By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

TAMPA — More than 3 ½ years after the president’s celebrated signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the program remains a hot target for critics, who view the billions in federal spending as ripe for waste, fraud and abuse.

And now, a new report is confirming that very fact, demonstrating how Florida played host to multiple tales of inefficient, unaccountable and, in some cases, lost stimulus dollars — millions and counting.

The findings are the result of an audit ordered by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, projected to have stopped the immediate allocation of $2.45 million in energy grants, loans and contracts to companies involved in fraud or in the process of bankruptcy.

“These energy grant programs were intended to yield jobs, cost savings, energy savings and reduced emissions,” Florida’s Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam said in a statement July 24.

Throughout the course of the Recovery Act program, initiated in February 2009 as a measure of saving and creating jobs by the Democratic Congress and Obamaadministration, $11.2 billion were funneled into Florida companies, cities and counties, according to the the federal government’s website Recovery.gov.

The majority of funds were reserved for education grants to counties statewide, intended to stave off massive layoffs for educators in schools, as well as infrastructure improvements as determined by the state Department of Transportation.

Read more: Florida Watchdog