Independent Counsels: GAO Audit Responsibilities After OIC Termination

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-06-04.

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

      united states
GAO   General Accounting Office
      washington, DC. 20548

      Accounting and Information
      Management Division


      June 4,1999
      Senator Fred Thompson
      Committee on GovernmentalAffairs
      United StatesSenate
      Subject: ‘IndependentCounsels:GAO Audit ResnonsibilitiesAfter OIC Termination
      Dear Mr. Chairman:
      This letter is in responseto a question from your office regarding our audit
      responsibilities for independentcounselswho have completed their investigations or
      whose offices have been officially terminated.
      Public Law 100202establisheda permanent, indefinite appropriation to fund
      independent counsel operations. Independent counsels are required under 28 U.S.C.
      696(c)(l) to prepare reports on their expenditures from the appropriation for each 6
      month period in which they have operations, including the periods in which they
      complete their investigations,and to provide the reports to us within 3 months after
      the end of the 6month reporting period. Independent counsels whose offices are
      officially terminated have 3 months from the date of the termination to provide us
      their final reports. To satisfy the requirements of 28 U.S.C.696(c)(Z) and Public Law
       100-202,we audit the expenditure reports and issue our audit report by March 31 and
      September30 of eachyear in which expenditures occur.
      Independent counselscontinue to have expenditures from the appropriation between
      the time they completetheir investigations and the time their offices are officially
      terminated. Theseexpenditurestypically occur due to the need to archive records
      and becauseof the time lags between the dates (1) vendors or others provide goods
      and services,(2) invoices or bills are received, verified, and authorized for payment,
      and (3) expendituresare made. Expenditures can also occur after an independent
      counsel’soffice has been officially terminated. For example, one independent
      counsel who completedhis investigation in 1996and whose office was officially
      terminated in 1998received a bill in 1999for travel qenses incurred by detailees
      from another federal agencyduring the independent counsel’s investigation. Another
      independent counsel who completed his investigation in 1997and whose office was
      officially terminated in 1998had not received final bills for office rent as of May 1999.
      The timing of the completion of an investigation or the termination of an office of

independentcounsel has no bearing on our audit responsibilities. Our audit
responsibilitiesare driven by the expenditure of funds from the permanent, indefinite
For purposesof efficiency, we perform much of our audit work at the Admi&trative
O ffice of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC). AOUSCprovides administrative support to all the
independentcounselsand processesand maintains a centralized record of all
independentcounsel expenditures. Our interaction with independent counsels after
they have completedtheir investigations or after their offices have been officially
terminated has been limited to reviewing documentation for the remaining
expendituresand obtaining representationsregarding final expenditure reports.

We are sendingcopies of this letter to the Members of the SenateCommittee on
Governmenta Affairs and the Director of the Administrative O ffice of the U.S. Courts.
We will make copies available to others upon request. Please contact me at (202) 612-
9489if you or your office have any questions.

+Qz?yff&                                                                       .
 David L. Clark
 Director, Audit Oversight and Liaison


  2                                              GAOMMD-99-164R Independent Counsels
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