Bennet cracks down on Homeland Security
By GARY HARMON
The Department of Homeland Security could lose $5 million if it fails to submit plans to control waste by Jan. 4, 2010, under a bill proposed by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
Bennet’s measure amending the Homeland Security Department appropriations bill would withhold the funding from the office of the chief financial officer if the goal isn’t met.
The amount represents the bulk of the office’s funding increase for the next year, Bennet’s office said in a statement.
Bennet sought the amendment in response to an audit that identified weaknesses in how Homeland Security accounts for taxpayer funds.
“For far too long DHS has been riddled with management, accounting and oversight problems that do nothing but subject our taxpayer dollars to waste, fraud and abuse. This must end,” Bennet said in a statement.
“This amendment will make sure that taxpayer dollars are put to good use by holding DHS accountable for how it manages its finances.”
The audit found “pervasive weaknesses” in the financial controls at the Coast Guard, as well as weaknesses in Federal Emergency Management Agency reporting.
Certain financial information from the Transportation Security Administration “might be misstated due to internal control deficiencies related to improper contract management and inconsistent application of established procedures,” Bennet’s statement noted.
The Senate approved the amendment by unanimous consent, then approved the Homeland Security Appropriations bill by 84–6 on Thursday.
The House has passed a companion measure, and a conference committee is to work out the differences.