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Dispelling stimulus myths ... what took so long?

By Ed O'Keefe

Talk about late to the party.

More than a year since the launch of the economic stimulus program and about four months since critics attacked the accuracy of spending data, the head of the panel overseeing the Obama administration's economic recovery program responded on Monday to "gratuitous criticism from some journalists and Internet grouches."

Earl Devaney, chairman of the nonpartisan Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, said he's "listened patiently" for the past year and now hopes to "bury the most publicized urban legends about the Board and the Recovery program." (Devaney and the RAT Board oversee Recovery.gov and investigates claims of waste, fraud and abuse of stimulus funding.)

Writing on his "Chairman's Corner" blog, Devaney refuted oft-repeated complaints about "phantom" Congressional districts ("These were simple clerical errors"), claims that he reports to President Obama ("We do not take orders from either the administration or Congress") and that the money is funding "stupid projects" ("We have nothing whatsoever to do with distributing funds or deciding what projects get funded").

"What’s important, considering the repeated distortions and misrepresentations, is not that the Recovery Board is being unfairly criticized," Devaney wrote. "We can take the heat. The problem is that the public’s confidence in the Board is undermined when such nonsense spreads like wildfire across the Internet. Citizens may not like what they see, but they have a right to see their government’s actions clearly."

A fair point, Earl, but where were you last year when the program launched? Why didn't you speak out then? Where were you four months ago when news reports and critics highlighted those incorrect Congressional districts?

Asked why Devaney decided to speak out now, a RAT Board spokesman simply said: "We have had a lot going on."

Still seems like too little, too late.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 23, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Tracking the Stimulus  
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Comments

Hmm. Old Earl is just full of contradictions, isn't he!

Posted by: Lilycat1 | March 23, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Let's be honest here; we all know that the biggest myth is the suggestion that the stimulus has contributed to the economy in any way. Regardless of how much cheerleading it's gotten from the press, the fact is that funding road projects three years away does nothing to stimulate the economy today.

Posted by: tomtildrum | March 23, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Phantom Congressional districts are not simple clerical errors. They are a sign that nobody in the so-called "stimulus" bureaucracy has the basic intelligence to realize that New Hampshire does not in fact have 87 congressmen and a population twice the size of California.

Posted by: corrections | March 23, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Hey, leave the guy alone...all he is doing is following along in Obama's campaign promise of a open...transparent...and accountable administration.

Posted by: connyankee1 | March 23, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey, leave the guy alone...all he is doing is following along in Obama's campaign promise of a open...transparent...and accountable administration.

Posted by: connyankee1 | March 23, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey, leave the guy alone...all he is doing is following along in Obama's campaign promise of a open...transparent...and accountable administration.

Posted by: connyankee1 | March 23, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

ONCE AGAIN "IT IS NOT MY FAULT." THIS ADMINISTRATION AND ALL OF THE HACKS CONNECTED WITH IT ARE THE MOST INCOMPETENT GROUP OF PERSONS EVER ASSEMBLED. IF ANY OF THESE PERSONS HAD TO WORK IN THE REAL WORLD THEY WOULD BE FIRED.
WHEN WE ASK "WHERE ARE THE JOBS." THEY CANNOT POINT TO ANY REAL WORTHWHILE ONES. INSTEAD WE GET MORE AND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MONEY GOING TO THE MURTHA AIRPORT, STUDIES ON THE SEX LIFE OF THE HORNED TOAD AND OTHERS. JUST WAIT UNTIL THE FED GOV. HIRES THE 16000 PERSONS NECESSARY TO ADMINISTER THE health care debacle. WIll the government call this a good example of job creation? it will be interesting to take a look at the persons hired. Will it be by ability, color or race ? OBUMA WILL PROBABLY REACH OUT TO THE MUSLIM WORLD TO STAFF THESE POSITIONS SINCE HE COMES FROM THAT BACKGROUND.

Posted by: MALBENNET | March 23, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

our politicians in new jersey passed a law not signed yet by gov.christie saying that the new jersey taxpayers do not have a say in how the stimulus money is to be spent even though the stimulus money is from the taxpayers.anyone who thinks that the corruption has ended in n.j.will have to think again these guys are pond scum.i just hope the governor and the atty.general step in and either veto this bill or have another investigation because we are tired of their idiotic ways.

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Posted by: linjian76 | March 23, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

When does the most important,- most needed, #1 Preventative- "DENTAL" go into effect? -- Without proper "DENTAL & ORAL" Health Care,- then this is still the same-ol' DISEASE & SICKNESS Plan. -- "DENTAL" PAYS BACK $3-4 FOR EVER $1 invested! -- "DENTAL" helps Prevent- Heart Disease, Diabetes, Cancers, Digestive Disorders, Depression, and many ant-Social issues. -- "DENTAL", especially for the over 60-Million Citizens Liivng in POVERTY is a "NECESSITY"!! -- What is considered necessary for CONGRESS is good & healthy for WE-the-People!! --- jward52

Posted by: jward52 | March 23, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Because Republicans rely on lies to get their people elected

They hope their lies are never actually researched on because it will show what laughable hypocrites they are

Posted by: Bious | March 23, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

The author of this "article" and many of these comments posted here reinforce Joe Klein's thoughts from Time Magazine in January - Americans Are Too Dumb To Thrive. Does anyone understand that agencies that gave out the money and the recipients that readily took it are responsible for reporting correct data? Earl Devaney spoke out months ago and continues to speak out against the fallacies that the press like to propagate in order to sell papers. There are numerous stories and links on the web for those who would like to investigate - perhaps Mr. O'Keefe should have done a little research before pulling this piece of garbage from his rectum. Mr. Devaney apparently had to put it in such simple and straightforward terms because most of the dummies out there, include the author of the article, apparently need to be beaten over the head time and time again in order to get it through their thick skulls. With journalists and citizens like this, it's no wonder we're a failing nation.

Posted by: stylites1 | March 24, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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