The Dog Ate My ARRA Reporting

December 16, 2009

The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board has just


a list of more than 4,000 prime recipients of ARRA contracts and grants that failed to comply with the first round of reporting requirements, including data on job creation and retention.

If nothing else, the document shows the difficulty of trying to get thousands of companies, non-profit organizations and state/local government agencies to follow instructions and meet a single deadline. Since the list also includes the apparent reason for each case of non-compliance, it also provides an impressive collection of excuses for screwing up.

Here’s a selection of the self-justifications offered by these recipients of federal largesse:

The rules were to blame

A company called EnGenius said its failure to report was “due to late breaking guidance” (even though the final rules were published well before the filing deadline).

Cherry Central Cooperative and other Agriculture Department recipients complained “there was confusion about the reporting requirements vs. the exemptions that are provided for reporting salary information for top executives.” (The salary requirement applied only to very large federal contractors.)

The reporting system was flawed

All American Brothers Co. LLC: “Claimed they did not receive all the correct coding information to allow for input into stimulus template & drop down menu does not contain necessary information needed for report.” (Somehow thousands of others managed to make it work.)

The Internet was broken

CBS Surveying and Mapping and others said they did submit the data but it somehow did not get recorded by  (Didn’t they notice their data was missing from

D.E.L. Disaster Recovery Enterprise LLC: “The website was down and the recipient could not report and could not get help.” (Sounds like they need their own disaster recovery help.)

Advanced Integration Group Inc.: “Website down at time of reporting.” (And they never bothered to try again?)

I forgot to finish

Speaking of the Ruffed Grouse Society, USDA said: “Draft report submitted. Recipient was not aware they had not finalized the report.“ (The organization, whose website says it is “dedicated to hunting and conservation of young forest species,” was apparently too eager to get back to the woods.)

Interactive Elements Inc.: “Contractor inadvertently did not hit ‘submit’ to finalize its draft report in the federal reporting system.” (Yes, that interactive stuff is complicated.)

I forgot to start

Green Building Construction & Electric, Inc.: “Contractor said he simply forgot to do the report, even though contracting called and reminded him. “

Reporting requirement? What reporting requirement?

Eureka Development, LLC: “Were not aware of the ARRA reporting requirements.” (This was their non-eureka moment.)

I heard that the assignment was cancelled

Chester Bross Construction Company: “Misinformed that no reporting was required – will report 1/10. “ (I swear that’s what I heard.)

I was confused

Dell Federal Systems: “Lack of understanding of the reporting requirement and associated guidance.”

State Military Department of Indiana: “Recipient lacked understanding of Recovery Act reporting requirements.”

I was on vacation

Siku Construction, LLC: “The responsible administrator was on vacation and did not receive the e-mails and phone messages left by the awarding office.”

I was really sick

City of Pauls Valley: “Reporter Contracted H1N1, no backup.”

I’m Canadian

Nanometrics Inc.: “Contractor tried to submit report, but system won't recognize Canadian institutions. “

There was this big wave…

American Samoa Criminal Justice Planning Agency: “Grantee was given waiver due to tsunami.”

Reporting—I Don’t Need to Do Any Stinking Reporting!

Eyak Technology Limited Liability Company: “

Recipient has chosen not to report.”

(This from a firm that got an award from the Department of Homeland Security.)

You caught me

Johnson Controls Inc. and numerous other contractors for the Department of Veterans Affairs: “No valid reason discerned.” (Busted.)

Thanks to Tommy Cafcas for research help.

(reposted from the STAR Coalition website)