Bush approves DHS oversight

President Bush signed into law a bill requiring greater financial oversight of the Homeland Security Department.

The DHS Financial Accountability Act mandates that department officials abide by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, which requires Senate confirmation for departmental CFOs and compels outside financial audits of the agency.

With Bush's approval of the bill Oct. 16, DHS becomes the 24th federal agency to come under the act's purview. The incumbent CFO can remain in office 180 days before the Senate confirmation provision kicks in.

Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.), the bill's driving force, said the legislation would ensure that the CFO at DHS is on "equal footing" with CFOs at other Cabinet-level agencies. Furthermore, independent audits "will help uncover inherent weaknesses and address problems as business practices are being established — before they become ingrained," he said in a written statement earlier this month after Congress sent the bill to the White House.

DHS CFO Andrew Maner had argued against the bill, noting that department officials already were voluntarily complying with the act. He also said outside audits would not produce cost-effective benefits.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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