30 Jobs “Created or Saved” in a Phantom Congressional District

ABC News broke the story this week of an executive administration that, ambitious to appear in control of the economy during this steep recession, reported patently false stimulus-related employment information. The Recovery Board, a task force created to track the $787 billion in federal stimulus spending, published on its website data for jobs “created or saved” in congressional districts that don’t even exist!

In one example, the stimulus tracking website reported that 30 jobs have been “created or saved” in Arizona’s 15th congressional district. Arizona only has eight congressional districts.

Late Monday, officials with the Recovery Board created to track the stimulus spending, said the mistakes in crediting nonexistent congressional districts were caused by human error.

“We report what the recipients submit to us,” said Ed Pound, Communications Director for the Board.

Pound told ABC News the board receives declarations from the recipients – state governments, federal agencies and universities – of stimulus money about what program is being funded.

Has the government ever heard of research assistants? Fresh college grads willing to do menial tasks (like research and fact-checking) for a small pittance are in no short supply in Washington DC. Hiring a small staff of people to double-check the validity of reported numbers would be a minor cost for the Recovery Board, but it would save them the embarrassment of looking either shady and deceptive or downright incompetent.