This post was also written by Joelle E.K. Laszlo.
Federal grant awardees are about to join contractors in the transparent government revolution. Beginning in November, awardees of prime grants valued at $25,000 or more may be required to report certain executive compensation information about themselves and their subgrantees. The new reporting requirements, established under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (“FFATA”), were greeted with open hostility at a recent Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) Town Hall meeting. Not enough hostility to prevent them from taking effect, however, so prospective grant recipients should take note.
The new grantee reporting requirements are similar to those placed on contractors by the FFATA, about which we reported in August. Unlike the contractor reporting requirements, however, the grantee requirements will not be “phased in” over time. Rather, any new grant of $25,000 or more awarded as of October 1, 2010 will require reporting two types of information. First, the name and total compensation of each of the prime grantee’s five top executives must be reported if the prime grantee (A) receives more than 80 percent of its annual gross revenues from the federal government, which revenues exceed $25 million annually, and (B) does not already report its executive compensation through the Securities and Exchange Commission. Second, without exception, a prime grantee must report specific data about all first-tier subgrants it awards that are valued at $25,000 or more. That data includes the name of the subgrantee and the amount and purpose of the award, the subgrantee’s location and the place of grant performance (including the congressional district), and the award’s Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance program number and program source. Additionally, if a first-tier subgrantee meets the conditions for reporting executive compensation of grantees (items (A) and (B) above), the grantee must report the name and total compensation of each of the subgrantee’s five top executives.
Possibly in an effort to take some of the sting out of the reporting requirement, OMB officials presenting at the Town Hall stressed that grant reporting under the FFATA only needs to happen once – there is no continuing reporting requirement. A prime grantee will have until the end of the month following the month of obligation of a grant or first-tier subgrant subject to the reporting requirements, to report related executive compensation and/or subgrant information. Thus, for example, reporting related to a grant awarded October 1, 2010 and subject to the FFATA requirements must be completed by November 30, 2010.
As with contractor reporting under the FFATA, grantee reporting will take place though the FFATA Subaward Reporting System (“FSRS”), at www.fsrs.gov. While FSRS is currently open for contractor reporting, the site’s grant reporting functionality will not be available until October 29. FSRS has been programmed to receive data through the Central Contractor Registration database, in which all prime contractors and grantees (but not subcontractors or subawardees) are required to register.
On October 7, OMB held the first of two planned webinars for grantees on how to use FSRS. Those wishing to receive updates on training and other developments related to FFATA reporting are encouraged to register at USASpending.gov. Those wishing the reporting requirements will go away are advised to keep wishing (and learn how to use FSRS in the meantime).