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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NH Stimulus Director responds to Phantom Congressional Districts

Orville "Bud" Fitch, Deputy Attorney General and Director of New Hampshire Office of Economic Stimulus, has responded to news this week that the federal government's Recovery.gov database has created phantom Congressional Districts across the country.

Responding to an inquiry from the Josiah Bartlett Center, Fitch says he learned about the problems with the Recovery.gov database upon returning to the state yesterday.

Preliminary information is that this may stem from reports filed by folks who received funds directly from the federal government and report directly, not through the State's process. We worked hard to ensure congressional district data was accurate on the reports filed by State ARRA fund recipients. We are attempting to identify whether the non-existent congressional district data stems from input errors from these reports filed by others or if they involve entities doing work in NH who have headquarters in other states where they have the congressional districts listed. The federal reports that recipients of ARRA funds are required to submit have fields for the Congressional District where the primary work site is and also for the Congressional District where the recipient's headquarters is located. If one is not careful during input and when reading, the two could be confused.

Fitch added that he has asked his staff to look into the errors, and determine if the faulty data came from the state reports he submits or from individual recipients. Reporter Bill McMorris has found 440 phantom districts nationwide which are listed as receiving $6.4 million from the Americand Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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