When the United States gives money to foreign countries for some stated purpose, who checks to see that the money we give them actually goes to where it was intended? Also does this supposed audit of U.S. aid ever get published in any documents accessible to the general public?

  • 1
    This is 2 different questions. Does the money get delivered and used for its stated purpose? AND Does the money go where it was intended to go? Yes, the money goes exactly where it was intended to go...the corrupt leaders of those countries we are trying to buy off. The little that is left then gets siphoned by unscrupulous aid organization leaders. You can find thousands of web pages of information covering this topic by googling simple related search terms, such as "where does foreign aid money end up". Improve the question by stating some of what you found and want to know is true or not.
    – Dunk
    Apr 16, 2013 at 21:28
  • @Dunk You are reading too much into the question. It's a simple question: Who is responsible for checking where the money end up, and are those audits publicly accessible? That's it, a simple and straightforward question looking for an equally straightforward answer. Either there's an office or organization that is responsible for such audits or there is not. And if there is, either they publicise the audits or they do not. Let's keep the discussion to a minimum please, the goal of the site is to provide answers.
    – yannis
    Apr 16, 2013 at 22:48
  • @YannisRizos: You are correct, I hope to get a good answer here but I'm not betting the farm on it! Apr 16, 2013 at 23:59
  • To give a simple answer to your question the answer is that the Inspector General is responsible for this oversight. However, once again, a simple search will reveal that even they admit that they are incapable of accounting for money that is given to foreign governments because they don't get the necessary cooperation. Google "U.S. Foreign Assistance: What oversight Mechanisms are in place to ensure accountability". This was a just released report, which basically says, we were told millions went here, millions went there... but when we look, it isn't anywhere.
    – Dunk
    Apr 17, 2013 at 23:24
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    @William-Lucky for me your lair has a back exit. You make the completely wrong assumption that "the people" are informed or even care. Also there's different ways to ask your question "Do you believe america should donate a billion dollars for humanitarian aid?" Will give a completely different response to your poll than "Do you believe america should donate a billion dollars towards humanitarian aid if you knew that only $100 million will actually get to its intended destination and the other $900 million will be towards government graft?"
    – Dunk
    Apr 23, 2013 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


First what are the types of foreign aid, otherwise known as Official Development Assistance:

  • Bilateral aid – when the capital flows from a developed nation to a developing nation
  • Multilateral aid – when the capital flows to developing nations from a world agency such as the World Bank
  • Military aid/humanitarian aid-security and narcotics aid, emergency assistance in response to natural disasters, food aid.

How does the US fund these types of foreign aid: 20 US government agencies administered US foreign assistance activities through bilateral and multilateral channels to over 150 countries with greater sums going to wealthier developing nations. US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department manage the bulk of assistance programs. The Department of Defense and the US Department of Agriculture manage a large number of programs as well.

Who is responsible for oversight? Each individual agency is responsible for the oversight of its program. Foreign aid is not a department of the federal government, so there is no one in charge of overseeing its efficiency as a unique program or goal.

How should the public get information how well foreign aid is operating over-all The Center for Global Development is working on ground breaking projects to improve aid effectiveness. They have created an aid quality scale, an aid dashboard, and an interactive aid map to prevent redundancy of programs. Otherwise, at this time, the best thing to do is to research programs at the largest foreign aid providers, such as USAID and the World Bank. Each will have public documents. For example, here is information on recent audits by the Inspector General at USAID.

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