In a District That Does Not Exist
BY MICHAEL NOYES
Two days after reports that the government-funded website to track the stimulus showed money going to non-existent congressional districts in Montana the error has been corrected.
On Monday, Ed Pound, director of communications for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board which oversees the recovery.gov site, told the Montana Policy Institute the erroneous information would remain in place until the next scheduled update in January.
However, the errors attracted national media attention as phantom congressional districts were reported in every state in the nation along with four American territories.
In Montana, the state’s lone Congressman Denny Rehberg (R) spoke on the House floor about the reporting errors.
“Montana, of course, has only one district,” Rehberg said. “Yet the federal government spent $372,000 to create one single job in Montana’s non-existent eighth congressional district. Our imaginary sixteenth district did better with 32.5 jobs. Only a bureaucrat would count half a job in a district that does not exist.”
On Wednesday afternoon a review of the recovery.gov site showed all jobs and stimulus spending had been placed in one district labeled “00.” A spokesman for Rehberg’s office said 00 is an accounting tool used to designate at-large districts.
A national survey of numbers by the news site watchdog.org showed a total of $6.4 billion was allocated to 440 non-existent congressional districts as listed on recovery.gov.
Pound did not immediately return a phone message requesting comment.
—Montana Policy Institute