The US Forest Service did not properly evaluate payments to contractors with Recovery Act money, the Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General reported, leading to about $400,000 in misspent funds.
Roughly $99 million was distributed to 90 trail maintenance projects. The inspector general found no fault in the Forest Service's awarding of the contracts, which included partnerships with local communities and youth-employment programs.
However, in a few cases Forest Service officials did not oversee whether the money was properly spent, instead relying on the contractors themselves to accurately submit claims for work completed. The inspector general found about $400,000 was paid for activities not related to the trail maintenance program.
It's not the first time this has happened. A previous investigation found the Forest Service paid $9 million in unsupported costs because they relied on reports from contractors working on a forest maintenance project. That story can be found here.