Gulf spill claims fund to be audited to speed work

By PETE YOST | July 20, 2011 | 3:29 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder says an independent audit will be performed on the $20 billion fund set up to compensate victims of the BP oil spill.

In a letter Wednesday to the fund's administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, the attorney general says resolving claims quickly and fairly should be the highest priority and that the audit will start before the end of the year.

Holder made a June 30 trip to the Gulf Coast in which he heard concerns from Alabama officials and residents about the transparency of the claims process.

In his letter, the attorney general said Feinberg agreed to an audit, a step that Holder has been urging for some time.

The fund has nearly 1 million claims and continues to receive thousands of claims each week.