Agency hands out federal cash in Alaska but does nothing to make sure it's spent properly

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An obscure federal commission has funneled $47 million to 21 towns in Alaska but is doing little to oversee how the money, which came with strings attached intended to wean the recipients off of federal dependency, was spent.

In fact, instead of monitoring recipients for 40 years, the commission shreds contract paperwork outright after three years.

The Denali Commission pays for fuel tanks in Alaskan towns in return for their promising to save a certain amount of money annually towards buying new ones themselves when the federally-funded one reaches its end of life.

But the commission appears to have little interest in how the money is spent or in moving the villages towards self-sufficiency, according to a Dec. 2 letter from Mike Marsh, the commission's inspector general.

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