A U.S. Senator from Florida wants states, including his own, to be more “forthcoming” about how federal coronavirus relief money has been spent.
Rick Scott, along with Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, wrote letters Tuesday urging more transparency. One letter went to Senate colleagues, and the other to Scott’s former colleagues at the National Governors Association.
Scott, elected in 2018, has voiced concerns about both the debt load federal relief created, as well as a lack of transparency into their programming.
“On June 15th, we wrote every governor in the country to ask for an update on how their states have allocated funds from the CARES Act and other federal coronavirus response measures,” the letter noted.
Most states didn’t offer responses.
“We thank those states that have been forthcoming with this information. The following states and territories have responded to date: California, Guam, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont.
Senators are “disappointed in the lack of response from 42 states,” including Florida.
“Therefore, we write today to ask that you consider encouraging the remaining states to immediately share this important information, which should be readily available, if not already submitted to the federal government for oversight activities by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.”
Some of Florida’s spending is clear.
In June, $250 million of federal CARES Act funds went to bolster affordable housing in the state.
Earlier that month, $1.275 billion went to small counties around the state. This followed on federal monies totaling more than $2.472 billion going to all counties whose populations exceed 500,000 in Florida.
More than $2 billion in federal funds is earmarked to schools, to help them address “achievement gaps” that emerged in the spring as distance learning proved to be a mixed bag.