Feds unlikely to claw back Washington’s $1.1 billion in mishandled funds: Auditors

(The Center Square) – Despite a recent audit finding Washington state agencies mishandling more than $1 billion in federal COVID-19 aid, the State Auditor’s Office says it’s not common for federal departments to demand those tax dollars back from the state.

A recent report from the SAO found a record 86 issues with how 11 state agencies spent federal COVID-19 aid, noting documentation deficiencies and $1.17 billion in questioned costs in the fiscal year 2023.

The audit specifically looked at federal money being spent by Washington state government, which in the last fiscal year totaled over $29 billion. 

The nearly $1.2 billion in questioned state spending represents about 4.1% of total federal funds spent by the state in the 2023 fiscal year. However, SAO Assistant Director of Communications Adam Wilson noted that it is still uncommon for the federal government to request repayment of mishandled funds.

“In a legal sense, the
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