Commemorative Coin Program: Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Inc.

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-11-26.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

       United States
‘GAO   General Accounting
                     D.C. 20548

       Accounting and Information
           . .     Division


       November       26,    1997

       The Honorable Alfonse M. D’Amato
       The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes
       Ranking Minority Member
       Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
       United States Senate

       The Honorable James A. Leach
       The Honorable Henry B. Gonzalez
       Ranking Minority Member
       Committee on Banking and Financial Services
       House of Representatives

       Subject:     Commemorative Coin Progmm: Women in Militarv Service for
                    America Memorial Foundation. Inc.

       Section 303 of Public Law 103-186 required that we perform a one-time audit of
       the use of commemorative coin surcharge proceeds received by the Women in
       Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Inc. The Foundation,
       incorporated in 1985, constructed the Women in Military Service for America
       Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery to honor women who have served in
       the armed services. Title II of Public Law 103-186, the United States Veterans
       Commemorative Coin Act of 1993, provided that the Foundation use the
       surcharge proceeds from the sale of commemorative coins to create, endow,
       and dedicate the Memorial. The Foundation plans to manage the Memorial,
       including adding names to a registry of women who have served in the military.
       The Foundation also carried out a related project to restore the main gate of
       Arlington National Cemetery, which is adjacent to the Memorial.

                                         GAO/mD-98-38R      Women in Military Service
We determined that the Foundation received about $2,752,000 in surcharge
proceeds from the U.S. Mint from Cctober 1994 through April 1996. The
Foundation’s financial statements were audited for calendar years 1994 through
1996 by an independent public accounting firm. Those statements showed that
the Foundation’s total revenues from all sources were about $18.8 million.

The Foundation established a variety of accounts to record its expenses, but
was not required to and did not separately account for its use of surcharge
proceeds. Instead, the Foundation combined surcharge proceeds with other
revenue and charged expenses against the combined revenue account.
According to the President of the Foundation, the Foundation spent an
estimated $11.3 million through July 1997 to build the Memorial. As a result,
neither we nor the Foundation could determine specifically how the Foundation
used its surcharge proceeds to create, endow, and dedicate the Memorial.
Section 5134 of Title 31, United States Code, as amended by Public Law 104-208,
addressed this issue with provisions that now require future coin surcharge
recipients to (1) separately account for the receipt and expenditure of coin
surcharge proceeds and (2) obtain annual financial audits by an independent
public accounting firm until all surcharge proceeds are expended or placed in

In conducting our work, we obtained direct confirmations from the U.S. Mint of
the amount of surcharge proceeds transferred to the Foundation. We also
reviewed the Foundation’s accounting for the surcharge proceeds, traced to
source documents certain transactions related to constructing the Memorial,
and verified that certain expenditures were related to the Memorial. We also
reviewed minutes of the Board of Director’s meeting related to surcharge
proceeds. At the conclusion of our work, we provided a draft of this letter to
the President of the Foundation for comment. She raised no objections to the
contents of our report. She agreed that the Foundation was not required to
separately account for surcharge proceeds. She added, though, that she was
confident that surcharge proceeds were expended for authorized purposes.
The Foundation President’s letter is reprinted in the enclosure. Our audit was
performed from July 1997 through October 1997 in accordance with generally
 accepted government auditing standards.

Section 529 of the Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government
Appropriations Act, 1997, as enacted by Section 101(f) of Public Law 104-208,
the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997, repealed Section 303 of
Public Law 103186, effective September 30, 1996.

 2                                GAO/AIMD-98-38R Women in Military Service
.,opies of this letter are being sent to interested parties and will be-made
available to others on request. Please contact me at (202) 512-9489 if you or


David L. Clark
Director, Audit Oversight
 and Liaison


                                  GAO/AJMD-9838R Women in Military Service
    ENCLOSUIXE                                                                                   ENCLOSURE

                          FOR AMERICA MEMORIAL FOUNDATION. INC.

                                  Dept. 56o                                  wimsa@aol.com
                   Washington,DC 2oo42-0560                                  http://=wimsa.org

                                              (703) 5331155 (800) 222-2294
                                                     (703) 9314208 FAX

                                                                               November 19, 1997

                Mr. Gene L. Dodaro
                Assistant Comptroller General
                U. S. General Accounting OiXce
                441 G St. NW
                Washington. DC 20548
                Sub]: Draft Report on Women In Military Setice    For America Memorial Foundation
                Use of Commemorative Coin Proceeds

                Dear Mr. Dodaro.
                      Thank you very much for providing a copy of your draft reporl for our review
                and comment.
                       As stated in your report, the Foundation was not required to separately account
                for our use of surcharge proceeds. At the time we began to receive the proceeds of
                the sale. we discussed establishing a separate account to record revenue and to show
                expenses paid with those monies. Because of the addilional workload required to do
                this, and since there was no requirement Lo do so. we elected not to do il. The fact
                that we spent $11.3 million through July 1997. have continued to spend for the
                construction and successful dedication of the Memorial on October 18th. should be
                evidence in itself that all funds received from the United States Minl from sale of the
                Commemorative Coins were used for the purposes intended by Public Law 103- 186 --
                and as I am totaily confident they were.


                                                                Brigadier General. USAF. Ret

,    (911747)

     4                                                       GAO/AIMD-98-38R             Women in Military   Service
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