Monday, April 24, 2006

Eat, drink and pocket $8,474

Who is the woman from Rod Blagojevich's Office of Management and Budget who was improperly paid for eating, traveling and spending her work days in the city she lives in?

Things like this slip through the cracks with the media because Illinois' Auditor General has undressed the Blagojevich administration for millions of dollars of waste, abuse and possible fraud and they can't possibly keep up with all of it. Another recent finding found questionable no-bid contracts to politically connected vendors from the same OMB. Several of Democrat Bill Holland's findings have been flagrant enough to be turned over to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

This finding involves travel back and forth between Springfield and Chicago. Government in those circumstances require that a home base be declared where the employee lives. Then, the employee could be reimbursed for per diem while at locations other than the home base. This woman apparently spent lots of time in Springfield. When she went back to Chicago, where she lived, she claimed per diem for a total of $8,474. (See full report, pps. 21-22).

The Office did not exercise adequate control over its travel expenditures. We noted the following:
One employee who resides in Chicago, reported a Springfield residence on travel vouchers. This employee was incorrectly reimbursed for per diem and transportation in and around their residence, totaling $8,474.

Could it be Becky Carroll, the Blagojevich budget spokeswoman who has aggressively defended the fiscal policies of the administration despite their utter failure? If not her, who? Maybe a reporter ought to request the detail of these per diem and other expenses.

UPDATE: Now we are getting somewhere. Rich Miller says it's not Becky Carroll. Maybe he knows who overbilled taxpayers nearly $10,000 and will share the name. The Auditor General did not include the name in his audit, but the OMB response said the employee is a woman.

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