October 25, 2021

Financial Assistance Allegations at the Golden Field Office

The Office of Inspector General received allegations that a Contracting Officer from the Financial Assistance Office did not adequately oversee certain recipients’ financial assistance awards.  Specifically, it was alleged that the Contracting Officer did not: (1) ensure proper review of indirect costs prior to invoice approval; (2) independently track cumulative indirect costs during invoice reviews; (3) modify awards with indirect rate changes or for rates billed; (4) coordinate internally during project budget negotiations related to indirect costs; and (5) address adverse audit findings.  We initiated this inspection to determine the facts and circumstances regarding the alleged Contracting Officer’s inadequate oversight of financial assistance awards at the Golden Field Office.  We substantiated the allegations that the Contracting Officer did not: (1) ensure indirect costs were properly reviewed prior to approving an invoice; (2) independently track the cumulative amount of indirect costs that were reviewed and approved during the invoice process for one of two awards; (3) modify one of two awards to properly reflect indirect rate changes; and (4) follow procedures to internally coordinate during project budget negotiations for one of two awards.  However, we did not substantiate the allegation (5) that the Contracting Officer did not address adverse audit findings.  The issues we identified occurred, in part, because the Golden Field Office had inefficient coordination efforts and budget tracking procedures.  Management agreed with our findings and recommendations, and its proposed corrective actions are consistent with our recommendations.