Sens. John Kerry [D-Mass.] and Olympia J. Snowe [R-Maine], chairman and ranking member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, today announced that they are investigating the management of the National Veterans Business Development Corporation [Veterans Corporation], a nonprofit organization created by Congress in 1999.
The purpose of the Veterans Corporation was to “. . . establish and maintain a network of information and assistance centers for use by veterans and the public.” However, despite receiving enough money to fund three veterans business resource centers in St. Louis, Mo., Boston, Mass., and Flint, Mich., the Veterans Corporation has failed to provide adequate center funding. As a result, the St. Louis center announced today that it expects to close its doors in April.
Sens. Kerry and Snowe have been pressing the Veterans Corporation to fund veterans business resource centers since September, and began investigating the group in December.
In fiscal year 2007, the Veterans Corporation was funded at $1.5 million, from which the three centers received a total of $470,000. In fiscal year 2008, the Veterans Corporation received $1.4 million, yet only granted a total of $135,000 to the St. Louis and Flint centers – not enough for them to remain operational.
“We are determined to continue the fight for economic opportunity for veterans who have made tremendous sacrifices for our country,” Kerry and Snowe said in a joint statement. “Congress created the Veterans Corporation nine years ago to establish and maintain veterans business resource centers that would help our veterans start or expand businesses. The closing of the center in St. Louis underscores our deep concern that the Veterans Corporation has abandoned their mission.
"We have been pressing the Veterans Corporation to fund veterans business resource centers since September. As the leaders of the committee with jurisdiction over the Veterans Corporation, we began collecting information in December, and will announce the results of our investigation later this year.”
Below are letters to the Veterans Corporation from Sens. Kerry and Snowe:
* February 11, 2008: http://www.sbc.senate.gov/lettersout/080211-NVBDCBlackwell-FY08grant.pdf
* December 21, 2007: http://www.sbc.senate.gov/lettersout/071219-NVBDCBlackwell-TVCfunds.pdf
* September 21, 2007: http://www.sbc.senate.gov/lettersout/070921-BlackwellVeteransBDCgrants.pdf
GoodBiz113's take: We need, and deserve, more bipartisan efforts such as this to hold all federal agencies and their funded entities accountable for U.S. taxpayers' dollars.
Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
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