By Ivan Cholakov /

Coronavirus Roundup: Calls for an Investigation Into the Pentagon’s Use of CARES Act Funds; Public Service Awards Go Virtual

There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before a Senate committee on Thursday that there hasn’t been widespread vote-by-mail fraud in the United States and it would be a “major challenge” for foreign countries to attempt this type of fraud. This undercuts much of what President Trump has been saying about vote-by-mail during the pandemic. Here are some other recent headlines you might have missed. 

The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service will be hosting its annual ceremony for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (known as the Sammies) virtually this year due to the pandemic. The event that honors the work of outstanding federal employees will be live streamed on October 5 at 8 p.m. Read Government’s Executive’s previous coverage of this year’s finalists and “People’s Choice” award winners

Last week, a member of Health and Human Services Department Secretary Alex Azar’s security detail tested positive for coronavirus, which was the first known case of someone in frequent proximity to Azar, Politico reported on Thursday. "The health and safety of our agents and the people they protect is of the utmost importance," Tesia Williams, spokesperson for the HHS inspector general, which oversees the security detail, told Politico. "To that end, our agents follow the recommended guidelines to limit the transmission of the virus."

Michael Caputo, HHS top spokesman, who recently went on medical leave, was diagnosed with metastatic head and neck cancer, The Buffalo News reported on Thursday. He went on leave last week after making derogatory remarks about Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employees during a Facebook live event.

On Thursday, 40 organizations from across the political spectrum asked the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis to investigate the Pentagon’s use of its $1 billion in CARES Act funds, following the report it mainly used funds pay defense contractors (in most cases for things unrelated to the pandemic) and make things such as jet parts and body armor, instead of increasing the country’s supply of medical equipment. They also asked the subcommittee to ask lawmakers to consider legislation that would suspend the Defense Department’s authority to use the relief funding. 

Similarly, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., asked the Defense inspector general on Friday to look into the potential misuse of funds. “The reported misuse by DoD of federal funds meant for the response to the deadly pandemic plaguing our country is inconsistent with the will of Congress and may be illegal,” they wrote.

Agriculture Department Secretary Sonny Perdue said at a conference earlier this week that it’s time to end his department's multi-billion dollar pandemic food assistance program and “let the market work and get back to normal.” Last week, USDA announced it authorized a third round of contracts to distribute food boxes that is slated to run through October 31. It is not clear if the secretary meant he’d like the program to end before or after the October deadline. 

Today’s GovExec Daily podcast episode is about how Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic presidential nominee, would each approach management and leadership to address the racial divides and inequality in the United States. 

Help us understand the situation better. Are you a federal employee, contractor or military member with information, concerns, etc. about how your agency is handling the coronavirus? Email us at