is for the taxpayers.
WASHINGTON — A non-profit group that gets millions of dollars a year from Congress to help teach students about government misspent or failed to justify more than $5.9 million last year, Education Department investigators say in a report released Monday.
The California-based Center for Civic Education improperly spent taxpayer money to settle potential employment discrimination or harassment lawsuits, to print textbooks it sold to schools and to pay for unnecessary meals and travel, according to the report from the department's inspector general.
Charles Quigley, the center's executive director, acknowledged some errors in complying with federal regulations but disputed most of the report's findings.
"We have taken every step we possibly can to clean up our act and make sure we are in compliance," Quigley said.
The audit examined the center's operation of programs that provide textbooks and materials for civics classes in U.S. schools and to develop international civics education courses. The center spent $23 million in federal grants during the year covered by the audit, from August 2007 to July 2008.