the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Presidential Memorandum Regarding Finding and Recapturing Improper Payments


SUBJECT: Finding and Recapturing Improper Payments

My Administration is committed to reducing payment errors and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in Federal programs -- a commitment reflected in Executive Order 13520 of November 20, 2009, Reducing Improper Payments. Executive departments and agencies should use every tool available to identify and subsequently reclaim the funds associated with improper payments. Thorough identification of improper payments promotes accountability at executive departments and agencies; it also makes the integrity of Federal spending transparent to taxpayers. Reclaiming the funds associated with improper payments is a critical component of the proper stewardship and protection of taxpayer dollars, and it underscores that waste, fraud, and abuse by entities receiving Federal payments will not be tolerated.

Today, to further intensify efforts to reclaim improper payments, my Administration is expanding the use of "Payment Recapture Audits," which have proven to be effective mechanisms for detecting and recapturing payment errors. A Payment Recapture Audit is a process of identifying improper payments paid to contractors or other entities whereby highly skilled accounting specialists and fraud examiners use state-of-the-art tools and technology to examine payment records and uncover such problems as duplicate payments, payments for services not rendered, overpayments, and fictitious vendors. (A Payment Recapture Audit as used in this memorandum shall have the same meaning as the term "recovery audit" as defined in Appendix C to Office of Management and Budget Circular A-123.) One approach that has worked effectively is using professional and specialized auditors on a contingency basis, with their compensation tied to the identification of misspent funds.

Therefore, I hereby direct executive departments and agencies to expand their use of Payment Recapture Audits, to the extent permitted by law and where cost-effective. The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) shall develop guidance within 90 days of the date of this memorandum on actions executive departments and agencies must take to carry out the requirements of this memorandum. The guidance may require additional actions and strategies designed to improve the recapture of improper payments, including, as appropriate, agency-specific targets for increasing recoveries. The Director of the OMB shall further coordinate with the Council for Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency to identify an appropriate process for obtaining review by Inspectors General of the effectiveness of agency efforts under this memorandum. The agencies' expanded use of Payment Recapture Audits does not preclude Offices of Inspectors General from performing any activities to identify and prevent improper payments.

Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to require the disclosure of classified information, law enforcement sensitive information, or other information that must be protected in the interests of national security.

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Director of the OMB is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.