This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-10-524R 
entitled 'Final Review of Expenses from the Department of Justice 
Permanent Indefinite Appropriation Covering the 7-Month Period Ending 
September 30, 2009' which was released on March 31, 2010. 

This text file was formatted by the U.S. Government Accountability 
Office (GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, as 
part of a longer term project to improve GAO products' accessibility. 
Every attempt has been made to maintain the structural and data 
integrity of the original printed product. Accessibility features, 
such as text descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotes 
placed at the end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters, 
are provided but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or format 
of the printed version. The portable document format (PDF) file is an 
exact electronic replica of the printed version. We welcome your 
feedback. Please E-mail your comments regarding the contents or 
accessibility features of this document to Webmaster@gao.gov. 

This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright 
protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed 
in its entirety without further permission from GAO. Because this work 
may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the 
copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this 
material separately. 

GAO-10-524R:  

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548:  

March 31, 2010: 

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye:
Chairman:
The Honorable Thad Cochran:
Vice Chairman:
Committee on Appropriations:
United States Senate: 

The Honorable David R. Obey:
Chairman:
The Honorable Jerry Lewis:
Ranking Member:
Committee on Appropriations:
House of Representatives: 

Subject: Final Review of Expenses from the Department of Justice 
Permanent Indefinite Appropriation Covering the 7-Month Period Ending 
September 30, 2009: 

This report presents the results of our review of the expenses paid 
from the Department of Justice (DOJ) permanent, indefinite 
appropriation covering the 7-month period ending September 30, 2009. 
The expenses we reviewed were those paid out of the permanent, 
indefinite appropriation by DOJ between March 1, 2009, and September 
30, 2009, to cover Independent and Special Counsel administrative 
activities. With the October 2009 repeal of the requirement for a GAO 
review and report on such expenses, this represents our final report. 

Background: 

The independent counsel law directed DOJ to pay all costs related to 
the establishment and operation of any office of independent counsel. 
[Footnote 1] A permanent, indefinite appropriation was established by 
Public Law 100-202[Footnote 2] within DOJ to pay all necessary 
expenses for investigations and prosecutions by independent counsels 
appointed pursuant to the independent counsel law or other law. 
Subsequent to the termination of the independent counsel law, DOJ 
determined that the permanent, indefinite appropriation is available 
to fund the expenditures of U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who 
was appointed as a special counsel within DOJ by the then Acting 
Attorney General.[Footnote 3] 

On December 30, 2003, the then-Acting Attorney General appointed U.S. 
Attorney Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel to investigate whether 
officials of the George W. Bush administration illegally disclosed the 
identity of an undercover Central Intelligence Agency officer. In 
March 2007, after a jury trial, an administration official was 
convicted of perjury, lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 
and obstruction of justice in the investigation. In July 2007, the 
President of the United States commuted the prison term imposed by the 
sentencing judge upon the administration official. The administration 
official dropped his appeal of his convictions in December 2007. The 
activities of the special counsel were, for all practical purposes, 
concluded as of March 2008. However, the office of the special counsel 
remained open to respond to congressional requests for information. 
The office began archiving case files during the 7-month period ending 
September 30, 2009. 

Under Public Law 100-202, we were required to perform semiannual 
financial reviews of expenses paid from the fund and report our 
findings to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. To satisfy 
this requirement, we reviewed expenses processed by DOJ and paid out 
of the permanent, indefinite appropriation to determine whether they 
were properly authorized and approved, supported by appropriate 
documentation, recorded accurately, and made in accordance with 
selected provisions of laws and regulations. On October 1, 2009, 
Public Law 111-68, Division A, section 1501(d), repealed the 
requirement for GAO's semiannual review and report. Specifically, 
section 1501(d) provided that GAO is no longer required to perform a 
semiannual review of expenses paid from the permanent, indefinite 
appropriation effective October 1, 2009. Consequently, we are issuing 
this final review under our general authority to report on the use of 
public funds in order to (1) report on the 7-month period ending 
September 30, 2009, that would have been covered under the repealed 
mandate, and (2) provide notice of the cessation of our reviews. 

The independent counsel law also designates specific responsibilities 
to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) for the 
administrative support of independent counsels. DOJ periodically 
disbursed lump-sum payments to AOUSC for this purpose. 

As ordered by the Special Division, the Office of Independent Counsel 
Barrett--the last independent counsel office--was terminated on May 3, 
2006. After that date, the AOUSC continued to perform its 
administrative responsibilities. There have been no independent 
counsels in operation since May 3, 2006. However, there was one active 
special counsel. 

Results of Our Review: 

Expenses Related to Special Counsel Fitzgerald: 

Our review of the expenses on behalf of Special Counsel Fitzgerald 
covering the 7 months ending September 30, 2009, found that DOJ 
processed and paid expenses totaling $55,433. The expenses consisted 
of personnel compensation and benefits, travel and lodging, and 
contractual services. We found that all expenses were supported by 
appropriate documentation and were properly authorized, approved, and 
recorded. A breakdown of expenses incurred related to the office of 
Special Counsel Fitzgerald's for the 7 months ended September 30, 
2009, is presented in table 1 below. 

Table 1: Special Counsel Fitzgerald Office's Expenses for the 7 Months 
Ended September 30, 2009: 

Description: Personnel compensation and benefits; 
Amount: $7,181. 

Description: Travel and lodging; 
Amount: $7,049. 

Description: Contractual services; 
Amount: $41,978. 

Description: Credits for payroll processing fee reversals; 
Amount: ($775). 

Description: Total; 
Amount: $55,433. 

Source: DOJ Financial Management Information System.  

[End of table]  

For the period of our review, personnel compensation and benefits of 
employees assigned to assist with the archival of the special counsel 
case files totaled $7,181. The special counsel also incurred travel 
expenses of $7,049 to assist with the archival of the case files. In 
addition, the special counsel incurred contractual service expenses 
totaling $41,978 related to payments to a vendor assisting with the 
archival process. 

During our review, we also found several credits totaling $775 related 
to reversals of National Finance Center payroll processing fees that 
DOJ erroneously charged to the special counsel. We determined that all 
credits were supported by appropriate documentation. 

Our tests for compliance with selected provisions of laws and 
regulations disclosed no instances of noncompliance with respect to 
the expenses processed and paid by DOJ that would be reportable under 
U.S. generally accepted government auditing standards. 

Expenses Related to Closed Independent Counsels: 

On September 15, 2009, the AOUSC requested reimbursement of $65,781 
for expenses related to the formerly active independent counsels. 
According to the AOUSC, the vast majority of this amount related to 
expenses that the AOUSC had previously paid on behalf of Independent 
Counsel Barrett but for which the AOUSC was not previously reimbursed. 
However, the AOUSC was unable to provide us with detailed support for 
these expenses. 

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

Our objectives were to determine whether the expenses processed by DOJ 
and paid out of the permanent, indefinite appropriation for the 7- 
month period ending September 30, 2009, were properly authorized and 
approved, supported by appropriate documentation, recorded accurately, 
and made in accordance with selected provisions of laws and 
regulations. 

To perform our review, we obtained expense data files from DOJ and 
traced the recorded expenses to supporting documentation including 
payroll records, travel vouchers, and invoices. We reviewed all 
expenses paid out of the permanent, indefinite appropriation between 
March 1, 2009, and September 30, 2009, for proper authorization and 
approval to determine whether they were supported by appropriate 
documentation and recorded accurately by DOJ. We also reviewed 
expenses to determine whether they were made in accordance with 
selected provisions of Title 5 of the United States Code, the Prompt 
Payment Act, and selected provisions related to pay administration and 
travel regulations. We were not required to, nor did we test, the 
appropriateness of the expenses. 

We conducted this performance audit from January 2010, through March 
2010, in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the review 
to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable 
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our review objectives. 
We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for 
our findings and conclusions based on our review objectives. We 
provided a draft of this correspondence to the Department of Justice, 
Justice Management Division, and Special Counsel Fitzgerald. These 
entities agreed with the facts and conclusions presented in our draft 
correspondence. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Chairman and Ranking 
Members of the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, the 
Attorney General, the Special Counsel, and other interested parties. 
In addition, this correspondence is available at no cost on GAO's Web 
site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. Please contact me at (202) 
512-3406 or sebastians@gao.gov if you or your staff have any questions 
concerning this correspondence. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this correspondence. GAO staff who made major contributions to 
this correspondence are Julie Phillips, Assistant Director; Vivian 
Gutierrez; and Richard Cambosos.  

Signed by:  

Steven J. Sebastian:
Director:
Financial Management and Assurance: 

[End of section]  

Footnotes:  

[1] 28 U.S.C. § 594(d)(2).  

[2] The permanent, indefinite appropriation was established by Pub. L. 
No. 100-202, § 101(a), title II, 101 Stat. 1329, 1329-9 (Dec. 22, 
1987), 28 U.S.C. § 591 note. 

[3] We reviewed the legal authority for the Department of Justice to 
use the permanent, indefinite appropriation to fund the expenses 
relating to Special Counsel Fitzgerald's investigation and, in our 
opinion to the Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations 
Committees, concluded that such use was not an illegal, improper, or 
unauthorized use of the appropriation. B-302582 (Sept. 30, 2004).  

[End of section]  

GAO's Mission:  

The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation and 
investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting 
its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance 
and accountability of the federal government for the American people. 
GAO examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and 
policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance 
to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding 
decisions. GAO's commitment to good government is reflected in its core 
values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.  

Obtaining Copies of GAO Reports and Testimony:  

The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no 
cost is through GAO's Web site [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. Each 
weekday, GAO posts newly released reports, testimony, and 
correspondence on its Web site. To have GAO e-mail you a list of newly 
posted products every afternoon, go to [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov] 
and select "E-mail Updates."  

Order by Phone:  

The price of each GAO publication reflects GAO’s actual cost of
production and distribution and depends on the number of pages in the
publication and whether the publication is printed in color or black and
white. Pricing and ordering information is posted on GAO’s Web site, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/ordering.htm].  

Place orders by calling (202) 512-6000, toll free (866) 801-7077, or
TDD (202) 512-2537.  

Orders may be paid for using American Express, Discover Card,
MasterCard, Visa, check, or money order. Call for additional 
information.  

To Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Programs:  

Contact:  

Web site: [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm]: 
E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov: 
Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470:  

Congressional Relations:  

Ralph Dawn, Managing Director, dawnr@gao.gov: 
(202) 512-4400: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7125: 
Washington, D.C. 20548:  

Public Affairs:  

Chuck Young, Managing Director, youngc1@gao.gov: 
(202) 512-4800: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7149: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: