Public Shaming in the New Era of Grants Transparency

From OMB Circular A-110:

“(h) Unless otherwise required by statute, Federal awarding agencies shall not withhold payments for proper charges made by recipients at any time during the project period unless (1) or (2) apply.

(1) A recipient has failed to comply with the project objectives, the terms and conditions of the award, or Federal reporting requirements.”

The consequences for noncompliance with federal grants are far-reaching, impacting not only the current award, but also jeopardizing future competitiveness for federal competitions. The most common negative finding for federal grants is non-submittal of quarterly reports.

While missed reports are a phenomenon likely as old as government grants, what is new is that in the age of transparency, violators are much more publicly shamed. The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, runs a blog and a website which periodically posts the names of organizations who have failed to live up to the high expectations taxpayers have for stewardship of public funding. The most recent list, and an insightful post about these transgressions, can be viewed here.



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