Lawmakers call for review of DoD improper payments

Friday - 4/29/2011, 4:38pm EDT

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

A bipartisan, bicameral group of 13 lawmakers led by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) sent a letter to the Defense Department today urging greater efforts to eliminate improper payments.

Carper is the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management.

A 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office found "significant weaknesses" in DoD's payment information reporting. GAO found as $322 billion in agency payments were excluded from improper payment reviews.

In fiscal year 2010, DoD's reported improper payments was about $1 billion, but the estimates "have not been complete or accurate," according to the letter.

"Without a thorough process to review expenditures and identify the full extent of improper payments, the Department will not be able to identify internal controls aimed at reducing improper payments and better protecting the taxpayer," the lawmakers wrote. "Nor will the Department be able to effectively recover improper payments. In these times of ever tightening budgets, a soaring deficit, and record levels of improper payments across the government, the Department has to do a much better job in identifying and eliminating improper payments. We need to look in every nook and cranny of federal spending - domestic and defense - to find ways to cut waste and fraud."

Last year, President Obama signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act with a goal of reducing wasteful, improper payments by $50 billion by 2012.