Audit of OVW questions entire $2.3M in grants to National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault

Continued insidious that US Department of Justice grants are getting scrutinized.  At some point OIG-DOJ agents and/or FBI could show investigative interest if they haven’t already. 

Audit of the Office on Violence Against Women Cooperative Agreements Awarded to the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault Canton, Connecticut

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General has completed an audit of three cooperative agreements awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), Technical Assistance Program, to the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA) located in Canton, Connecticut. SCESA was awarded $2,339,435, in total, under cooperative agreement numbers 2009-TA-AX-K001, 2011-TA-AX-K015, and 2013-TA-AX-K016. The cooperative agreements were intended to provide technical assistance to:
 (1) support the operation and build the capacity of culturally specific organizations serving victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking; (2) ensure OVW grantees in the U.S. Territories are equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to comprehensively address violence against women issues; and (3) create, enhance, and sustain the capacity of Communities of Color organizations to engage in culturally relevant approaches to addressing sexual assault in their communities.
The objective of this audit was to determine whether costs claimed under the cooperative agreements were allowable, supported, and in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, guidelines, and terms and conditions of the awards. To accomplish this objective, we assessed performance in the following areas:
(1) program performance and accomplishments, (2) award financial management, (3) award expenditures, (4) budget management and control, (5) drawdowns,
(6) federal financial reports, (7) contractor monitoring, and (8) compliance with award special conditions.
 As a result of our audit, we concluded that SCESA failed to effectively and efficiently manage the awards that we reviewed. Specifically, SCESA did not establish and maintain an effective system of internal controls; did not maintain a recordkeeping and reporting system that produced complete, accurate and reliable information that could be independently verified; had inadequate separation of duties without any compensating controls; and did not adequately safeguard the award funding that it received. We determined that SCESA had unsupported and unallowable expenditures, did not adequately monitor its approved budget, could not adequately support its drawdowns, submitted inaccurate Federal Financial Reports, lacked adequate contractor monitoring internal controls, and did not comply with award special conditions. While we found some evidence that SCESA accomplished its stated award goals and objectives, this assessment is subject to the recordkeeping and internal control deficiencies cited in this report. Lastly, we found that SCESA lacked a completed Single Audit Report, and that the organization’s Board of Directors was not active in its governance role over the organization and did not provide any meaningful oversight of the organization or its Executive Director. Because we concluded that the SCESA financial system had significant internal control deficiencies making it unreliable, we could not rely on the records SCESA provided during our audit, and we question the full amount of all the awards, totaling $2,339,435, as unsupported.
Our report contains six recommendations to OVW which are detailed in the Findings and Recommendations section of this report. Our audit objective, scope, and methodology are discussed in Appendix 1 and Our Schedule of Dollar-Related Findings appears in Appendix 2. We discussed the results of our audit with SCESA officials and have included their comments in the report, as applicable. In addition, we requested a response to our draft audit report from SCESA and OVW, and their responses are appended to this final audit report.