmeriCorps erroneously used generalized and ineffective actions to target programs at high risk for fraud, but it also never implemented GAO's clear and established anti-fraud framework guidelines.

"AmeriCorps receives an astounding $1 billion in taxpayer funds every year but hasn't received a clean audit for the past seven years. As instances of fraud continue, the agency has proven time and time again incapable of reforming itself and should never be given another opportunity to abuse taxpayer dollars."

AmeriCorps, according to the GAO website, funds grants "for volunteer and national service programs to address a range of community needs across the country. These grants support projects in areas like disaster recovery, educational support and environmental stewardship."

The GAO says it reviewed "relevant policies and documentation, analyzed data, and interviewed agency officials and compared this information with selected leading practices." Ten recommendations, all involving the AmeriCorps' chief executive officer, were provided.

AmeriCorps has taken actions on fraud risks, but the report says they don't fully align with leading practices. It cited examples of major programs that "vary in size and scope," such as one funding more than 7,000 volunteers, another with more than 115,000.

The GAO said, "The agency's current fraud risk assessment was conducted at the agency level and was not tailored to identify or address program-specific risks. The agency-level assessment may not result in the information necessary to effectively manage program-level fraud risks."

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