Financial controls designed to minimize agency payments to undeserving parties are not being fully followed by the government’s landlord, the General Services Administration, according to a watchdog report released on Friday.
GSA in fiscal 2018 failed to comply with two of six requirements in the amended Improper Payments Act, said the agency’s inspector general. Specifically, the agency “did not publish an accurate improper payment estimate in its Fiscal Year 2018 Agency Financial Report and … [did not] publish accurate and complete improper payments data in its Fiscal Year 2018 Agency Financial Report,” said the report by the team under IG Carol Fortine Ochoa. “GSA’s risk assessment process is flawed and its procedures for the Do Not Pay initiative contain significant deficiencies and are ineffective.”
Federal law requires agencies with programs susceptible to significant improper payments to estimate and report on them annually to the Office of Management and Budget, in addition to implementing corrective actions. But if a program’s estimated and reported improper payments are below the statutory thresholds for a minimum of two consecutive years, the agency may request relief from the annual reporting requirements.
The IG reviewed GSA’s improper payments in rental of space and purchase cards in fiscal 2017 and 2018, having found $109 million in total improper payments in 2017, and then $16.7 million in 2018 in the rental of space program only. The new report’s review covered August 2018 through February 2019.