Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, testified in March that he estimated seven percent of the $787 billion stimulus spending bill, i.e., $55 billion, would be lost to fraud. All that fraud despite the transparency under that nifty government website, http://www.recovery.gov/? Tsk, tsk.
On April 28 the Senate passed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 (FERA) targeting fraud under the Toxic Asset Relief Program, the stimulus bill and other federal handouts, and appropriating more money for such enforcement. FERA also expands the reach of federal criminal laws over mortgage lending, restricts movement of money outside the United States to avoid taxes, and expands the reach of the False Claims Act, which is a whistleblower law targeted at false billings to the federal government. Two words frequently come to mind when I think of public spending: Big Dig.