2es Ebe.//E qs- o/ 77 DocUENT RESUME 04037 - fr 30142931 rReview o0 the Distribution of Announcements cf Funding Planning Tarqets a. d Certain Other Aspects of tha Local Public Works Proqram . CED-77-139; B-126652. October 25, 1977. beleased November 1, 1977. 3 pp. rkport to Rep. Joseph M. MrcDade; by Botert F. Keller, Acting Compt rol er eneral. Issue Area: Federally Sponscred or Assisted Employment and Traininq Programs (3200). Cou-tact: community and Economic Deve.cpment Div. budq-t Fur.ction: General Go-trnment: legislativeW Functions (801), General Government: Executive Direction aind Manaaqement (802). Orqanization concerned: Economic Development Administration. conqresslinal Relevance: Rep. Joseph M. McDads. Authority: Local Public Works Capital Development and Investment Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-369; P.L. 95-28). The Local Public Works Capital Devfcl¢ent and Inivestmernt Act of 1976 authorized fundin oaf $2 billion to make qrants to State and local governments tor constructing cr renovatinq public tdcilities and an amendmert authorized an auditional $4 billion. Ir distrihutirg the additional funds, the concmic Development Administration (ECA) made allccations to the States and established planning targets fct substate areas based primarily on unemployment statistics. raininqs/Conclusiors: The Flanning targets estatlished for Lackawanna County and the city of Scranton, Pennsylvaiia, were developed in accordance with the agency's .rocedures and were calculated accurately. A Fede :al official asserted that annicuncements ot the substatP area planning targets ware nct prov;ded to a New Jersey priitical candidate days before the scntedultd release date, as alleged, kut it would have been ptssible for a knowledgeable individual to have calculated planr.inq targets on his own. In reference to an alidgaticn that announcements of planning targets made available to mere maruers or conqress of one political party ind the press befcre information was provided to remaining Members, an official. stated that announcements were hand delivered to as m-any Members as time permitted and the remainder brcught tc house and Senate aailioows. Pliority was given to chairmen ct committees involved in proqram iegislation, then ranking minority memzbss or such comilttees, and then to individual Members invclved-in program !.eqisliaion. In delivering announcements tc remaining Members, Democratic party members were someti' e given £reZerence in keepinq with the practice during pricr administrations. recommendations: The Assista.t Secretary for 1coneoic 3evelopment shouid require that information regarding the opera .ion of EDA's programs should te distributed to Memters of ionqLtss wlthout regalrd to political party. (Author/HTW) COMPTROLL-. GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES WASHINGTON. DC. U B-126652 October 2!, 1977 CO WdTRITIlED _ Net to be released eutlid Oh G-nml ,>4- GAsoofningl Oft*e**xlt on the basis of spe¢ie IPferopmt C~ e 6~by the Offee Genlre senra Roettiors The Honorable OJceph M. McDade House of Representatives Dear Mr. McDade; Pursuant to your June 10, 1977, letter and subsequent agreements with your office, we reviewed the funoing planning targets established for Lackawanna County and the City of Scranton by the Department of Comnnerce's Economic Development Administration under the local public works program and the distribution of announcements of the planning targets. This report supplements the information provided to your cffice on June 24 and 30. Also, your letter asked tnat we inquire into the policies and procedures the agency followed in allocating funds under the second round of the local public works program. We are currently reviewing the poli- cies and procedures the agency followed in round one of the program and plan to ihake a detailed review of its effectiveness. Our effectiveness review will Loircide with the completion of a sThstantial portion of the projects bfegun under round one. As we advised Fur office, we will in- clude in this review your concerns relating to the adequacy and fairness of the me;hod used by the agency in allocating funds under round two of the program. The Local Public Works Capital Development and Investment Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-369), enacted on July 22, 1976, authorized funding of $2 billion for a local public works program to make grants to States and local governments for 100 percent of the cost of constructing or renovat- ing public facilities. The 1976 act was amended oy Public Law 95-28 to, among other things, authorize an additional $4 billion for the program. In distributirg these adoitional moneys, the agency allocated funds to th- States and established planning targets for substate areas based primaril) or, numbers of unemployed and unemp.oyment rates. Our review of the planning targets established for Lackawanna County and the City of Scranton showed that they were developed in accordance with the agency's procedures and were calculated accurately. We also verified the planning target. developed for two other counties and cities CED-77-139 (06905) B-126652 in Pennsylvania. The details concerning the procedures the agency followed in establishing th:se planning targets were provided to your office on June 30, 1977. Regarding the allegation that the announcements of the sub:;tcte area planning targets were provided a candidate involved in the New Jersey governor's race days before the scheduled release date, the Dep .y Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Operations told us that, to the best of his knowledge, the allegation was not correct. He pointed out, however, that it would have been possible for someone knowledgeable about the details of the prograni to have calculated planning targets on his own. Regarding the agency's distribution of the announcements of the substate area planring targets, it was alleged that the announcements were made available to all Members of Congress of one political party and the press before any information was provided to the remaining Members of :ongress. An agency offic;al told us that on June 8, 1977, agency personnel hand delivered planning target announcements to as many individual Members of Congress as time would allow and that those which could not be hand delivered were brought to the House and Senate mailrooms for either pick up that day or delivery the following day. The official told us further that in delivering the ennruncements, the following priority order was followed --House and Senate chairmen of committees and subcommittees involved in program legislation; --ranking minority members of House and Senate cominmittees and subcommittees involved in program legislation; and --individual Members of Congress involved in program legislation, such as members of co:mittees and subcom- mittees, and others known to be highly interested in the program. The official stated that in delivering the announcements to the remaining Members of Congress, members of the Democratic party were given preference in some instances. This, she said, was in keeping with the practice the agency followed during prior administrations. The official stated that it should be noted that the planning target information brought to the House and Senate mailrooms was available to the individual Members, consequently she considered that the information 2 B-26652 was available to every Member of Congress, regardless of party, on the same day. She said that the agency did not make the information avail- able to the press until the following day, June 9, 1977. According to the agency official, no records were mdintained on either the napies or numbers of the Members of Congress to whom the planning target information was hand delivered. CONCLUSIONS Because of the lack of records showing who received hand delivery of the planning target information, it is not possible to assess the significance of the agency's actions. We believe the practice of giving preference to one political party over another in distributing informa- tion to individual Members of Congress is inherently unfair. RECOMMENDATION Accordingly, we recommend that the Secretary of Commerce direct the Assistant Secretary for Economic Development to require that information regarding the operation of the Economic Development Administration's programs be distributed to Members of Congress without regard to politi- ca'l party. AGENCY COMMENTS In commenting on our recommendation, the Assistant Secretary for Economic Development stated that the agency will review its practices and procedures to determine if changes are needed. This report contains a recommendation to the Secretary of Commerce. As you know, section 236 of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 requires the head of a Federal agency to submit a written statement on actions taken on our recommendations to the House Conmittee on Government Operations and the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs not later than 60 days after the date of the report and to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations with the agency's first request for appro- priations made more than 60 days after the date of the report. We will contact your office in the near future to arrange for release of the report so that the requirements of section 236 can be set in motion. Sincerely yours, ACTING ComptrOller General of the United S'ates -3-
Review of the Distribution of Announcements of Funding Planning Targets and Certain Other Aspects of the Local Public Works Program
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-10-25.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)