GAO Says More Than 50,000 Jobs Claimed From Stimulus Projects That Have Spent No Money

Accountability report finds "significant reporting and processing problems."

ByABC News
November 18, 2009, 2:04 PM

Nov. 18, 2009 -- More than 50,000 jobs, or one out of every 10 jobs the White House says were "saved or created" by their economic stimulus plan, came from projects that reported spending no money yet, according to a government report obtained by ABC News.

The report by the Government Accountability Office analyzes the administration's October 2009 report on jobs saved or created by the $787 billion stimulus program and finds a "range of significant reporting and processing problems that need to be addressed."

Even with the errors, GAO gives the Obama administration high marks for its efforts at transparency and in making so much information public in such a short period of time.

"Given the national scale of the recipient reporting exercise and the limited time frames in which it was implemented," the report says, "[] represents a solid first step in moving toward more transparency and accountability for federal funds."

It's a point echoed by Vice President Joe Biden's spokesman, Jay Carney.

"Never before in history has a federal government program been this transparent and accountable," Carney told ABC News. "Never. Not even close."

The GAO report comes on the heels of weeks of reports, including some by ABC News, that question the validity of the job creation numbers the administration's economic recovery board says were generated by the stimulus plan.

- The new GAO report finds that 58,386 of the more than 640,000 "saved or created" jobs listed on are from stimulus projects where no money has yet been spent.

- On the flip side, the report finds nearly 10,000 projects that report spending a total of $965 million without creating any jobs at all.

The report also raises questions about how closely the contracts are being monitored. Twenty-five percent of the more than 130,000 primary contracts listed were not marked as having been reviewed by any government agency, and less than 1 percent of subcontracts were reviewed.

While the administration's Web site,, provides detailed information on more than 130,000 stimulus contracts, representing 90 percent of all contracts, the GAO report says "questions remain about the other 10 percent."