Report Summary

Title: VA’s Compliance with the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 Semiannual Report: September 2022
Report Number: 22-00879-236 Download
Issue Date: 9/22/2022
VA Office: Office of the Secretary
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Review
Release Type: Unrestricted

In November 2021, Congress passed the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 (Transparency Act) to provide oversight of VA’s spending of COVID-19–related emergency relief funding. To comply, VA must provide a detailed plan to Congress outlining its intent and justification for obligating and expending funds covered by the act. Additionally, the act requires VA to submit biweekly reports to Congress detailing its obligations, expenditures, and planned uses, as well as justification for any deviation from the plan. The act also requires the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) to submit semiannual reports comparing how VA is obligating and expending covered funds to the planned obligations and expenditures.

In an inaugural report, the OIG focused on whether VA’s spend plans provided to Congress on December 22, 2021, satisfied the act’s requirements. The two recommendations from that report remain open as of September 15, 2022, despite VA’s request to close the first: (1) consult with appropriate VA financial and legal officials to determine whether the use of CARES Act funds for the Beaufort National Shrine project violates the Purpose Statute and take remedial steps if a violation is found, and (2) determine the obligations to sustain essential information technology investments, update the obligation schedule as necessary, provide an updated spend plan to Congress, and include this information in future biweekly updates. In this second report, the OIG found that VA generally complied with the Transparency Act, but VA’s spend plan and biweekly reports to Congress could be improved. VA responded it was working on changes to the spend plan, expected in September 2022, and recognized manual adjustments can lead to reporting errors, but as VA implements a modern financial system management solution, it anticipates manual adjustments will decrease, thereby reducing potential errors.