Working for a better economy, better governance and a better society

by Malia Zimmerman 

Hawaii received $2,284,000 of federal stimulus funds for the 11the Congressional district, $40,903,941 for the 15th Congressional district, $1,651,811 for the “00” Congressional district, and $799,656 in the 99th congressional district creating a combined “3.4” jobs or $13,423,355 per job, according to the federal government’s transparency web site for stimulus funds,http://www.Recovery.gov/.

However, Hawaii has just two congressional districts, 1 and 2.

Those districts received $592,211,484 and $174,075,308 respectively, according to the federal web site, creating combined total of 1,541.5 jobs.

See the full report on Hawaii here: http://www.recovery.gov/Transparency/StateSummaries/Pages/statesummary.aspx?StateCode=HI

Media inquires to the governor’s office, the state budget office, Hawaii’s US Senators’ office, and the Recovery.gov web site manager this morning about the $45,639,408 allocated to four phantom districts has so far has yielded two responses.

US Sen. Daniel Akaka’s spokesperson, Jesse Van Dyke Broder, says the allocation report most likely has a “clerical” error. He says his office will alert the White House to the problem.

Russell Pang, spokesperson for the governor, says “Mark Anderson, who is the lead for the state on our federal stimulus funds, is sorting through this to see if he can match up what we’ve been awarded / received versus what is reported below for each district.”

Hawaii is far from the only state finding clerical errors in the Recovery.gov web site.

According to the Franklin Center report seen here – http://watchdog.org/2009/11/17/6-4-billion-stimulus-goes-to-phantom-districts/ – New Mexico Watchdog broke the story on Monday morning after finding that $26 million in stimulus money had been distributed to 13 congressional districts–ten more than the state actually has. They say similar reports soon followed from New Hampshire, Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota and West Virginia.

The White House responded on its blog today addressing the inaccuracies on the Recovery.gov web site. See the full statement here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/11/17/looking-big-picture-recovery-act

In three main points, the White House says: “First, the mistakes are RELATIVELY few, and don’t change the fundamental conclusions one can draw from the data. … Second, some of the mistakes are frustrating typos and coding errors that don’t undermine information at the heart of the data. … Third, transparency is going to be messy – but it is better than the alternative. ”

Laura Brown, researcher and reporter for Hawaii Reporter, contributed to the research for this report