Feds misuse Y2K money, GAO says

Some federal agencies have not kept good records of how they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in money that Congress allocated last year for Year 2000 fixes, with some agencies spending the money on unrelated projects, according to a report released today by the General Accounting Office.

For example, at least 18 agencies made decisions to replace PCs and network hardware using Year 2000 funding. The Agriculture Department, for instance, requested $8.5 million for rural development to accelerate the replacement of PCs, according to the GAO report.

In October, GAO was asked by members of Congress to investigate how agencies were using money from the special $3.35 billion fund that Congress established to help agencies pay for Year 2000 fixes. Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas), Rep. Constance Morella (R-Md.) and Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.) requested that GAO study agencies' spending practices.

Nine federal agencies, according to the report, did not keep track of spending, and three agencies—Agriculture, State and Treasury—refused to respond to GAO's requests for information, according to Armey's office.

"Congress should expect that the money we provide to the government is spent for its intended purpose,'' Armey said in a prepared statement. "The American people deserve no less."

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