WASHINGTON, Aug 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department's
internal watchdog has launched an audit into its $115 million
contract with General Dynamics to build its new grant management
software, which since its launch has been plagued by
technological glitches and caused delays in funding criminal
The audit by Inspector General Michael Horowitz was
announced just a few weeks after Reuters first reported https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-47-billion-grant-programs-tech-woes-take-toll-justice-groups-2021-07-12
about the system's technology woes and Senator Charles
Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican,
called on Horowitz to launch an investigation. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/top-us-senator-demands-inquiry-into-justice-dept-grants-system-2021-07-21
In a tweet, Grassley welcomed the audit, saying grantees and
taxpayers "need accountability."
The software program, known as "JustGrants," manages the
Justice Department's $4.7 billion portfolio of grants that fund
everything from body-worn cameras for police to transitional
housing for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking
Built by General Dynamics Corp under a contract with
a $115 million ceiling price, JustGrants was intended to
consolidate the grants in one place and be compatible with a new
government-wide payment system. To date, the Justice Department
has spent about $70 million on it.
Reuters interviewed more than a dozen Justice Department
employees and grant award winners who said the system has been
plagued with severe technological problems which have made it
hard to apply for grants or upload documents required in order
to be permitted to draw down funds.
In some cases, award winners reported facing months of
delays getting their funding.
In announcing the audit, Horowitz's office said it will
review the department's transition to the JustGrants system, how
it has administered its contract with General Dynamics and
whether the company has complied with the contract terms and
with federal rules.
A General Dynamics spokesman said the company was working
closely with the department "to deliver a modernized JustGrants
system" and the work was being completed "in line with the
implementation roadmap and schedule" laid out by the Justice
A Justice Department spokesman had no immediate comment.
The Justice Department has previously acknowledged the
system has problems, but said it was unaware of cases in which
grantees had not received their funding.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Howard Goller)