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General Accounting Office Act of 1980 Statement on Signing H.R. 24 Into Law.

April 03, 1980

I have today signed into law H.R. 24, the General Accounting Office Act of 1980. This legislation is the product of extensive discussions between the executive branch and the Congress. The passage of this law reflects the importance we all place on sound auditing practices within the Federal Government. This act is another in a series of laws sponsored by Representative Brooks and Senator Glenn to assure that the taxpayers' dollars are spent as the Congress has directed.

This legislation involves complex issues with constitutional implications, and its passage required negotiations in good faith by all parties. I am confident that this cooperative spirit will extend to the implementation of the act's provisions.

The General Accounting Office Act of 1980 will for the first time permit the GAO to audit most of the confidential expenditures made by agencies, which are now authorized solely by the signature of the President or agency head. While this legislation requires that the GAO determine whether an expenditure has been made as. authorized by law, it also stipulates that confidentiality must be maintained. For instance, the specific details of and the identities of individuals involved in law enforcement investigations need not be disclosed to the GAO in order for it to carry out its statutory responsibilities. Audits of certain highly sensitive financial transactions of the Department of State must also be conducted with utmost confidentiality.

In addition, this act establishes procedures by which the GAO may gain access to the documents and records of Federal agencies, contractors, and grantees, and it provides for judicial enforcement of the GAO's written requests and subpenas.

A third major feature of the act establishes a formal procedure by which congressional leadership may recommend individuals to the President for appointment to the positions of Comptroller General and Deputy. Because the General Accounting Office is the Congress main auditing and investigating agent, the recommendations of the congressional leaders will be of particular assistance to the President in his selection of nominees for these positions.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 24 is Public Law 96-226, approved April 3.

Jimmy Carter, General Accounting Office Act of 1980 Statement on Signing H.R. 24 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250434

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