Back to SAO Home John Keel, CPA
Texas State Auditor

SAO: Reports:
An Audit Report on Border Security Funds

An Audit Report on Border Security Funds

March 2009

Report Number 09-022

Overall Conclusion

As of November 30, 2008, the Governor's Division of Emergency Management (Division), the Department of Public Safety (DPS), and the Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) had spent approximately $79.0 million (56 percent) of the $142.3 million in state and federal funds available to them for border security operations for fiscal years 2006 through 2009. Of the $79.0 million spent, 81 percent was for expenditures related to salaries ($23.0 million), equipment ($21.5 million), and contracts ($19.3 million).

The Division's grant review process is an effective control to ensure that border security funds are used to pay for only valid costs in accordance with contracts or grants funded by Rider 60 or Rider 19.69 appropriations. The Division could improve its grant review process by ensuring that grantees submit all required supporting documentation prior to the review process to ensure the accuracy of payments. Furthermore, the Division should conduct a more thorough review of supporting documentation submitted by grantees to ensure that it identifies all payment miscalculations. As of November 30, 2008, the Division had reviewed $6.3 million of $17.2 million in Rider 60- and Rider 19.69-funded expenditures.

In addition, the Division's contracts and grants with local law enforcement and state agencies, as well as its April 2008 Local Border Security Grant Guide (Guide), permitted payments for costs that are not specifically authorized in Riders 60 or 19.69. Auditors identified $364,661 in payments that were allowed by the contracts, grants, and Guide but were not specifically authorized in Riders 60 or 19.69. In a letter dated January 23, 2008, the Governor's Office's Budget, Planning, and Policy Division authorized the Governor's Division of Emergency Management to use rider funds for additional categories of expenditures.

Rider 59 appropriated to DPS $44.4 million for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 for the enhancement of border security operations. As of November 30, 2008, DPS had spent $33.5 million on resources authorized in Rider 59; $27.5 million of that amount was spent by the Texas Highway Patrol and Aircraft Divisions. However, resources paid for with these funds were not always allocated to counties within the Texas-Mexico border region (see Appendix 3 for information on which counties are included within the State's border security operational sectors). In addition, DPS and the Division did not coordinate the allocation of certain resources paid for with Rider 59 funds to ensure that the placement of these resources was maximized to enhance border security operations.

Rider 59 did not specify where DPS should place these resources to enhance border security operations, and auditors did not evaluate the strategic value of DPS's allocation of resources. Auditors communicated other, less significant issues to the Division and DPS in writing.

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