The federal government could save $87 billion if its agencies followed the recommendations of their own watchdogs, according to a congressional report obtained by McClatchy.
Agency inspectors general, who audit and investigate government waste, have made more than 15,000 recommendations that have been ignored across the federal government, the report says.
The report, which is to be made public Monday, was overseen by Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
Among the ignored recommendations are 2,000 for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to its inspector general – including some that had not been implemented for up to 15 years.
The Pentagon inspector general reported that the Department of Defense could save $33 billion if it heeded all recommendations, the report said.
“The numbers show that the Executive Branch would likely improve the effectiveness of its operations – and save taxpayer money – by implementing recommendations made by the IG community,” the report said.
The report, which was based on the responses of 72 inspectors general, said eight inspectors general are stymied by their agencies who refuse to give them the documents they request for audits or investigations.
The Peace Corps and the Justice Department blocked their inspectors general from accessing certain documents based on their policies, the report said.
Other agencies that are singled out for criticism for ignoring the advice are:
-- The Department of Health and Human Services, which is potentially wasting $23 billion, in part by not tackling improper hospital payment rates.
-- The U.S. Postal Service, which could save $7 billion.
-- The Social Security Administration, which is said to be wasting more than $5 billion.
In many cases, the inspectors general have suggested changes that “appear straightforward and easy to implement,” the report said.
The Air Force, for instance, was told to better track its contracts in Asia and recover any outstanding money it was owed. Six years later, the inspector general reported that the Air Force had not followed the recommendation, which was a potential waste of more than $24 million.
In other cases, the recommendations could prevent crimes, the report said. The Peace Corps, for instance, has refused to heed the advice of its inspector general, which has pushed for changes to sexual assault policies.