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Press Release Published: Mar 22, 2023

Comer, Fallon Probe DOE’s Management of Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Allocated by Dems’ Massive Spending

WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs Chairman Pat Fallon (R-Texas.) are investigating the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) administration of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars stemming from the Democrats’ spending bills passed last Congress. In a letter to Secretary of the Department of Energy Jennifer Granholm, the lawmakers are pressing for documents and communications to understand DOE’s plan to protect expanded programs and our energy security, and to ensure DOE’s ability to safeguard taxpayer dollars at high risk of waste, fraud, and abuse.

“According to a DOE Office of Inspector General (OIG) report detailing DOE’s management challenges for Fiscal Year 2023, the Department’s budget ‘will grow from managing a $45.3 billion budget in fiscal year 2022 to $100 billion of appropriated funds and $336 billion in loan authorities’ in fiscal year 2023. The OIG states, ‘[t]hese are historic and unprecedented times at the Department of Energy’ and warns about ‘a greatly increased risk of fraud, waste, and mismanagement.’ We seek documents and information to understand the Department’s plan to ensure proper oversight of its new and expanding programs and protect our country’s energy security,” wrote Chairman Comer and Subcommittee Chairman Fallon.

The Oversight Committee is investigating how Democrats’ trillions of dollars in rushed government spending without guardrails left American taxpayer dollars vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. Democrats’ spending bills allocated billions of dollars to DOE’s budget without proper mechanisms in place to oversee the magnitude of additional dollars.

The lawmakers continued, “On November 22, 2022, the OIG wrote you explaining how DOE could not properly oversee appropriated funds and loan authorities under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Chips and Science Act. According to OIG, ‘the scale and magnitude of these new spending and loan programs introduce a greatly increased risk of fraud, waste, and mismanagement.’ In its report, the OIG identified a series of special reports presented to DOE which detail risks of insufficient federal staffing, potential conflicts of interest, recipient fraud, and inadequate internal controls, among others. For example, ‘issued reports show that key oversight functions such as invoice reviews were not performed due to limited staffing and heavy workloads of project oversight officials’ Moreover, the DOE OIG was not given adequate resources by this new spending to provide additional necessary oversight. The OIG has warned as a result that ‘critical areas such as research security, clean energy, grid deployment, scientific computing, stockpile stewardship, environmental cleanup, and pit production, to name a few, will not receive appropriate OIG oversight.’”  

The letter to Secretary Granholm can be found here.