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March 22, 2012

DHS Must Recover Improper Payments to Contractors

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement in response to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report on improper payments at the Department and how to prevent them in the future. The report, entitled "Department of Homeland Security's Compliance with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010" (OIG-12-48) found that in FY2011, DHS had $210 million in improper payments which were made in six component agencies.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) posted the largest amount at $108 million and FEMA, second, at $68 million. The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act was passed by Congress in 2010 to reduce improper payments by federal agencies – which totaled $125 billion in FY 2010. An independent audit found that several DHS components were not in compliance with the law's requirements and must implement better auditing and testing controls. The OIG concluded that DHS needs better controls to ensure the accuracy of its reporting and improve its attempts to recover improper payments.

Congressman Thompson released the following statement:

"During these tight budgetary times, it is imperative that DHS – charged with keeping us safe –uses its budget effectively and efficiently. If the Department can recoup disaster assistance overpayments from individuals in the Gulf region, then it certainly can find a way to recover funds improperly paid to vendors and contractors. Duplicate payments are the kind of waste that we can control, address and remedy. I will continue to press the Department on this issue."

Link to Report

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978