It’s now clear why the Recovery.gov information on created/saved jobs is so comically, awesomely bad. It turns out that the data is collated from whatever the recipients of stimulus funding happened to type into a web form:
According to Ed Pound, director of communications for recovery.gov, the Web site relies on self-reporting by recipients of the stimulus money. They are required to fill out an online form with federalreporting.gov, identifying how much money they have received and how many jobs they have created or saved in the process. A drop-down menu requires them to fill in the number of their congressional district, and apparently some recipients of Recovery Act funds entered incorrect congressional district numbers in their reports.
Pound said the information from federalreporting.gov is then simply transferred to recovery.gov. . .
“We’re not certifying the accuracy of the information,” said Pound. Federal agencies can and do sometimes notice mistakes, he said, and call it to the attention of recipients, but only recipients can correct the information. . .
Asked why recipients would pluck random numbers – 26, 45, 14 – to fill in for their congressional district, Pound replied, “who knows, man, who really knows. There are 130,000 reports out there.”
So this highly-touted exercise in government transparency and accountability is basically an on-line poll. Good grief.
(Via the Corner.)