Today, Michael E. Horowitz, Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) appointed Robert A. Westbrooks to serve as the Executive Director of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC). Also today, the PRAC launched its website, pandemic.oversight.gov, and its Twitter account, @COVID_Oversight. Created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the PRAC is charged with coordinating oversight efforts of federal Inspectors General to promote transparency of the $2.4 trillion in federal emergency relief for individual citizens, businesses, hospitals, and industries impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Westbrooks has over 15 years of experience conducting independent oversight and is a certified public accountant, certified internal auditor, a certified information systems auditor, attorney, and former federal criminal investigator. He most recently served as the Inspector General for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation where he helped protect the retirement benefits of 35 million American workers and retirees. In addition, Mr. Westbrooks has held leadership positions at the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Department of Transportation OIG, U.S. Postal Service OIG, and National Archives and Records Administration OIG.
"I look forward to working with the entire oversight community – federal, state, and local – to coordinate and conduct independent oversight over these critically important emergency relief programs, and help ensure that funds are used effectively and efficiently and major program risks are addressed," said Mr. Westbrooks.
"Because of his vast experience in federal oversight, most recently as an Inspector General, Mr. Westbrooks is well-suited to be the Executive Director of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee," said Mr. Horowitz.
The PRAC’s new website, pandemic.oversight.gov, provides the public with several resources about federal pandemic spending, including:
- Allocations of federal funding authorized by four emergency coronavirus relief laws;
- Oversight reports published by federal OIGs overseeing their agencies’ response to the coronavirus pandemic;
- A listing of ongoing pandemic-related work by OIGs from across the federal government;
- A hotline where individuals can submit allegations of fraud, waste, abuse or whistleblower reprisal;
- A form where individuals can submit feedback on the federal government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic;
- Pandemic-related press releases from U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, fraud awareness resources, and agency plans for the use of pandemic-related funds.
“Today’s launch of the PRAC’s website is the first of many steps that the PRAC will take to ensure transparency and accountability regarding the federal government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. As soon as the PRAC obtains spending information and other reporting data, we will be adding it to the website and the public can follow our efforts through our new Twitter feed, @COVID_Oversight,” said Horowitz.
In addition to providing transparency concerning pandemic spending, the PRAC’s website will be regularly updated as oversight work is announced and completed by the PRAC, individual OIGs, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The website, required by Section 15010 of the CARES Act, leverages CIGIE’s existing technology infrastructure for Oversight.gov, CIGIE’s one-stop shop for oversight reports from federal Inspectors General.
The PRAC was established by the CARES Act to promote transparency and support independent oversight of the funds provided by the CARES Act and other related emergency spending bills. In addition to its coordination and oversight responsibilities, the PRAC is tasked with supporting efforts to "prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement [and] mitigate major risks that cut across program and agency boundaries."
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