Thompson, Lieberman Announce Release of GAO High Risk Series

Washington, DC — Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN), along with Ranking Member Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), today announced the release of a series of General Accounting Office (GAO) reports to the Senate and House identifying 26 government programs that are especially vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. These reports were requested by Senators Thompson, Lieberman, and several senior Senate and House members.

“These reports reveal a fundamental lack of management accountability throughout the government,” Senator Thompson said. “Without adequate oversight these programs will continue to risk taxpayer dollars, safety, and security.”

“The GAO’s report today gives us cause for concern,” Senator Lieberman said. “It is frustrating that some of the biggest problems GAO uncovered remain in place, years after they were originally identified. However, I am satisfied the agencies are aware of their problems and are making serious efforts to ameliorate them.”

Each Congress, the GAO issues a High Risk Report of federal agencies and programs where persistent management problems exist. This year’s report indicates that while the Customs Bureau was able to improve its financial management practices and get off GAO’s list, agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Defense, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Department of Commerce continue to remain at risk. This year GAO identified two new programs at the Forest Service and Federal Aviation Administration as especially vulnerable to mismanagement.

The report shows that public safety and billions of taxpayer dollars are at risk. For example, HUD’s poor management could affect billions of dollars each year in insured mortgages and guarantees of mortgage-backed securities. The Department of Defense still cannot account for billions of dollars in assets. The State Department report reveals that poor computer practices impair the Department’s ability to identify visa applicants who may pose a risk to the nation’s security.

“Congress has provided many powerful tools for agencies to solve these problems,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately, it appears that little progress has been made and Congress needs to know why. I am greatly concerned about the continued squandering of taxpayer dollars and the persistent mismanagement of federal programs which were identified by GAO.”


Click here to view the GAO’s Performance and Accountability Series and High Risk Update.