The White House's reporting on stimulus spending is under attack -- with its website -- Recovery.Gov -- citing spending in congressional districts that don't exist.
Brooksville Republican Ginny Brown-Waite says she checked the website to see that "Democrats have spent $3,582,587 to create 5 jobs in Florida’s 86th congressional district. In the fighting 53rd they spent $460,000 of your taxpayer dollars to create zero jobs." (Florida, Brown-Waite notes for the record, has just 25 congressional districts.)
"The truthiness of the President’s claims is mind boggling," she says. "How can we expect the administration to run stimulus when they can’t even run a website?"
The White House told ABC News -- which initially reported the phenom -- that 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 Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. Pound said the board receives declarations from the recipients - state governments, federal agencies and universities - of stimulus money about what program is being funded.
"Some recipients clearly don't know what congressional district they live in, so they appear to be just throwing in any number."
Not every GOP'er is fuming at numbers for fake districts: Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart said the website shows that 180 jobs have been "saved or created" in his district, "after an infusion of over $140,000,000. This brings the total cost per job 'saved or created' to more than $800,000 of taxpayer funds."
"I am appalled at the dismal failure of the so-called ‘stimulus’ bill," Diaz-Balart said. "The legislation has created very few jobs, and the American people are left footing the bill for this wasteful and ill-conceived spending program."
Republicans aren't the only ones steamed about the mistakes. House Appropriations chair David Obey, D-Wisconsin, fired off an angry e-mail, calling the inaccuracies "outrageous" and saying the administration "owes itself, the Congress, and every American a commitment to work night and day to correct the ludicrous mistakes.
"Credibility counts in government and stupid mistakes like this undermine it," Obey said. "We’ve got too many serious problems in this country to let that happen.
"We designed the Recovery Act to be open and transparent and I expect the the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, who oversees the recovery act web site and data to have information that is accurate, reliable and understandable to the American public. Whether the numbers are good news or bad news, I want the honest numbers and I want them now."