Cities and states across the U.S. are filling financial gaps with money approved for other purposes, which has sparked lawsuits and federal investigations, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

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Elaine Greenberg, who runs the Securities and Exchange Commission’s municipal unit, told the Wall Street Journal that the agency is looking for cases where governments misuse money from bond offerings and for municipalities moving money reserved for specific purposes.

"You can't float a bond for one thing and use the money for another," she told the Journal.

Miami, Modoc County, Calif., and Portland, Ore., are among the municipalities cited in the article as having shifted funds intended for a specific purpose to other areas to fill budget shortfalls.

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Jon Byington is the founder of, a news and entertainment website that reaches the growing number of Latinos in the U.S.