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Watchdog: Follow the Money

Energy Department gave stimulus funds to politically connected drumming group, media company

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Watchdog,Michal Conger,Energy Department,Inspectors General,Waste and Fraud,Follow the Money,Energy and Environment

A group of African drummers and a Washington, D.C., media group received $630,000 in stimulus funds for energy projects despite their lack of experience, according to an audit by the Department of Energy inspector general.

The audit was first reported on by the Washington Free Beacon.

The District's Department of the Environment gave energy block grants to Prosperity Media Enterprise and African Heritage Dancers and Drummers to install, monitor and inspect energy-efficiency retrofits in eligible buildings.

"Such awards did not appear to be prudent given the lack of prior experience with energy-related work and the basic missions of these organizations," the audit said.

Prosperity's ties to former DDOE officials may have improperly influenced the award, according to the audit.

"DDOE's evaluation and selection of PME may have been improperly influenced by prior professional relationships between DDOE employees and a member of PME's team," the report said.

"Specifically, DDOE's selection of PME, which had no prior experience in energy efficiency retrofits, was based on PME's partnering with a former DDOE employee who had previously supervised two of the DDOE selection panel members."

Nineteen of 33 projects failed inspection, and the groups claimed reimbursements for 12 unfinished work projects, according to the report.

Read the full story here.

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