Audit Finds Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Dedicated $1,456,000 COVID-19 Relief Funds Issued Without Verification

BOSTON – In an audit of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), the Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) found that MCC did not verify artists’ eligibility prior to issuing grants totaling $1,456,000 from MCC’s COVID-19 pandemic relief funding. The audit also found that MCC’s Internal Control Plan (ICP) was not updated with a COVID-19 component. Additionally, the OSA found that MCC did not ensure all employees completed the required annual cybersecurity awareness training. The audit was conducted March 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.

“It is critical that state agencies and state-funded organizations, like MCC, have policies in place to closely monitor the way COVID-19 relief dollars and any public dollar spent. I am pleased that MCC is committed to making necessary improvements to their existing internal controls plan to properly comply with standards moving forward,” said State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.

The audit recommends that MCC establish policies and procedures to ensure all eligibility requirements are met prior to awarding grants from its COVID-19 pandemic relief funding. The audit also advised MCC implement a policy and identify an employee responsible for ensuring cybersecurity awareness training requirements are met on an annual basis.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) was created by Section 15 of Chapter 653 of the Acts of 1989. This act added Section 52 to Chapter 10 of the Massachusetts General Laws, establishing MCC within the Office of the State Treasurer (OST), but not making MCC subject to OST’s control.

The OSA has placed an emphasis on examining cybersecurity awareness training at government agencies. Recently, Auditor Bump has released audits of the Office of the Attorney General, Division of Banks, and Office of the Inspector General, Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance, and the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, most of which called on these agencies to improve their cybersecurity awareness training practices. To learn more about the OSA’s recent audits that have reviewed the spending of federal pandemic relief funding, please visit:

The audit can be viewed HERE.

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