A state audit reviewing how state officials spent over $5 billion in federal money has concluded all but one of the 570 programs which are financed by federal funds spent the money appropriately.
State Auditor Dave Vaudt says an "amazing" amount of federal money is distributed by state agencies. "We talk about our $6.5 billion budget at the state level from state tax dollars, but federal money coming back through is over $5 billion on top of that," Vaudt says, "so almost doubling up as far as taxpayer dollars go."
The review covers the 12-month state budgeting period that ended June 30th of 2008. It includes federal research money being spent at the state universities, unemployment checks sent to Iowans and federal highway money. The single largest chunk of federal money — about $1.7 billion — was spent providing health care coverage to poor and disabled Iowans who qualify for Medicaid.
Of the 570 different programs that were reviewed by the audit, problems were identified in just one — the "Family Investment Program" or welfare program. Vaudt says those Family Investment Program dollars were going to families or individuals who had qualified for other federal assistance because of an adoption or because the family had taken in a foster child.
"In 344 cases that we looked at, we found 70 cases where individuals were receiving not only Family Investment Program monies but also foster care payments at the same time for an additional one-to-five months which shouldn’t happen and we also found some dollars in the subsidized adoption and the Family Investment Program," Vaudt says. "Total dollar amounts that we’re talking about $17,000 related to foster care extra payments and a little over $5300 related to subsidized adoption."
That means of the roughly $5 billion in federal money that flowed through state agencies in the last budgeting year, Vaudt and his staff identified a little over $23,000 in questionable spending. Vaudt did, however, recommend some additional internal controls in a handful of state agencies to better track how money is spent.