Stimulation Has Its Price - The Audit and Oversight Provisions of The 2009 Stimulus Bill Are Unlike Anything Most Funding Recipients Have Ever Seen
On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 ("the Act" or "the Stimulus Bill") (P.L. 111-5) (H.R. 1). As widely reported in the media, the Stimulus Bill includes approximately $787 Billion in government spending and tax cuts. With regard to the government spending provisions (Division A of the Act, which appropriates approximately $520 Billion), the U.S. Government (as well as the State and local governments receiving this money) will disburse the funds through a number of different vehicles – namely government contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and other transactions. The legislation is intended to deal with, on an expedited basis, economic conditions that many Americans have not experienced in their lifetimes and for which they want an accelerated cure. Those familiar with the federal acquisition and grant processes, however, know that immediacy is not built into those processes. Moreover, to the extent that the “need for speed” overtakes process, recipients of the funds will almost assuredly find themselves downrange from one of the most rigorous oversight regimes ever enacted. Companies, and even States and localities – should familiarize themselves with the full terms of the Faustian bargain they will be striking.