Vice President Joe Biden delivered the keynote address at the “Focus on Recovery’’ Biennial National Procurement and Grant Fraud Conference on Tuesday, November 16, in Philadelphia.
The Vice President lauded the $787 billion economic stimulus program and the efforts of his own Recovery team, and delivered a ringing endorsement of the oversight work performed by the independent Recovery Board and its Chairman, Earl E. Devaney.
Vice President Joe Biden and
Recovery Board Chairman Earl E. Devaney
-- Photo courtesy of Tom Moyle
Speaking to the more than 500 investigators, auditors, and prosecutors who attended the three-day conference at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Vice President Biden said:
“You, and Earl Devaney at the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, have literally shifted the paradigm. You have changed the culture, from just detecting fraud and abuse,
to preventing it. Where once the focus was mainly on those who had engaged in fraud and abuse, now you are using sophisticated tools that are shining the spotlight so bright that would be-abusers don’t even try.’’
Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the presumptive chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, spoke on Wednesday, November 17. He emphasized that the independence of the Inspector General community was vital to good government.
Rep. Darrell Issa of California
“You’ve got to be the people that say the emperor has no clothes, if the emperor has no clothes,’’ he declared. “And in fact in government the emperor has no clothes a lot. There’s no question that every agency tells us how good a job they did…If not for independent research and independent investigation, we can’t get to the reality that nobody’s as
good as they say they are.’’
Later in the day, Lanny A. Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division at the Justice Department, vowed to aggressively prosecute those who defraud the Recovery program.
He said that when investigators and auditors find and report evidence of fraud to the Justice Department, “we will investigate it with you and, when the facts and the law warrant, we will not hesitate to prosecute.’’ He said: “You are the eyes and ears of our joint effort to prevent and detect Recovery Act fraud, and your presence here is evidence of your commitment to that effort.’’
Lanny A. Breuer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division at the Justice Department
The conference was co-sponsored by the Recovery Board, the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Service, and the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. Senior oversight officials participated in a number of panels focused on contract and grant fraud, the lastest audit and investigative techniques, and the role of prosecutors, auditors and investigators in developing complex fraud cases.
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