Georgia Democratic Senate nominee Michelle Nunn’s time as CEO of the non-profit organization Points of Light Institute (POLI) came under intense scrutiny during a 2010 audit of questionable expenditures of grant funds.
According to the audit, POLI spent $46,295 of grant funds on questioned costs. The Office of the Inspector General defines “questioned cost” as “an alleged violation of provision of law, regulation, contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other agreement or document governing the expenditure of funds; or a finding that, at the time of testing, such cost is not supported by adequate documentation.”
The audit says that POLI could not provide documentation for $12,163 of grant money and could not give the OIG a reason as to why the documentation was missing.
Additionally, the non-profit spent $1,685 on “staff appreciation” meals, which was a violation of the grant money, because the audit considered it to be entertainment. Another violation pointed out by the audit was the $139 of grant money spent on gifts for staff members who planned an annual conference.
The audit also shows that POLI charged $8,325 to the incorrect grant. According to the OIG POLI kept inaccurate accounting records:
“Banners and signage costs, of $16,651, for affiliates participating in the 2008 MLK Day were claimed 50 percent to MLK Day Grant No. 06MKADC004 and 50 percent to MLK Day Grant No. 08MKHGA001. However, we discovered that $8,325 of the banners and signage cost was recorded on the general ledger of POL Grant No. 08PLHDC001. We could not determine in the $8,325 was not claimed on Grant No. 08PLHDC001 because of inadequate records supporting the FSR.”
Ultimately, the auditors could not verify that the costs were not claimed two times saying, “Costs of $8,325 were misposted to the general ledger on Grant No. 08PLHDC001 and claimed to another grant on the FSR. We were unable to verify that these costs were not claimed twice.”
Created in 1990 as a response to President George H. W. Bush’s inaugural address when he spoke of a “thousand points of light” through community service, the Points of Light Institute is known as a leading non-profit organization emphasizing volunteerism among Americans.