Are There Controls in Place to Ensure Allocated Funds are not Redirected for Other Purposes?
Allocation of funds associated with passed legislative actions is engrained in the operations of the federal government. With this allocation comes the responsibility of each executive department and agency to manage the funds they receive to ensure they are dispersed to the activity for which they have been assigned. We have heard much about the need for Congress to appropriate the necessary funds associated with each legislative activity. Creating a budget is the culmination of this action.
Each executive department and agency has both a legal and moral responsibility to properly disperse the funds they receive. There have been several cases where money has been given to various functions/programs but the traceability of the funds in part does not exist. Billions of tax dollars are allocated through the budgetary process but mismanagement of funds by the federal government and sometimes state governments cannot be denied.
All citizens’ not just voters expect that tax dollars will reach the activity for which they were intended and while there may be some gray areas the lack of transparency within the federal government has reached a new level. If there is a process, and there should be, to track the expenditure of funds it does not appear to be working. Executive departments and agencies have distinct responsibilities but Congress is not off the hook in this process. It is clear Congress needs to step up to monitor the expenditure of funds as is there responsibility as part of the checks and balance system of government we have under the Constitution.
Examples of scandals which have surfaced such as the IRS, Department of Homeland Security and Fast and Furious clearly indicate a mismanagement of funds. Scandals represent unauthorized activity by using tax dollars not intended for such purposes. Congress has the distinct responsibility to ensure the proper allocation of funds involving the responsibilities of the federal government according to the Constitution. In the past this process has become political in nature and it is now to some extent.
Congress has a difficult task within the next 10 days to establish some sort of budget either short term or long term. Many issues are on the table which needs to be addressed and these will not be resolved in the next 10 days. Individuals who have been newly elected to serve the next two years should have the right to determine a long term budget; this is why they have been elected. The public based on the results of the election in November are unhappy with the way government has been spending their money and want some traceability associated with the tax dollars government is receiving.
The culture or frame of mind of many of the newly elected individuals will definitely have an impact on the actions to be taken by the new Congress and for that it is a welcome change. The process for transparency of funds given to the executive branch needs to be revamped so the public can once again have a positive perspective of Congress and the federal government as a whole. The next two years will be interesting to say the least with one party in control of Congress and another in control of the White House. It is hoped that agreements will be reached on issues which have some common ground but it does not mean Congress should approve everything being requested either by the President or departments and agencies. Congress is the check on decisions being made by the executive department and that check needs to be revitalized. Funds allocated by Congress if they are used for a different purpose violates the decisions made by Congress within the budget it creates.