Jan 6

Wildlife Services: Leaked Audit Shows Fiscal Confusion

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Via NRDC’s Melissa Waage:

 

An unreleased, internal audit at USDA’s secretive Wildlife Services division uncovered big accounting problems, including $12 million missing from its coffers, the LA Times revealed yesterday. This new information comes as USDA’s Inspector General prepares to conduct a congressionally-requested audit of the agency’s practices.

The Times reports that

The [internal Wildlife Services] audit found the agency’s accounting practices were “unreconcilable,” lacked transparency and violated state and federal laws. Further, the audit revealed that $12 million in a special account could not be found.*

On the one hand, this internal review is a responsible first step. For years, non-profit watchdogs and members of Congress have been trying to untangle Wildlife Services’ opaque funding stream. We know that a combination of federal tax dollars and payments directly from special interests like Big Agriculture enables USDA’s Wildlife Services division to kill hundreds of thousands of wild animals each year. But the agency has consistently resisted explaining how, exactly, it spends its budget, and who actually benefits from expensive tactics like shooting wolves from helicopters.

But on the other hand–why the continued secrecy? Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, a long-time critic of Wildlife Services, has repeatedly been in contact with the agency about funding details. Yet he had to hear about the internal audit from the LA Times.

“The last time I tried to get more specific financial information, they just blew me off and said they couldn’t provide that,” DeFazio said in an interview. “Yet, at the same time, they were undertaking this audit. So, the managers were, at best, disingenuous, and at worst, undertaking a coverup.”

Wildlife Services told the Times that “the agency [has] already begun to carry out changes recommended in the audit.” Of course, Wildlife Services has released neither the audit results, nor a plan to remedy any failures identified. The public release of this information would be a laudable step towards improving the agency’s fiscal transparency.

Sacramento Bee reporter and Wildlife Services watchdog Tom Knudson has posted a leaked copy of the audit here. We’ll be taking a closer look at what it reveals about government wildlife killing in future posts.

*The leaked audit’s conclusions about Wildlife Services’ cost-benefit analysis problems echo those of an NRDC-commissioned report released in 2012. Our report found that “most economic analyses of predator control done by Wildlife Services …are inconsistent with economic analysis guidelines used by most federal agencies,” and often contain fundamental accounting errors.

Upon its release in 2012, NRDC shared this report with the director of USDA-Wildlife Services and expressed our interest in discussing the results and recommendations with agency staff. Wildlife Services hasn’t yet taken us up on this offer, but it still stands.


This post originally appeared on NRDC’s Switchboard blog: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mwaage/wildlife_services_leaked_audit.html

10 Comments on Wildlife Services: Leaked Audit Shows Fiscal Confusion

  1. jerry collins says:

    Hold on guys……..Easy solution here. In an effort to balance the budget, eliminate wildlife services altogether. They’re totally worthless, expensive and detrimental to society as a whole. Hmmmmm…..lets see who else fits that criteria……Congress, Senate, FDA, EPA, BATF, NSA,…..Wow…I could get this country outta debt real quick.

  2. GC says:

    Do the American Public and American Wildlife a BIG FAVOR and dismantle this secretive, sick agency immediately! What other federally funded jobs pay their employees to fuel their cruel addictions day in and day out?

  3. Dominique Osh says:

    About time! This will be the beginning of a system overhaul, of an agency gone rouge with tax payer’s funds for a bloodlust for killing.

  4. Rhonda Lanier says:

    If a member of Congress cannot get an answer from this rogue branch of the federal government, I don’t know what further proof is needed that US Fish & Wildlife Service is intentionally operating beneath the radar of accountability and responsibility, and has every intention of continuing to do so! Thank you Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon! We, the American Taxpayer, stand with you and demand answers. We will NOT be blown off any longer! Heads up, Sally Jewell and Dan Ashe. Oh, and you can add President Obama to this list!

    • April Lane says:

      Agreed Rhonda-as one who supported Obama and Jewell both, I am sorely disappointed at their policies toward our wildlife. Time to blow this wide open!!

  5. HELENA says:

    I HOPE GOD IN HEAVEN STRIKES ALL OF THESE CORRUPTERS, DEALING WITH WILD LIFE LIVES, AND STEALING OUR $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ DONATED TO THESE DEMON CO HORTS, IF I LIVED WHERE ALL THIS IS TAKING PLACE I WOULD HAVE FRIENDS STRIKING EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU GORY TAUNTING SCUMBAGS DEAD

    • Pete says:

      So would I, Helena. So would I. No method would be off-limits. Anything goes. Bring ‘em to justice one way or another.

  6. Pingback: Wildlife Services: Leaked Audit Shows Fiscal Confusion | Exposing the Big Game

  7. Guy Smith says:

    What is the US Atty. General Eric Holder, and his team of ‘crack’ investigators doing these days?!!! They ought to be sinking their fangs into this case of potential fraud, and embezzlement! I guess internal corruption is the rule during this administration! Soon, the public will revolt against these scum, and then there will be retribution, and hopefully “Justice for ALL”!!!

  8. Gloria Kersey says:

    High time they were held accountable for tne mass killing of our wildlife andwho benefits from this horror! Transparency is a must!

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