Too-Speedy Bailout Spending May Squander Billions

Auditors understaffed for behemoth task, leaving field open to shifty contractors
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Feb 9, 2009 4:24 AM CST
The House stimulus bill proposes doling out an unprecedented amount of funds in record time.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – If new federal bailout funds are spent too quickly, billions could be wasted because the government administrative staff may be too overburdened to provide adequate oversight, warn budget experts. Billions of dollars in government money were squandered by private contractors who overcharged the Bush administration, according to a government report. "We're on track to lose billions, if not tens of billions, to waste, fraud and abuse," a watchdog told the Washington Post.

The government can move fast or move carefully in dispensing the funds, say experts. "You can't have both," warned a professor who studies emergency spending. "There is no way to get around having to make a choice." Some 29,000 federally contracted auditors will monitor the proposed bailout funds, to be doled out through many state and federal agencies.