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Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Self Description

July 2004: "Effective July 7, 2004, the GAO's legal name became the Government Accountability Office. The change, which better reflects the modern professional services organization GAO has become, is the most visible provision of the GAO Human Capital Reform Act of 2004, Pub. L. 108-271, 118 Stat. 811 (2004).

Besides the name change, the law

  • decouples GAO from the federal employee pay system,
  • establishes a compensation system that places greater emphasis on job performance while protecting the purchasing power of employees who are performing acceptably,..."

Third-Party Descriptions

August 2009: "Home dialysis may also be more cost-effective, according to a May report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office which collected information from the large for-profit chains and non-profit and hospital-based dialysis providers. All of them said their per-treatment costs are lower when patients dialyze at home."

July 2009: "In fact, there may be no way to know for sure. The Government Accountability Office audits a random sample of lobbyist filings, but federal law doesn't require lobbyists to actually document the lobbying they say they're doing. In April, the GAO sampled 2008 lobbyist filings and discovered that two thirds included details the filers couldn’t corroborate; for roughly a quarter of the filings, lobbyists couldn’t even establish which branch of government they had contacted for clients -- they said they didn’t track phone calls or informal meetings, or couldn’t retrieve emails."

July 2009: 'The department's analysis was not "scientifically defensible" in concluding that it could safely handle dangerous animal diseases in Kansas -- or any other location on the U.S. mainland, according to a Government Accountability Office draft report obtained by The Washington Post. The GAO said DHS greatly underestimated the chance of accidental release and major contamination from such research, which has been conducted only on a remote island off the United States.'

December 2008: "But there are obstacles to gaining such ready access to files created by Bush and his appointees. Technical troubles, cost overruns and inadequate funding caused the system to be sharply scaled back at the outset, according to Archives officials and the Government Accountability Office. The result is that it will take years of work -- and an additional $70 million -- to put in place the features that the Archives initially sought."

September 2008: "Under a process the OMB initiated in 2004, federal agencies with an interest in chemicals such as perchlorate, such as the Defense Department, have opportunities to weigh in on the EPA's regulatory decisions before they become final: The Government Accountability Office reported this spring that the Pentagon had pressured the EPA for several years not to regulate perchlorate."

July 2008: "Auditors at an oversight agency of the Pentagon were pressured by supervisors to skew their reports on a major defense contractor's work, hiding wrongdoing and charges of overbilling, according to an 80-page report from the Government Accountability Office."

July 2008: "The Government Accountability Office sharply criticizes the Wage and Hour Division of the Labor Department in two reports to be issued on Tuesday, saying it mishandled many overtime and minimum-wage complaints and delayed investigating hundreds of cases for a year or more."

July 2008: 'In 2005, a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office criticized several textbook industry practices -- including frequent new editions and the "bundling" of books with extras like CDs and workbooks -- that discourage the purchase of used books and inflate prices for students.'

June 2008: 'The report, by investigators for the Government Accountability Office, is expected to tell the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday that the agency has done little to put into operation its “food protection plan,” which the F.D.A. released in November.'

December 2007: "The report, from the Government Accountability Office, says that Customs and Border Protection, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, conducts secondary inspections on 20 percent of charter passengers arriving from Cuba at Miami International Airport, more than six times the inspection rate for other international arrivals, even from countries considered shipment points for narcotics."

November 2007: Pressure to step up enforcement was fueled this week by the release of a new report by the Government Accountability Office that found that thousands of illegal aliens were crossing into the US without any contact with US officials. The report cites insufficient staff as contributing to morale and safety problems when officers inspect travelers, 'increasing the potential that terrorists, inadmissible travelers, and illicit goods could enter the country.'

October 2007: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) last week cited 'fundamental system weaknesses' on the part of both the Defense Department (DOD) and the VA in how they treat wounded vets – including not enough staff and staff training.

October 2007: The existence and approximate magnitude of the questionable payments has been known for some time, but until now there has not been an estimate of a total. The Government Accountability Office warned three years ago that a failure to shut down legal loopholes could lead the government to pay billions of dollars in unnecessary subsidies.

October 2007: The president's announcement came several weeks after the release of a preliminary Government Accountability Office report that said the promises to repair the system have been hobbled by staff shortages and delays in streamlining the process. Lawmakers from both parties have complained that they still hear horror stories and have urged more expeditious action.

October 2007: The Government Accountability Office conducted the investigation for Congress. The report, expected to be made public later this month, will say that the EPA's examination of sites in Spokane, Portland and 264 other communities that processed ore from Libby, Mont., used outdated criteria and underestimated or completely missed the dangers to people who worked there or lived nearby.

October 2007: The improper use of premium-class travel is widespread at six departments, including Agriculture, Commerce, State and Treasury, according to a Government Accountability Office report, which is scheduled to be released on Wednesday.

August 2007: Congress last fall ordered its Government Accountability Office to audit the program for privacy and effectiveness. It asked the OIG to do the same. In February, the GAO recommended a full-blown data-privacy review of the ADVISE system. Without that, its report said, ADVISE holds 'potential for erroneous association of individuals with crime or terrorism and the misidentification of individuals with similar names.'

August 2007: The Government Accountability Office has questioned the department's testing of the detection equipment, spurring Congress to delay funding last year pending further review and certification of the department's test results this fall.

August 2007: The split system has resulted in a patchwork process for ensuring that meat, seafood and produce consumed in the United States is safe. In a report this year, the Government Accountability Office called federal oversight of the food safety system 'fragmented' and put it on a list of 'high-risk' programs.

August 2007: The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

July 2007: The report, produced by the Government Accountability Office, an arm of Congress, concluded that thousands of federal workers and responders who came to ground zero from other parts of the country do not have access to suitable health programs.

July 2007: In a selection of 181 cases from 1999 to 2005, the Government Accountability Office found that [USDA--Ed.] officials approved payments without any review 40 percent of the time.

July 2007: Until recently, there has been little oversight of civilian contractors operating in Iraq. The Defense Department is not adequately keeping track of contractors – where they are or even how many there are, the Government Accountability Office concluded in a report last December. This is especially true as military units rotate in and out of the war zone (as do contractors) and institutional memory is lost.

June 2007: In a report to Congress, the non partisan Government Accountability Office studied a small sample of the bill provisions that Bush has signed into law but also challenged with signing statements. The GAO found that agencies disobeyed six such laws, while enforcing 10 others as written even though Bush had challenged them.

June 2007: WASHINGTON, June 20 — Federal environmental officials misled Lower Manhattan residents about the extent of contamination in their condominiums and apartments after the collapse of the World Trade Center, according to a preliminary report released on Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office.

June 2007: For the first time, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office -- Congress's investigative arm -- tried to ascertain whether the administration has made good on such declarations of presidential power. In appropriations acts for fiscal 2006, GAO investigators found 160 separate provisions that Bush had objected to in signing statements. They then chose 19 to follow.

April 2007: A Government Accountability Office report issued last September said that just 31 individuals whose names were mistakenly on the watch list had them taken off in 2005. Thousands of such redress queries have been submitted, most of them from people who are misidentified. But their names cannot be removed because they are not the person on the list, the report said.

April 2007: The program, which covers 300,000 federal employees nationwide, has been abused by workers across a variety of agencies, the Government Accountability Office will report to Congress today. Workers in the Washington region alone have defrauded the government of at least $17 million a year, with the actual figure probably several million dollars higher, according to the GAO.

April 2007: A related probe last month by the Government Accountability Office found that officials from 10 states complained that the Education Department told them to eliminate reading programs or tests that they didn't endorse. Federal rules prohibit the department from endorsing any curriculum.

February 2005: The list, prepared by the Government Accountability Office, points out troubled federal programs and projects that are vulnerable to waste, fraud and mismanagement. Many problem areas are complex and seem to defy remedy. But at a briefing on the list, members of Congress who deal with federal management issues signaled that there might be limits to their patience.


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Status/Name Change to General Accounting Office (GAO) Organization Jul 31, 2004
Owned by (partial or full, past or present) US Federal Government - Independent Agencies Organization May 4, 2005
Owned by (partial or full, past or present) US Federal Government: Congress (Legislative Branch) Organization Jun 20, 2007
Organization Executive (past or present) David E. Cooper Person May 31, 2007
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Marc Goldwein Person Mar 1, 2010
Organization Executive (past or present) Gregory D. Kutz Person Jun 22, 2011
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) David M. Walker CPA Person Feb 18, 2007

Articles and Resources

208 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Next 20]   [End]

Date Resource Read it at:
Dec 13, 2011 I.R.S. Denied Lesbians Legitimate Adoption Credit

QUOTE: when several lesbians seeking to adopt a partner’s child received letters from the Internal Revenue Service that said they could not use the credit, they couldn’t help but wonder: Is the government choosing to recognize our unions only when it’s to the government’s benefit?

New York Times
Jun 18, 2010 Peddling Relief, Industry Puts Debtors in a Deeper Hole

QUOTE: Consumers rarely emerge from debt settlement programs with their credit card balances eliminated, these critics say, and many wind up worse off, with severely damaged credit, ceaseless threats from collection agents and lawsuits from creditors.

New York Times
Nov 16, 2009 Work-Related Injuries Underreported

QUOTE: Employers and workers routinely underreport work-related injuries and illnesses, calling into question the accuracy of nationwide data that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration compiles each year, the Government Accountability Office said Monday.

New York Times
Oct 22, 2009 F.D.A. Lags in Banning Researchers After Fraud

QUOTE: In a review of 18 proceedings, investigators for the Government Accountability Office found that the F.D.A. took from 1 to 11 years to complete its process to ban researchers. This means many who were convicted of fraud remained eligible to conduct experiments for years.

New York Times
Oct 19, 2009 Which Side Is Government On? Millions of contract workers whose salaries are ultimately paid by government live in poverty. Uncle Sam should demand high standards, not pay as little as possible.

QUOTE: In 2007 the Labor Department found in 80 percent of its SCA [Service Contract Act]investigations that employers [contracted by the federal government] underpaid wages or benefits or both. And wages are so low in many service jobs, especially where few workers belong to unions, that prevailing wages are often only sub-poverty wages.

American Prospect
Oct 09, 2009 FCC to investigate "gating" role of middle-mile access lines

QUOTE: As DSL or cable customers, consumers usually pay directly for that last-mile access. But large businesses and other ISPs shell out humongous sums for middle and secondary transport services to connect their networks or cell towers with the Internet backbone.

Ars Technica
Sep 24, 2009 F.D.A. Reveals It Fell to a Push by Lawmakers

QUOTE: The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that four New Jersey congressmen and its own former commissioner unduly influenced the process that led to its decision last year to approve a patch for injured knees, an approval it is now revisiting.

New York Times
Sep 21, 2009 Debate Flaring Over Grants for Research

QUOTE: Managers at the National Institutes of Health are increasingly ignoring the advice of scientific review panels and giving hundreds of millions of dollars a year to scientists whose projects are deemed less scientifically worthy than those denied money.

New York Times
Sep 20, 2009 Diplomatic Immunity Leaves Abused Workers in Shadows

QUOTE: A July 2008 Government Accountability Office report identified 42 cases of abuse by diplomats over an eight-year period but emphasized that the actual number was probably higher.

Washington Post
Sep 08, 2009 Airlines & Recycling: The Not-So-Green Skies: New calls for the U.S. airline industry to take recycling seriously

QUOTE: Unlike other aspects of the travel business, the airline industry has moved at a snail’s pace to get onboard the green revolution. ...the airline industry has little economic incentive and even less government pressure to go green.

Scientific American
Aug 24, 2009 Dialysis treatment in USA: High costs, high death rates

QUOTE: Although the USA spends more per dialysis patient than other countries, that does not result in higher survival rates or even, many argue, a better quality of life.

Aug 21, 2009 The Deadly Cost of Swooping In to Save a Life (Fatal Flights A Perilous Rush to Profit

QUOTE: Yet as crashes and deaths have mounted [in medical helicopter accidents], top executives at the Federal Aviation Administration and its parent agency, the U.S. Transportation Department, have acted as partners with the industry, issuing reams of voluntary safety advisories with little follow-up. The FAA has sent poorly trained inspectors to monitor operators and used fines and penalties as only a last resort.

Washington Post
Aug 11, 2009 The Sheik Down: How the Pentagon bought stability in Iraq by funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to the country's next generation of strongmen.

QUOTE: Eifan is a beneficiary of what some American personnel call the "make-a-sheikh" program, a semiofficial, little discussed policy that since late 2006 has bankrolled Sunni sheikhs who are, in theory, committed to defending American interests in Iraq... It was also a reinstitution of a strategy started by Saddam Hussein, who picked out tribal leaders he could manipulate through patronage schemes.

Mother Jones
Aug 10, 2009 Subway Safety Panel Foiled by Constraints: 12-Year-Old Oversight Committee Has Little Influence on Metro Operations

QUOTE: Before June's deadly subway crash, no federal agency stepped in to ensure that [the Washington, D.C.] Metro found and fixed the electrical circuits now suspected of contributing to the worst accident in the system's history. That's because none is authorized to.

Washington Post
Aug 09, 2009 Mentally Ill Offenders Strain Juvenile System

QUOTE: As cash-starved states slash mental health programs in communities and schools, they are increasingly relying on the juvenile corrections system to handle a generation of young offenders with psychiatric disorders.

New York Times
Jul 31, 2009 Doctors Reap Benefits By Doing Own Tests

QUOTE: A host of studies and reports by academics and the federal government shows that physicians who own scanners order many more scans than those who do not. As a result, Americans pay billions of dollars in extra taxes and insurance premiums.

Washington Post
Jul 30, 2009 How Reliable Are Lobbyist Registration Data?

QUOTE: The Government Accountability Office audits a random sample of lobbyist filings, but federal law doesn't require lobbyists to actually document the lobbying they say they're doing. In April, the GAO sampled 2008 lobbyist filings and discovered that two thirds included details the filers couldn’t corroborate; for roughly a quarter of the filings, lobbyists couldn’t even establish which branch of government they had contacted for clients.

Jul 28, 2009 Perils of the professional lab rat

QUOTE: Now some health researchers and bioethicists are expressing concern at the way socially and financially vulnerable people are being drawn to careers... as guinea pigs in phase I clinical trials.

New Scientist
Jul 27, 2009 Infectious Diseases Study Site Questioned: Tornado Alley May Not Be Safe, GAO Says

QUOTE: The Department of Homeland Security relied on a rushed, flawed study to justify its decision to locate a $700 million research facility for highly infectious pathogens in a tornado-prone section of Kansas, according to a government report.

Washington Post
Jul 26, 2009 Should Schools Use Restraints on Students?

QUOTE: The Government Accountability Office reported more than 33,000 incidents of restraint or seclusion [of students] last year at schools in Texas and California, two of only six states that track such data. Nineteen states have no regulations at all regarding the use of restraint and seclusion in schools.

208 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Next 20]   [End]