Politics

Republicans Demand Audit of Obama's Stimulus Spending

Four Republican lawmakers demanded an audit of President Obama's $787 billion stimulus program on Wednesday following reports of exaggerated or inaccurate accounts of the number of jobs created.

Reps. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, Jack Kingston of Georgia, Mark Souder of Indiana and Jeff Miller of Florida called for the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the effects of the stimulus bill.

"It's time for Congress to demand answers on behalf of the hardworking taxpayers that we represent," Wilson said. "The misnamed stimulus is one of the largest spending bills in our nation's history and it is critical that American taxpayers receive adequate answers as to the whereabouts of stimulus funds."

Wilson's bill would create a 10-member panel appointed by the president and congressional leaders that would determine how many jobs have been created and the effectiveness of measures taken to prevent improper payments. Then the commission would recommend what changes could be made to save or create more jobs and prevent mismanagement of the funds.

The call for an audit came as news broke that a public relations firm headed by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's former campaign strategist, received nearly $6 million in stimulus funds to save three jobs -- a report Penn's company called  "fundamentally inaccurate."

"I cannot fathom how Hillary Clinton's pollster received $6 million to preserve just three jobs when that could sustain dozens of South Carolina's families for life," Wilson said.

Kingston and Miller took aim at the White House's recovery.org Web site, which has come under fire for claiming that the stimulus has led to 640,000 jobs, a figure that could be overstated by at least 20,000 according to numerous reviews.

"What do you get for $18 million? The Obama administration's Web site that creates phony congressional districts and fishy jobs numbers," Kingston said. "It's time to pull back the curtain and get some of that transparency and accountability promised on the campaign trail."

Miller said the Web site listed the creation of 98 jobs in two districts that don't exist.

"How can the administration expect us to trust their dubious jobs created numbers when they can't even manage their own Web site?" he said. "We need an audit of this spending immediately."

Souder renewed an attack on Obama officials who claimed the stimulus would keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent. The rate is currently at 10 percent.

"I am pleased to join Congressman Joe Wilson on this important legislation to put an end to this unaccountable stimulus spending spree," Souder said. "During this time of economic recession, Hoosier taxpayers deserve to know where and how their dollars are being spent."