oversight

Interparliamentary Group Review Procedures

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-09-10.

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

United States General Accounting   Office                              Accounting   and Information
Washington, DC 20548                                                           Management Division



          B-283484


          September lo,1999

          The Honorable Benjamin A Gilman
          Chairman
          Committee on International Relations
          House of Representatives

          Subject: Internarliamentarv Groun Review Procedures

          Dear Mr. Chairman:

          We have performed the procedures you requested to assist the Committee in
          evaluating the extent to which five House Interparliamentary Groups’ Schedules of
          Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance for the years ended December 31,1997
          and 1998, appropriately reflect the cash receipts and disbursements and fund balance
          for the years then ended. The schedules present, for the years ended December 31,
          1997 and 1998, the opening fund balance, total receipts and disbursements by
          category, and ending fund balance, on a cash basis, for each of the following groups:

          l   British-American Interparliamentary     Group,

          l   Canada-United States Interparliamentary     Group,

          l   Mexico-United States Interparliamentary     Group,

          l   United States-European Community Interparliamentary Group, and

          l   United States Group of the North Atlantic Assembly.

          In summary, the procedures you asked us to perform included reviewing
          documentation supporting each group’s recorded receipt and disbursement
          transactions and related fund balances for evidence that the transactions were
          properly authorized and recorded. As agreed, we also recalculated the reported
          amounts using each group’s general journal and supporting documentation and
          compared the recalculated amounts to the reported amounts in each group’s 1997
          and 1998 schedule. The details of the agreed-upon procedures along with our results
          are presented in enclosure 1. The unaudited 1997 and 1998 schedules for each of the
          five Interparliamentary Groups are in enclosure 2.


                                                    GAO/AI&ID-99-279R Interparliamentary Groups
B-283434


By specifying the procedures, your office was responsible for ensuring that the
procedures were sufficient to meet your objectives, and we make no representations
in that respect. In performing the agreed-upon procedures, we conducted our work
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards that
incorporate fmancial audit and attestation standards established by the American
Institute of Certified Public Accountants. These standards also provide guidance
when performing and reporting the results of agreed-upon procedures. In agreeing to
perform the procedures you requested, we discussed this guidance and the related
limitations on the nature, scope, and intended use of our work with your office. As
we did not perform a fmancial audit, we do not express an opinion on the schedules.

We provided a draft of this letter, along with its enclosures, to your staff for review
and comment. They agreed with the contents of this letter and the enclosures. We
conducted our work from July 19,1999 through August 6,1999.

We are sending a copy of this letter to Representative Sam Gejdenson, Ranking
Minority Member of your Committee. This letter is intended for the use of the
Committee on International Relations. However, this letter is a matter of public
record and its distribution is not limited. Copies will be made available to others
upon request.

If you have any questions concerning our work or the results of the agreed-upon
procedures, please contact me or John J. Reilly, Assistant Director, on (202) 512-9406.
Key contributors to this assignment were Charles Ego, James Rinaldi, Patricia
Summers, and Greg Ziombra.

Sincerely yours,




Robert W. Gramling                w
Director, Corporate Audits
  and Standards

Enclosures




2                                        GAO/AIMD-99-279R Interparliamentary Groups
Enclosure 1

                        &reed-Upon     Procedures    and Related   Results

Recehts    Procedures

1. Compare the appropriation received and recorded in the general journal for 1997 and 1998
   to evidence of the appropriation requested and received and bank deposits recorded on the
   bank statements.

2. Compare the interest received and recorded in the general journal for 1997 and 1998 to the
   interest credited on the group’s 1997 and 1998 bank statements.

3. Compare the other receipts recorded in the general journal for- 1997 and 1998 to deposit
   slips, bank statements, and/or other documentation evidencing the receipts.

Results

For each group, annual appropriation, interest, and other receipts were accurately recorded in
the general journal and supported by appropriate documentation.

Disbursements     Procedures

For each of the reported disbursement categories (representational functions,
interpreters/translators, travel, lodging, transfers to U.S. Treasury, and miscellaneous), obtain
and review vouchers, canceled checks, and other supporting documentation for each
disbursement recorded in the general journal for 1997 and 1998. As part of the review:

1. Compare the voucher amount to the amount disbursed per the general journal.

2. Compare the payee on the voucher to the supporting documentation.

3. Examine each voucher and supporting documentation for evidence that the (a) designated
   official certified that the goods and/or services were received, (b) voucher was approved by
   an authorizing official, and (c) voucher was approved before it was drawn for payment.

4. Examine each canceled check to determine that the check was signed by the designated
   official and endorsed by the payee.

5. Examine the disbursement entry in the general journal to determine whether the journal
   entry included the date of the check, the payee, the check number, the amount, and the
   description of the type or category of goods or services provided.

6. Examine the check register and subsequent bank statements to determine if a check was
   recorded, issued, and paid for each payment voucher.

3                                                GAO/AI&ID-99-279R Interparliamentary Groups
Enclosure 1


Results

Checks for all 1997 and 1998 disbursements were signed, recorded, issued, and endorsed. Each
check disbursement entry in the general journal included the date of the check, the payee, the
check number, the amount, and the description of the type or category of goods or services
provided. The payee on each check was the same as the payee on the respective voucher. The
amount of each disbursement was accurately recorded in the general journal and agreed with
the related voucher and supporting documentation except for one 1997 disbursement for the
United States-European Community Interparliamentary Group. For that disbursement, the
amount of the approved voucher exceeded the amount subsequently disbursed. However, the
amount disbursed correctly reflected the supporting documentatiun and agreed with the .
amount recorded in the general journal.

All vouchers were prepared, certified, and approved prior to payment except for five payments,
totaling $20,762.87,for the United States Group of the North Atlantic Assembly, which were
made in 1997 without prior voucher preparation and approval. In June 1997, Committee staff
identified the lack of prior voucher preparation and approval for the five payments made from
March 14 through June 1,1997.’ Our review of the group’s remaining 1997 vouchers and all of
its 1998 vouchers found that each voucher was prepared, certified, and approved before
payments were made.

Based on a subsequent review of the five payments made in 1997, the North Atlantic Assembly
Group’s Chairman concluded that the payments were legitimate group expenses that would
have been approved had a voucher been prepared in advance. Further, the group’s Chairman
required that as a matter of record, a voucher for the five disbursements be prepared,
approved, and dated with the date it was prepared. To assure future compliance with internal
controls, the staff responsible for preparing the group’s vouchers and checks were formally
notified in June 1997 that checks were not authorized until the group’s chairman had signed the
voucher.

Overall   Procedures

 1. Trace the opening fund balances for 1997 and 1998 recorded in the general journal to the
    closing balances recorded in the general journal for 1996 and 1997.


‘During our review of the House Interparliamentary Group’s 1996Schedules of Receipts, Disbursements, and F’und
Balance (GAOMMD-98-44R, December 27,1997), we noted that, in June 1997,Committee staff determined that
the group’s disbursements for 1996and part of 1997were made without the prior voucher preparation and
approval. As noted in the Committee’s procedures, applicable statutes require that appropriated funds for
interparliamentary groups be disbursed on vouchers approved by each group’s chairman. Once the lack of prior
voucher preparzition and approval was known, the group’s chairman and Committee staff acted to review and
approve, after the fact, the disbursements and help ensure future compliance with Committee procedures.

 4                                                     GAO/AIMD-99-279R Interparliamentary            Groups
Enclosure 1

2. Trace the opening and closing fund balances for 1997 and 1998 in the group’s general
    journal and related bank statements to the opening and closing fund balances in the group’s
     Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and F’und Balance for 1997 and 1998.

3. Recalculate the group’s ending balances for 1997 and 1998 by adding alI receipts posted to
    the journal to the opening balances recorded in the journal for 1997 and 1998 and
    subtracting ah disbursements or other charges recorded in the journal for 1997 and 1998.
    Compare the results to the amount recorded as ending balances in the general journal and
    shown on the Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance.

4. Using the amounts recorded in the general journal for 1997 and 1998, recalculate the (a)
    total receipts and total disbursements for the year and (b) total receipts for each year by
    category (appropriations, interest, and other) and total disbursements for each year by
    category (representational functions, interpreters/translators, travel, lodging, transfers to
    U.S. Treasury, and miscellaneous). Trace the recalculated amounts to the amounts in the
    1997 and 1998 Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance.

5. Review the reconciliation for the group’s 1997 and 1998 year-end bank statements and
    related reconciling items. Review subsequent bank statements for evidence that the
    reconciling items were posted as provided for in the reconciliation.

6. With respect to each procedure, obtain an explanation for any differences between the
    amounts recorded in the general journal, the bank statements, and the Schedule of
    Receipts, Disbursements, and F’und Balance.

Results

The groups’receipt and disbursement transactions were correctly recorded in their general
journals. In addition, for 1997 and 1998, the receipts and disbursements, by category and in
total, as well as the beginning and ending fund balance reported in each group’s Schedule of
Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance for 1997 and 1998 were correctly totaled and
 agreed with the amounts recorded in each group’s general journal for the year. Reconciling
items for each group’s 1997 and 1998 year-end bank statements were subsequently posted by
the bank to the group’s bank account.




5                                                GAO/AI&ID-99-279R InterparIiamentary       Groups
Enclosure 2

                        Schedules         for the Internarliamentary                       Grouts CUnaudited)

British-American Intermrliamentmv                         Group


                                                            House of Representatives
                                                  British-American Interparliamentary Group
                                             Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance’
                                                                    (Unaudited)

                                                                                             For the Year Ended December 31
                                                                                           1998                           1997
    Beginning Fund Balance2                                                          $1 W14.61                       $ 88.39515
    Receipts:
             Appropriation                                                           $25,ooo.00                      $25300.00
             Interest                                                                  2,343.10                        2,419.46
    Total receipts                                                                   $27543.10                       %27,419.46
    Disbursements:
            Representationalfunctions3                                                 $ 603.30                            0.00
            Transfersto U.S. Treasury4                                                  8563.25                            0.00
            Miscellaneous                                                                  10.88                           0.00
    Total disbursements                                                                %9,177.43                           0.00
             Ending Fund Balance’                                                    $133,980.28                    $115,814.61




               ‘The Scheduleof Receipts,Disbursements,and Fund Balanceis preparedon a cash basis.

              *BeginningFund Balancerepresentsthe balanceat January 1.1997 and 1998,of interparliamentary
    group funds carriedover from the prior period.

              3Representational
                              functions include the costs associatedwith holding the interparliamentarygroups’
    annualconferences.Thesecosts include expensesfor supplies,gift items, ground transportation,official
    delegationgroup meals,and meeting room costs.

               vransfers representdisbursementsby the group to the U.S. Treasury pursuantto Section 502(b) of
    Tide V of Public Law 103-236(108 Stat.462). Under this provision, interest earnedfrom funds provided to the
    grouppursuantto Section303 of Title JII of Public Law 100-202(101 Stat. 1329-23;22 U.S.C. 276 note) and
    depositedin interest-bearingaccountsshall be periodically depositedin a miscellaneousaccount of the Treasury.

               %ding Fund Balancerepresentsthe fund balanceremaining at December3 1.1998 and 1997,and
    availablefor use in a subsequentperiod.




6                                                                           GAOMMD-99-279R Interparliamentary Groups
Enclosure 2

Canada-United States Intertxwliamentarv Group

                                               House of Representatives
                                   Canada-United StatesInterparliamentary Group
                                Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements,and Fund Balance’
                                                       (Unaudited)

                                                                                   For the Year Ended December 31
                                                                                 1998                          1997
    Beginning Fund Balance2                                                 $93.314.67                          $72.14442
    Receipts:      ,
                Appropriation                                               $35,ooo.00                          $35,ooo.00
                Interest                                                      L738.73                                2,081.99
                Othe?                                                         1,80X.86                                182.26
    Total receipts                                                          $38,547.59                          $37964.25
    Disbursements:
            Representatiomdfunction?                                        $38,319.30                          $ 8,537.50
            Travel                                                              330.00                              618.00
            Lodging/perdiem                                                  13.506.50                            6,375.64
            Transfersto U.S. Treasur$                                         6,261.47                                0.00
            Miscellaneous                                                     1,941.Ol                              562.86
    Total disbursements                                                     $60,358.28                          $16,094.00
    Ending Fund Balance6                                                    $71,503.98                          %93,314.67




                 ‘The Scheduleof Receipts,Disbursements,and Fund Balanceis preparedon a cash basis.

              2BegioningFund Balancerepresentsthe balanceat January1,1997 and 1998, of interparliamentary
    group funds carded over from the prior period.

                 ‘Other receiptsconsist of amountsrepaid by congressionalmembers/stafffor expensesunrelatedto
    activities of interparliamentarygroups that were initially paid out of annualappropriationsprovidedto fund the
    group; it also includesreimbursementfrom RepresentativeHoughtonfor official expensesincurred.

              4Representationalfunctions include the costsassociatedwith holding the interparliamentarygroups’
    annual conferences.Thesecosts include expensesfor supplies,gift items, ground transportation,official
    delegationgroup mesh, and meeting room costs.

                sTransfersrepresentdisbursementsby the group to the U.S. Treasury pursuantto Section502(b) of
    Title V of Public Law 103-236(108 Stat. 462). Under this provision, interestearnedfrom funds provided to the
    group pursuantto Section303 of Title III of Public Law 100-202(101 Stat. 1329-23;22 U.S.C. 276 note) and
    depositedin interest-bearingaccountsshall be periodically depositedin a miscellaneousaccountof the Treasury.

                %nding Fund Balancerepresentsthe fund balanceremainingat December 31,199s and 1997, and
    available for use in a subsequentperiod.




7                                                                           GAO/AlMD-QQ-279RInterparliamentary Groups
Enclosure 2

Mexico-United States Intermrliamentarv                          Grout,

                                                           House of Representatives
                                                Mexico-United States interparliamentary Group
                                             Scheduleof Receipts, Diibursements, and Fund Balance’
                                                                   (Unaudited)
                                                                                          For the Year Ended December 31
                                                                                        1998                          1997
    Beginning Fund Balance’                                                         $108.431.46                    $10.5,814.42
    Receipts:
             Appropriation                                                           $40,ooo.00                    $40,ooo.00
                                                                                       2,349.95                      2.799.06
              EZF                                                                          0.00      -               2.028.15
    Total receipts                                                                   $42$l9.95                     $4+X27.21
    Disbursements:
            Representationalfunctions4                                               $ 2.344.60                    $28.823.43
            bwpreterskanslation                                                          760.18                      4540.57
            Travel                                                                       964.30                       1.185.00
            Lodging/perdiem                                                            4.669.91                      7,136.49
            Transfersto U.S. Treasuq?                                                  9,201.48                           0.00
            Miscellaneous                                                                292.32                         524.68
    Total disbursements                                                              SKQ32.79                      $42,210.17
    Ending Fund Balance6                                                             $132,548.62                   $108,431.46




                ‘The Scheduleof Receipts, Disbursements,and Fund Balanceis preparedon a cashbasis.

                2BeginningFund Balance representsthe balanceat January1, 1997and 1998,of interparliamentary
    group   funds carriedover from the prior period.

             ‘Other receiptsrepresent(1) funds receivedfrom the Senateinterparliamentarygroup for shared
    expensesoriginally paid with House funds and (2) funds receivedfrom a previousinvoice overcharge.

              4Representationalfunctions include the costsassociatedwitb holding the interparliamentasygroups’
    annualconferences.Thesecosts include expensesfor supplies,gift items, groundtransportation,official
    delegationgroup meals,and meeting room costs.

                ‘Transfersrepresentdisbursementsby the groupto the U.S. Treasurypursuantto Section502(b) of
    Title V of Public Law 103-236(108 Stat. 462). Under this provision, interestearnedfrom funds providedto the
    group pursuantto Section303 of Title III of Public Law loo-202 (101 Stat. 1329-23;22 U.S.C. 276 note) and
    depositedin interest-bearingaccounts shall be periodicallydepositedin a miscellaneousaccountof the Treasury.

               %nding Fund Balance representsthe fund balanceremaining at December31,199s and 1997,and
    availablefor use in a subsequentperiod.




8                                                                         GAO/AZ&ID-QQ-279R
                                                                                          Interparliamentary                      Groups
Enclosure 2

United States-EuroDean Communitv Intertmrliamentarv Group

                                                            House of Representatives
                                          United States-European Community lnterparliameutary Group
                                             Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements,and Fund Balance’
                                                                    (Unaudited)

                                                                                            For the Year Ended December 31
                                                                                          1998                           1997

    BeginningFund Balance’                                                            $110,392.97                    $90,458.48

    Receipts: .
             Appropriation                                                            $ 50$00.00                     $50,000.00
             Interest                                                                    2,015.87      -               2,693.85

    Total receipts                                                                    $52,015.87                     %.52,693.85

    Disbursements:
            Representationalfunctions’                                                s 54.295.24                    $27,296.63
            Iuterpreterskranslation                                                      7,326.84                       5,265.OO
            Travel                                                                       1,121.oo                           0.00
            Lodging/perdiem                                                              8.251.85                           0.00
            Transfersto U.S. Treasury4                                                   8.503.91                           0.00
            Miscellaneous                                                                  190.90                         197.73

    Total disbursements                                                               $79,689.74                     $32,759.36

    Ending Fund Balance’                                                              $82,719.10                     $110,392X




               ‘The Scheduleof Receipts,Diibursements, and Fund Balanceis preparedon a cash basis.

              ‘Beginning Fund Balance representsthe balance at January1.1997 and 1998. of interparliamentary
    group funds carriedover from the prior period.

              3Representational
                             functions include the costs associatedwith holding the interparliamentarygroups’
    annualconferences.Thesecosts include expensesfor supplies, gift items, groundtmnsportation, official
    delegationpup meals,and meeting room COSTS.

                %ansfers representdisbursementsby the group to the U.S. Treasurypursuantto Section 502(b) of
    Title V of Public Law 103-236(108 Stat. 462). Under this provision, interestearnedfrom funds providedto the
    group pursuantto Section303 of Title JII of Public Law loo-202 (101 Stat. 1329-23;22 U.S.C. 276 note) and
    depositedin interest-bearingaccountsshall be periodically depositedin a miscellaneousaccount of the Treasury.

               %ding Fund Balancerepresentsthe fund balanceremaining at December31.1998 and 1997,and
    availablefor use in subsequentperiods.




9                                                                         GAOMMD-99-279R Interparliamentary Groups
Enclosure 2

United States Grow of the North Atlantic Assembly

                                                             House of Representatives
                                                United States Group of the North Atlantic Assembly
                                              Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance’
                                                                     (Unaudited)
                                                                                             For the Year Ended December 31
                                                                                           1998                          1997
     Beginning Fund Balance*                                                          $160.858.78                     $144,132.85
     Receipts:
                 Appropriation                                                        $ 50,000.00                     $50,000.00
                 Interest                                                                3,141.49                       3,671.45
                 Othd                                                                        0.00       -                 536.10
     Total receipts                                                                    $53,141.49                     $54307.55
     Disbursements:
             Representational functions4                                               $25,330.65                     S 27,053.51
             Interpreters/translation                                                         0.00                       3.130.18
             Travel                                                                       2,859.84                           0.00
             Lodging/perdiem                                                              2.60564                            0.00
             Transfersto U.S. Treas&                                                     12.846.16                           0.00
             Miscellaneous                                                                3.661.98                       7291.93
     Total disbursements                                                               $47304.27                      $37,481.62
     Ending Fund Balance6                                                             $166,696&O                      $160,858.78




                  ‘The Scheduleof Receipts,Disbursements,and Fund Balanceis preparedon a cash basis.

               *BeginningFund Balancerepresentsthe balanceat January 1.1997 and 1998, of interparliamentary
     group funds catried over from the prior period.

                  ‘Other receiptsrepresent(1) refimds of previous overpaymentsto embassyand (2) refunds to the fund
     from congressionalmembers/stafffor expensesunrelatedto activities of interparliamentarygroups that were
     initially paid out of the group’s fund.

               4RepresentationaJ
                               functions include the costs associatedwith holding each of the interpurliamentary
     groups’annualconferences,such as supplies,gift items, ground transportation,official delegationgroup meals,
     and control rooms.

                 %ansfers representdisbursementsby the group to the U.S. Treasurypursuant to Section 502(b) of
     Title V of Public Law 103-236(108 Stat.462). Under this provision, interestearnedfrom funds provided to the
     group pursuantto Section303 of Title JR of Public Law 100-202(101 Stat. 1329-23;22 U.S.C. 276 note) and
     depositedin interest-bearingaccountsshahbe periodically depositedin a miscellaneousaccount of the Treasury.

                %nding.FundBalancerepresentsthe fund balanceremaining at December 31, 1998 and 1997,and
     availablefor use in a subsequentperiod.




(917753)

10                                                                          GAO/AI&ID-99-279R Interparliamentary Groups
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