MADISON – Today, the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) released its Single Audit (report 22-5), which evaluated state agencies’ administration of $20.8 billion in federal financial assistance during fiscal year (FY) 2020-21. Although state agencies generally complied with federal requirements, LAB qualified its opinion on compliance for certain requirements related to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program at the Department of Administration (DOA), and for certain requirements related to the Unemployment Insurance Program at the Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

The State was required to separately identify the federal funding it expended in FY 2020-21 related to the public health emergency, including funding provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In the Schedule of Expenditure of Federal Awards, which is included in report 22-5, the State reported that it spent $6.6 billion largely through six programs, including Unemployment Insurance at DWD and the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) administered by DOA.

“Since FY 19, there has been an increase of over $8.4 billion in federal funding to the State of Wisconsin, dramatically increasing the budgets of many programs. This report, the annual Single Audit, is the foundation of accountability for the expenditure of federal funds in Wisconsin. As the findings of this audit identified, there are several areas of deficiency that need to be address by the Administration to avoid potential improprieties, such as unallowable payments and noncompliance. I look forward to continuing to identify improvements in programs that had received pandemic-related federal funding, which is currently being audited at the direction of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee after unanimous approval several months ago,” said Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay).

Overall, LAB made 25 recommendations to improve the administration of federal programs and to address weaknesses in internal controls over financial reporting that LAB identified in its audit of the State’s FY 2020-21 financial statements (report 21-23). In total, 9 of the 25 recommendations made by LAB were related to DHS and 7 were related to DOA.

“The Single Audit is a critical tool for legislative oversight of the executive branch. With the dramatic increase of federal funds flowing to the state in COVID-19 response, it is more important than ever to make sure the state is complying with federal requirements and has appropriate controls,” said Representative Kerkman (R-Salem Lakes). “Together with additional audits of supplemental federal funding approved by the Joint Audit Committee in February, this provides an important opportunity for review and improvement. I appreciate the substantial work performed well by our Legislative Audit Bureau.”

In report 22-5, LAB also identified $314,531 in questioned costs that state agencies charged inappropriately to federal funds, including $215,480 in expenditures charged to the Medical Assistance Program.

Report 22-5 is submitted to the federal government, which will follow-up with state agencies to resolve LAB’s findings. Copies of LAB’s report (report 22-5) may be obtained from its website at www.legis.wisconsin.gov/lab or by calling (608) 266-2818. To report fraud, waste, or mismanagement concerns related to state government activities, call LAB’s toll-free hotline at 1‑877‑FRAUD‑17.

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