Special Inspector General on Iraq Democracy Grants to IRI and NDI

“During our review of the costs for seven grants, we found that only 41% of
the grant funds were actually spent on direct program activities. More than
60% of IRI’s expenditures and almost 50% of NDI’s expenditures were for
security and overhead costs; mostly security. NDI spent almost one third of
its funds on security, and IRI spent more than one half of its funds on
security. Thus, only approximately $47 million of the approximately
$114 million was spent on direct program activities.”

The overall subject of the audit was almost $250M in grants to have been supervised by the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor.  Hugely dislocating sums relative to what the US spends on democracy work in places like Kenya.  Sudan was number two while I was at IRI, but Iraq was by far the largest dollar program, and surely the “bill payer” for Washington overhead.

On The Cable blog at Foreign Policy Josh Rogin reported the release, and was promptly insulted by a commenter, in much the same terms used to insult New York Times reporters Mike McIntire and Jeffrey Gettleman for writing about IRI’s Kenya exit poll fiasco (see Page “The Kenyan Election and the US Exit Poll” above, and Documents and Stories links on your right). The personal insults were immediately preceded by “IRI” posting a link to IRI’s  response to the audit.

The whole report is here: SIGIR: DOS Grant Management–Limited Oversight of IRI, NDI Grants

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