Fraud, abuse, found with use of U.S. money against COVID-19: WP

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Fraud, abuse, found with use of U.S. money against COVID-19: WP

In the past two years, the money the U.S. government invested to fight the COVID-19 pandemic has spared the economy from ruin and put vaccines into millions of arms, but also invited unprecedented levels of fraud, abuse and opportunism, reported The Washington Post (WP) on Thursday, Reported Xinhua.

This was "the largest burst of emergency spending in U.S. history: two years, six laws and more than 5 trillion U.S. dollars intended to break the deadly grip of the coronavirus pandemic," noted WP in its report based on a year-long investigation.

"Washington cannot fully track this historic distribution of federal aid. It's clear that billions were misspent or stolen, but officials aren't sure exactly how much," said the report. "Even where wrongdoing is apparent, experts say the cash may never be recovered."

Meanwhile, with the economy in free fall, lawmakers and many agencies opted for haste over precision, opening the door for waste, fraud and abuse, it said, citing an example that the Small Business Administration rescued hundreds of thousands of firms from collapse, but it also sent billions of dollars to firms that probably shouldn't have obtained the money.

"Congress at one point sent about 500 billion dollars directly to cities, counties and states to shore up their budgets. But the money often came with few rules," it noted, adding that Republican officials, in particular, found ways to channel the funds to pet projects with no relation to the pandemic, including cutting taxes and building border walls.

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