Elsewhere online
March 13, 2015

Aid Group Billed U.S. $1.1 Million for Parties and Retreats

Aid nonprofit International Relief and Development, which is under investigation for its use of hundreds of millions of federal dollars for projects in Iraq and Afghanistan, charged the U.S. government $1.1 million from 2007 to 2010 for staff parties and retreats at luxury resorts, writes The Washington Post.

The charges included nearly $485,000 for three gatherings of the charity's more than 100 employees at the five-star Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania, billed to the government as "training" and "staff morale" items, according to the Arlington, Va.-based charity's financial records. IRD, as the group is known, was one of the U.S. Agency for International Development's biggest contractors, receiving more than $2.4 billion since 2007, mostly for work in battle zones.

IRD curbed spending on staff events in 2010 as government auditors began looking more closely at alleged fraud and waste in Iraq and Afghanistan projects. USAID suspended IRD in January, alleging "serious misconduct" in the organization's handling of federal funds. IRD has ousted its senior leadership as part of an effort to repair its relationship with the agency.