November 18, 2009
By Larry Bivins
Gannett Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON The federal Web site that tracks spending from the Obama administration's $787 billion economic stimulus program reports that the program has created thousands of jobs in congressional districts that don't exist.
According to www.recovery.gov, California has seven congressional districts more than the 53 it actually has, including a 99th. In South Carolina, the site reported Tuesday evening, $40.7 million in economic stimulus funds have gone to seven spurious congressional districts, including 00 and 25. South Carolina has six U.S. House districts.
"The inaccuracies on recovery.gov that have come to light are outrageous," said Rep. David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee. "The administration owes itself, the Congress and every American a commitment to work night and day to correct the ludicrous mistakes."
Republican lawmakers were more scathing Tuesday, with some accusing the administration of a cover-up. No House Republicans and only three GOP senators voted for the stimulus bill, which President Barack Obama signed into law on Feb. 17.
"The government Web site charged with reporting waste, fraud and abuse is its very own worst offender," said Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina. "I know we have been asking this administration to show us the jobs, but this isn't what we had in mind."
"The attempts to cover up the dismal failure of the president's trillion-dollar stimulus have gone from comical to embarrassing," said South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint.
The White House didn't respond to repeated requests for comment.
Ed Pound, a spokesman for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, told ABC News that human error caused the mistakes.
"We report what the recipients submit to us," he said, according to ABC. "Some recipients clearly don't know what congressional district they live in, so they appear to be just throwing in any number."
Computer experts questioned that explanation, however, noting that many of the Web site's state links included a District 00, suggesting that there was a technical glitch in how the data was received.