Auditor reviews how Kentucky spent virus-relief funds

Published 6:33 am Thursday, June 24, 2021

Kentucky spent $1.4 billion of its share of federal pandemic aid passed in early 2020 and had $150 million left unspent through March of this year, the state auditor’s office said.

Auditor Mike Harmon’s report Wednesday focused on Kentucky’s use of CARES Act funding.

Nearly 30% of the amount spent by Kentucky through March was in a category referred to as “qualified government expenditures,” Harmon said.

That category is so broad it doesn’t offer much insight into how the funds were spent, the auditor said. Those expenditures will be examined by auditors as part of his office’s annual Statewide Single Audit of Kentucky, he said.

State budget director John Hicks responded that Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration has been “fully transparent” about how federal coronavirus relief funds were spent.

Hick said he provided the auditor’s office with “agency-by-agency amounts” for the “qualified government expenditures” and said Beshear’s administration worked with lawmakers on the funding.