CPB IG audit questions spending by Capitol News Connection

An audit by the CPB Inspector General’s Office of Pundit Productions, the nonprofit that operated a public radio news bureau on Capitol Hill until its shutdown last fall, found violations of several CPB grant requirements and recommended that Pundit return more than $35,000 in grant monies. At CPB management’s request, the IG examined how Pundit spent a $300,000 grant provided by CPB in 2011 for a “transition project” intended to develop a long-term business plan and pricing model. The nonprofit bureau, run by Melinda Wittstock, relied heavily on CPB’s assistance, receiving grants totalling $2.3 million since its start-up in 2003. For the 2011 grant, CPB covered slightly less than half of the $688,036 budget for the business planning. The IG spotted violations with $81,013 in expenses, ranging in scope from more than $40,000 in depreciation charges to payments of $285 that covered reporters’ parking tickets.