COVID-19: Information on HHS's Public Education Campaign, Report to Congressional Committees [open pdf - 697KB]
From the Highlights: "In response to the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic, HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] began a national public education campaign led by ASPA [Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs]. Congressional committees and the media raised questions about the focus and timing of the campaign. There were also concerns that funds meant for CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] were used to pay for the effort. The CARES Act [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act] includes a provision for GAO [Government Accountability Office] to report on the federal response to the pandemic. In addition, GAO was asked to conduct a review of the award process for the COVID-19 public education campaign, as well as its source of funding. This report describes, among other issues: ASPA, FDA, and NIH's [National Institutes of Health] roles in executing the COVID-19 public education campaign, and how ASPA paid for the campaign awards. To conduct this work, GAO reviewed and analyzed inter-agency agreements, award files, related funding documents, and the products developed for the public education campaign; federal statutes and regulations; applicable agency guidance; and agency email communications about the campaign. GAO also interviewed relevant agency officials and contractors, and received written answers to questions regarding the funding used for the campaign. GAO provided a draft of this report to HHS for review and comment. HHS stated that it appreciated the opportunity to review the draft, and had no comments."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/