Oversight

GAO reports billions in savings linked to oversight efforts

GAO Seal 

In its end of the year summary, the Government Accountability Office reported billions of dollars in federal financial benefits and progress in addressing its management challenges.

GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, touted its return on investment in its report. For fiscal year 2016, GAO documented $63.4 billion in financial benefits from its work. This amounts to "a return of about $112 for every dollar invested in us," the watchdog agency said. GAO's FY2016 budget was $555.3 million.

The three greatest areas of savings were the reduction of improper payments in the Medicare Advantage Program, procurement cost reduction by the Department of Veterans Affairs and improving cost estimates for the Department of Defense's Bulk Fuel Operation and Maintenance budget.

On its management challenges, GAO reported progress in the areas of human capital, engagement efficiency, information security and telework.

The report also detailed GAO's legislative impact, pointing to seven legislative examples directly tied to GAO's work, including the National Defense Authorization Act  and the Cybersecurity Act of 2015.

Additionally, the report touted GAO's programs that "cannot be measured in dollars, but lead to program and operational improvements." Those include actions to monitor high-risk areas, provide oversight of high-tech projects, improve data collected by VA and help implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.

GAO executives testified on 119 instances before 69 different committees or subcommittees, one testimony beneath its target of 120. "This was due to fewer than anticipated hearings being held, which is a factor not in our control," the report stated.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a former FCW staff writer.

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