High Cost of Investigating Fraud in Obama's Stimulus Package

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Waste Not Want Not

Federal investigators reportedly have received more than 730 allegations of waste and fraud in stimulus act funding so far.

The Washington Times reports as much as 60 percent of some agencies' oversight budgets will go to policing the $862 billion being spent on various projects. The Recovery Act set aside $205 million for auditors to root out fraud. The inspector generals said they have sent 19 cases to U.S. attorneys, three cases to the IRS and two to the FBI so far.

The inspector general at the housing department predicts that fraud reports will likely increase as more grant money is received.

Still Hungry

A United Nations report says up to half of the food aid intended for the millions of hungry people in Somalia is being diverted to corrupt contractors, radical Islamic militants, and local U.N. workers.

The report by the U.N. Security Council is particularly critical of the U.N.'s own World Food Program and recommends an independent investigation.

However, that could be difficult because the U.N.'s ability to conduct investigations was badly damaged last year when it closed its special anti-corruption unit. An Associated Press analysis found there was not a single significant fraud or corruption case completed in 2008 compared with an earlier average of 150 cases a year investigated by the task force.

The Big House

A follow-up to a story we brought you here on the grapevine. The wife of Michigan Democratic Congressman John Conyers has been sentenced to just over three years in prison.

Former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers tried to withdraw her guilty plea in a corruption case, but the judge refused to allow it. Conyers says she was badgered into confessing that she took bribes from a company seeking a city contract. She plans to appeal.

Drunk Crossing

And finally, officials in one Romanian town are trying to reduce the number of car accidents involving drunk pedestrians.

So they've installed road signs with the words "attention - drunks" that show a figure crawling along with a bottle in hand.

Says the mayor: "We have to target the drivers — because by the time they get to this state — the pedestrians are beyond caring."

Fox News Channel's Lanna Britt contributed to this report.