It appears the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) could use a better filing system.
A new Government Accountability Office investigation released Thursday found the agency had no documentation at all for millions of dollars worth of grants it awarded over the last three years.
Overall, 62 percent of ILAB grants awarded to projects aimed at improving labor standards and combating child labor in foreign countries were missing documentation or had no documentation. 15 percent of grants had no documentation at all.
Last fiscal year the ILAB awarded $69.5 million in grants to these types of projects in foreign countries.
The report, which Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Committee, and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member on the HELP Committee requested, was based on a review of 26 grant award files, which included four grant awards missing all their pre-award documentation.
“Incomplete documentation makes it difficult to determine if [the Department of] Labor has established internal controls over, and is following, its grant award procedures, including ensuring that Labor does not award grants to organizations that have been debarred from doing business with the federal government,” the report read.
Hatch called the lack of documentation “reckless and irresponsible.”
“The Department of Labor should not be dumping millions of dollars abroad without ensuring that the funds are used correctly and responsibly,” he said, urging Labor Secretary Perez to implement GAO’s recommendations.
Incidentally, the Department of Labor concurred with GAO’s recommendations which included providing “guidance as to what documents should be in the grant award files to show that all grant award requirements were met” as well as establishing “a mechanism to ensure that the guidance is implemented.”
This is not the first time the Department of Labor has been called out for missing documents. In 2012 an Inspector General report found that millions of dollars worth of contracts had documentation problems.
“Taxpayers should be doubly offended by GAO’s report –not only are millions of their hard-earned dollars being used to support labor unions in foreign countries, those dollars are also being mismanaged,” Alexander added. “The pattern of negligence revealed by GAO demands immediate action from Secretary Perez.”