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entitled 'GAO's Congressional Protocols' which was released on July 16, 
2004.

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GAO's Congressional Protocols: 

July 2004: 

GAO-04-310G: 

GAO's Mission: 

GAO exists to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional 
responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the 
accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the 
American people.

GAO performs a range of oversight, insight- and foresight-related work 
to support the Congress, including the following:

* evaluations of federal programs, policies, operations, and 
performance;

* management and financial audits to determine ether public funds are 
spent efficiently, effectively, and in accordance with applicable laws;

* investigations to assess whether illegal or improper activities are 
occurring;

* analyses of the financing for government activities;

* constructive engagements in which GAO works proactively with 
agencies, when appropriate, to help guide their efforts towards 
transformation and achieving positive results;

* legal opinions to determine whether ether agencies are in compliance 
with applicable laws;

* policy analyses to assess needed actions and the implications of 
proposed actions; and; 

* additional assistance to the Congress in support of its oversight, 
appropriations, legislative, and other responsibilities.

Core Values:

Accountability: 
Integrity: 
Reliability:

Source: GAO (front and inside front covers): 

[End of GAO's Mission]

Letter: 
July 16, 2004:

This document contains updated protocols governing GAO's work for the 
Congress. Since we implemented the original protocols in November 2000, 
we have monitored their application, and several areas were identified 
as needing additional clarity to enhance our ability to better serve 
the Congress. The refinements in this edition reflect feedback from 
Members of Congress and their staffs since the original implementation 
and, more specifically, comments received between November 2003 and 
June 2004 on proposed revisions to the protocols. These protocols 
continue to provide a means of holding GAO accountable for commitments 
made to the Congress and ensuring that GAO is consistent in dealing 
with all committees and Members.

In order to address existing and growing workload imbalances and 
provide more transparency about our decision-making criteria, these 
revised protocols clarify our authority to conduct work, delineate our 
priorities for initiating work, and identify the factors we consider 
before accepting congressional requests for work. These revisions and 
other important aspects of our protocols are highlighted on the 
following pages.

Along with all members of the GAO team, I look forward to continuing 
our mission of supporting the Congress in meeting its constitutional 
responsibilities and helping improve the performance and ensure the 
accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the 
American people. We will continue to monitor the application of these 
protocols and will consider what, if any, additional refinements should 
be made in the future. Any future revisions will also be made in 
consultation with the Congress. I encourage you to contact our 
Congressional Relations office on  (202) 512-4400 if you have any 
questions or comments on these protocols.

Signed by: 

David M. Walker: 
Comptroller General of the United States:

[End of section]

Highlights of GAO's Congressional Protocols: 

1. GAO bas broad authority to:

* investigate all matters related to the receipt, disbursement, and 
expenditure of federal funds; and:

* evaluate the results of a program carried out under existing law: 

- when ordered by either house of Congress,
-when requested by a committee of jurisdiction, or, 
- on the initiative of the Comptroller General.

GAO has broad rights of access to a wide range of agency information, 
but has finite resources and can only perform work that is within its 
scope of authority and competency.

2. GAO will initiate its work based on the following priorities: 

* Congressional mandates.

* Requests from senior congressional leaders and committee/subcommittee 
Chairs and/or Ranking Minority Members of committees of jurisdiction.

* Requests from individual Members, with additional consideration 
given to requests from Members who are on committees of jurisdiction.

GAO also reserves a limited portion of its resources for work initiated 
under the Comptroller General's authority.

3. Before accepting requests, GAO considers:

* the subject matter of the request;

* GAO's statutory audit and access authority, including whether the 
entity or program to be evaluated receives federal funds or is carried 
out under existing federal law;

* GAO's professional standards and core values;

* the amount of resources involved, including any related cost-benefit 
considerations;

* the extent of backlog within the GAO team that would be responsible 
for the work;

* other ongoing work being conducted for the requester(s);

* whether any related audit or investigation, including a criminal 
investigation, is ongoing or imminent by another governmental entity, 
including, but not limited to, agency Inspectors General; and:

* whether the issue is pending before administrative or judicial 
forums.

4. GAO makes the following commitments to requesters: 

* GAO will notify the requester(s) of its decision to accept or decline 
work generally within 10 days of receipt of a request and, if a request 
is accepted, GAO will keep them informed of work progress and results.

* GAO will notify the requesters) before a draft product is sent to the 
agency for comment and offer them an opportunity to receive a copy of 
the draft when the agency receives it.

* GAO will generally accommodate requests to restrict the public 
release of a product responding to a congressional request for up to 
30 calendar days. Products based on mandates will be released publicly 
when completed. In some instances, GAO may brief committees on products 
requested by individual Members.

* After consulting with the requester(s), GAO may make its results 
generally available regardless of a restriction when the results are 
relevant to pending legislation.

Source: GAO. 

[End of Highlights]

Contents: 

Letter:

Highlights of GAO's Congressional Protocols:

GAO's Congressional Protocols:

GAO's Approach: 

GAO's Statutory Authority and Responsibilities:

Priorities for Undertaking Work: 

Considerations for Accepting Requests: 

Congressional Mandates: 

Congressional Requests: 

Commitment to Congressional Requesters: 

Commitment to Co-Requesters: 

Notification of Ongoing Work: 

Agency Comments: 

Withdrawal of Requester Sponsorship: 

Product Release: 

Requests for Testimony: 

Access to Audit Documentation: 

Detailees to the Congress: 

Press Policy: 

Investigations: 

[End of section]

GAO's Congressional Protocols:

The following protocols are general principles governing GAO's audits, 
program reviews and evaluations, policy analyses, and investigations 
for the Congress.

GAO's Approach:

To effectively support the Congress, GAO must be professional, 
objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, and nonideological in all its work. 
All GAO products and services must also conform to generally accepted 
and applicable auditing, accounting, investigative, and evaluation 
principles and standards. GAO will efficiently use available resources 
to maximize its ability to meet the Congress' needs and exercise the 
independence necessary to ensure that its products and work conform to 
applicable professional standards and the agency's core values of 
accountability, integrity, and reliability.

GAO's Statutory Authority and Responsibilities:

GAO, under various statutory authorities, examines the use of federal 
funds; evaluates federal programs and activities; and provides 
information, analyses, options, recommendations, and other assistance 
to help the Congress make effective policy, funding, and oversight 
decisions. GAO frequently relies on two general statutory authorities 
to support its work. The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 authorized 
GAO to "investigate all matters related to the receipt, disbursement 
and expenditure of public funds."[Footnote 1] The Legislative 
Reorganization Act of 1970 authorized GAO "to evaluate the results of a 
program or activity the Government carries out under existing law" when 
ordered by either house of Congress, when requested by a committee of 
jurisdiction, or on the initiative of the Comptroller General.[Footnote 
2] To assist GAO in performing its work, the Congress provided GAO 
broad rights of access to a wide range of agency information. 
Specifically, the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 directs each agency 
to give GAO the information the Comptroller General requires about the 
duties, powers, activities, organizations, and financial transactions 
of the agency.[Footnote 3]

Priorities for Undertaking Work:

In striving to meet the Congress's needs, GAO senior officials consult 
regularly with senior congressional leaders and committees to ensure 
that GAO's work is prioritized in accordance with their informational 
and timing needs. GAO also consults with these congressional leaders 
regarding demands on GAO's resources by subject matter to help manage 
and minimize supply and demand imbalances.

To ensure adherence to GAO's core values, effective management 
practices, and efficient use of resources, GAO will initiate work 
according to the following priorities:

1. Congressional mandates.

2. Senior congressional leader and committee leader requests.

3. Individual Member requests, with additional consideration given to 
requests from Members who are on a committee of jurisdiction.

Congressional mandates include requirements directed by statutes, 
congressional resolutions, conference reports, and committee reports. 
Senior congressional leaders include the President Pro Tempore, Senate 
Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, Speaker of the House, House 
Majority Leader, and House Minority Leader. Committee leaders include 
the Chair and Ranking Minority Member of a committee or subcommittee 
with jurisdiction over a program or activity.

GAO reserves a limited portion of its resources for work initiated 
under the Comptroller General's authority to: (1) invest in significant 
current or emerging issues that may affect the nation's future and (2) 
address issues of broad interest to the Congress, with an emphasis on 
longer-range, crosscutting, and transformational issues.

With respect to setting priorities, GAO also considers the subject 
matter of the requested work in light of Senate and House rules 
governing the committees' jurisdiction over a program or activity, 
including their authorization, appropriation, budgetary, and oversight 
jurisdiction. When jurisdictional issues arise, GAO will encourage 
Members and staff to consult with each other to resolve any related 
issues through established Senate or House procedures.

Considerations for Accepting Requests:

GAO can only undertake work that is within the scope of its authority 
and competency. In determining whether to accept congressional 
requests, along with the scope and timing of any related work, a range 
of factors will be considered, including but not limited to:

* the subject matter of the request;

* GAO's statutory audit and access authority, including but not limited 
to, whether the entity, program, or activity to be evaluated receives 
federal funds or is carried out under existing federal law;

* GAO's professional standards and core values;

* the amount of resources involved, including any related cost-benefit 
considerations;

* the extent of backlog within any applicable GAO team that would be 
responsible for the work;

* other work being conducted for the requester(s);

* whether any related audit or investigation, including a criminal 
investigation, is ongoing or imminent by another governmental entity 
including, but not limited to, agency Inspectors General; and:

* whether the matter is pending before administrative or judicial 
forums.

Congressional Mandates:

GAO treats work that is directed by congressional mandates differently 
from congressional requests. Because congressional mandates are 
established by either the Congress or one or more committees, it is 
GAO's policy that products prepared in response to congressional 
mandates are immediately available to the Congress and the public. When 
mandates direct GAO to report to a specific committee, GAO will work 
with the majority and minority of the designated committee to clarify 
the scope of work, reporting objectives, and time frames. If the 
mandate does not specify a committee, GAO will work with the committees 
of jurisdiction (majority and minority) as set forth in Senate and 
House rules and any other committees and/or Members identified by the 
committees of jurisdiction. While the work is ongoing, GAO will provide 
the committees (1) periodic status briefings, (2) briefings on the 
preliminary and final results of the work, and (3) notification before 
the draft product is sent to the agency for comment. GAO will offer a 
copy of the draft for informational purposes.

Congressional Requests:

Congressional requests for GAO work should be made in writing by a 
Member and addressed to the Comptroller General. Members and their 
staffs are encouraged to consult with GAO officials in developing 
requests for GAO work. GAO will do work without a written request only 
if the work involves limited technical assistance that can be completed 
within 5 staff days, such as providing briefings on prior work or 
readily available information. GAO does not generally provide others 
with copies of request letters. Rather, GAO will refer any person who 
wants a copy of a request letter to the Member who submitted the 
request. However, in cases where the request letter includes 
authorization for an agency to release to GAO otherwise restricted 
information, for example, taxpayer return information, GAO may provide 
the agency with a copy of the request letter.

For requests that involve work on programs or activities relating to 
the internal operations of the Congress--the Senate, House, or both--
GAO will work with the requester to seek bipartisan and/or bicameral 
support for such requests from either (1) the senior leaders of the 
Senate and/or House or (2) the Chairs and Ranking Minority Members of 
the Senate and/or House committee(s) of jurisdiction over the 
congressional program or activity. When it is not possible to obtain 
bicameral or bipartisan support, GAO will work with the requester to 
notify the other House or party of the request before it commits to do 
the work.

Given relevant legal and other considerations often involved in work 
involving multilateral organizations, GAO may need the signatures of a 
Chair or Ranking Minority Member of a committee or subcommittee of 
jurisdiction. These organizations include the United Nations, the World 
Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

GAO does not conduct studies, reviews, evaluations, or audits of state 
or local programs or activities that are solely within the purview of 
states or local governments where there is no connection to federal 
matters. GAO does review certain state and local activities and 
programs that are (1) carried out in furtherance of federal law, such 
as environmental programs or insurance regulation or (2) funded by 
federal programs, such as Medicaid, transportation, or education. In 
addition, to assist the Congress and its committees in developing 
federal legislation, reexamining the federal role, or gauging federal 
performance, GAO sometimes reviews the practices of the states to 
ascertain "best practices" or lessons learned in dealing with 
particular issues. Further, GAO partners with state and local auditors 
to examine national issues that cross geopolitical boundaries (e.g., 
transportation, homeland security, Medicaid).

When GAO receives a request from a Member of Congress that focuses on a 
major activity or program that is solely or largely centered in a 
specific geographic area that is represented by Members beyond those 
requesting the work, GAO may advise the Members representing that 
geographic area of the timing, scope, and methodology of the work. 
After advising the requester, GAO may brief such Members shortly before 
the final report is publicly released on the findings, conclusions, and 
recommendations, without providing a copy of the report before its 
public release.

GAO provides comments on legislative bills when (1) requested to do so 
by a committee or Member of Congress, (2) GAO's authority or 
responsibilities would be affected by the bill's passage, or (3) GAO 
has information that would be useful to committees or members in 
considering or modifying the bill. In commenting on proposed 
legislation, GAO's objective is to identify likely program changes if 
the bill is enacted and the impact of such changes on a specific 
program. When GAO receives a request that covers a legislative proposal 
introduced by other Members, it may notify the key bill sponsors that 
it has been asked to comment on the bill. GAO may meet with the key 
sponsors during the fact-finding phase to obtain a better understanding 
of the purpose and objectives of the bill. After advising the 
requester, GAO may brief key sponsors shortly before the final report 
is publicly released on the results of its analysis, including its 
findings, conclusions, and recommendations as they relate to the 
legislative proposal. In these instances, GAO will not provide a copy 
of the report before it is publicly available.

In limited circumstances, GAO may be unable to do the requested work 
solely on behalf of a single congressional requester. These 
circumstances involve situations in which the request addresses an 
important issue that has broad interest to multiple committees or the 
Congress as a whole.

Commitment to Congressional Requesters:

GAO will provide to all Members who request work, generally within 10 
business days of receipt, a letter acknowledging the receipt of the 
request and either accepting or declining it. This letter may be 
augmented by a verbal communication. When a request is accepted, GAO 
will provide the requester an estimate of when the job is likely to be 
staffed (e.g., immediately, within a few weeks, within several months, 
or at a future date to be determined). When a request is declined, GAO 
will provide the requester the rationale for declining the work (e.g., 
the requested work is outside GAO's scope of authority, GAO already has 
ongoing work requested by another Member addressing the issue, or 
resource constraints limit its ability to respond to a Member's 
request). GAO will, where appropriate, suggest alternatives to meet the 
requester's needs. In consideration of its past practice for requests 
from GAO's oversight committees--Senate Governmental Affairs and House 
Government Reform--GAO will send a copy of the acknowledgement letter 
to either the Chair (if the Ranking Minority Member submitted the 
request), or the Ranking Minority Member (if the Chair submitted the 
request), of those committees.

Congressional requesters should not expect GAO to proceed with the 
request or provide additional services until GAO has informed each 
requester that it will accept the request. When Members submit 
independent requests on the same issue and GAO has not accepted the 
requests, GAO will consult with the Members and their staffs and will 
merge requests only if the requesters agree. Otherwise, GAO will 
conduct one body of work and issue separate products. In limited 
circumstances, however, GAO will work with the requesters to merge 
multiple requests it receives relating to a major event, such as a 
natural disaster or accident.

After accepting the request, GAO will initiate a meeting with the 
requester's staff generally within 20 business days to gain a better 
understanding of the requester's need for information and the nature of 
the research questions. During this meeting, GAO will (1) discuss its 
ability to respond within the desired time frame; (2) provide a verbal 
estimate of the level of GAO resources required; and (3) advise the 
requester that, as the original requester, only he or she can approve 
co-requesters. If this option is exercised, GAO will send a letter to 
the original requester and each co-requester documenting this 
agreement.

Once the requester and GAO have agreed to proceed with the request, GAO 
will provide the following to the requester:

* A letter confirming the agreements reached generally within 10 
business days after GAO and the requester agree on the terms, including 
the need for a job design phase or a preliminary expected completion 
date.

* Periodic status briefings; notification of any significant changed 
circumstances affecting the scope of work or related time frames for 
completing the work (e.g., availability, reliability, or access to 
records, data, or sources of information); and briefing(s) on the 
preliminary and final results of the work. GAO officials will make 
every effort to schedule its briefings to accommodate the schedules of 
both majority and minority Members of Congress and their staff. GAO 
prefers, but does not require, bipartisan briefings, whenever possible 
and practicable.

If GAO plans to produce a written product, it will do the following:

* Notify the requester(s) before a draft product is sent to the agency 
for comment and offer the requester(s) an opportunity to receive a copy 
of the draft for informational purposes when the agency receives the 
draft. For products that contain national security or sensitive 
information, GAO will also advise the requester when the agency has 
completed its classification or sensitivity review. By law, the Senate 
Governmental Affairs and House Government Reform committees may 
request, when a draft product is sent to the agency for comment, a copy 
of any draft product generated under GAO's legislative authority that 
was not conducted at the request of either House of Congress, a 
committee, or Member.[Footnote 4] GAO will advise these committees when 
such drafts are sent to the agency for comment.

* Allow requesters an option to restrict the public release of a 
product for up to 30 calendar days after the date the product is 
issued. This restriction does not preclude the requester from sharing 
the product with other Members. For work based on a request from 
individual Members, GAO, after consulting with the requester(s), will 
reserve the right to brief interested committees and subcommittees on 
the thrust of the report, without providing a copy, if a committee is 
holding a hearing or marking up legislation relating to the subject 
matter of the report. GAO may release a restricted report, after 
consulting with the requester(s), if its contents are released or made 
available to the public or if either body of the Congress is 
considering related legislation. GAO may release draft products that 
have been leaked or made available to the public, after advising the 
requester(s).

Commitment to Co-Requesters:

If any Member is interested in becoming a co-requester of GAO work, GAO 
will refer the Member to the original requester(s). If the original 
requester(s) agrees, the Member can then become a co-requester any time 
prior to a product's printing. GAO will extend the same commitments to 
co-requesters as the original requesters (see Commitment to 
Congressional Requesters). However, co-requesters cannot approve 
additional co-requesters or restrict the timing of the public release 
of the product.

Notification of Ongoing Work:

For any ongoing work--except for classified work and investigations--
GAO will disclose, if asked (e.g., by Members, congressional staff, 
agencies, or the press) the source of the request and the project's 
objectives, scope, and methodology. Additionally, all congressional 
offices have, through the Senate and House intranet connections to GAO, 
access to the background and key research questions for active GAO 
assignments, except for those cases where the reporting of such work 
would result in disclosing classified or other sensitive information. 
Active assignments are those that have been staffed.

Agency Comments:

As required by generally accepted government auditing standards, GAO 
will give agencies and other directly affected parties the opportunity 
to comment on a draft product to which they are a party. The substance 
of those comments will be published in the product along with GAO's 
assessment. Also, at the end of data collection and analysis, GAO will 
hold an exit conference with agency officials to (1) validate the 
factual accuracy of data gathered and (2) discuss the implications that 
flow from the data.

GAO prefers written comments on its products but will accept oral 
comments. Although GAO may give an agency or other affected party up to 
30 calendar days to comment, GAO may attempt to obtain comments in 
shorter time frames, depending on the needs of the requester and the 
complexity of the issues involved. In rare cases, the Comptroller 
General may grant an extension beyond 30 calendar days if the agency 
shows that an extension is necessary and will likely result in a more 
accurate product.[Footnote 5]

GAO will not provide an opportunity to comment in cases where: (1) 
disclosure of an investigation's results could pose risks to 
individuals and their confidentiality, (2) premature disclosure of 
information could compromise the results of the work, or (3) products 
largely reflect prior GAO work.

Withdrawal of Requester Sponsorship:

If requesters or co-requesters decide to withdraw their support of GAO 
work that will not result in a written product, they may do so at any 
time. If a written product has been planned, the requesters or co-
requesters must advise GAO of their withdrawal before the product is 
submitted for printing. Their withdrawal will not result in the 
termination of a product if GAO has expended significant resources and/
or the product is in the public interest. GAO will, under these 
circumstances, issue a product as if it were undertaken on the 
Comptroller General's initiative. The product may be addressed to 
committees of jurisdiction or the affected agency. Copies of such 
products will be sent to the committees of jurisdiction and will be 
available to other interested parties and the public.

Product Release:

All products will have a targeted issuance date. GAO will notify 
requesters approximately 30 calendar days before they are to receive a 
product and generally accommodate their requests for restrictions on 
the release of the product of up to 30 calendar days after the issuance 
date. GAO will grant extensions beyond the agreed upon release date 
only in limited cases (e.g., a change in the date of a hearing related 
to the product). For work based on a request from individual Members, 
GAO, after consulting with the requester(s), will reserve the right to 
brief interested committees/subcommittees on the thrust of the report, 
without providing a copy, if they are holding a hearing or marking up 
legislation relating to the subject matter of the report. GAO may 
release a restricted report, after consulting with the requester(s), if 
the contents of the product are released or made available to the 
public or if either body of the Congress is considering related 
legislation. In addition, GAO may release drafts of products that have 
been leaked or made publicly available. In such cases, GAO will advise 
requesters prior to the release.

On rare occasions, the results of ongoing congressionally requested 
work may be relevant to pending legislation (e.g., when GAO has 
information that could inform the legislative debate on the Senate or 
House floor) or other institutional interests. In such cases, GAO, 
after consultation with the requester(s), may make the information or 
product generally available regardless of a restriction placed on its 
release. In these cases, GAO will promptly notify the requester(s) why, 
when, and to whom the information or product will be released.

Requests for Testimony:

Requests for GAO testimony should be made by a committee or 
subcommittee Chair in writing. GAO will strive to respond to all 
congressional requests for testimony. However, GAO will decline an 
invitation to testify when (1) it cannot produce a testimony that 
conforms to its core values and professional standards or (2) the 
substance of the GAO testimony would be new information developed for 
another requester who wants to restrict the information until its 
public release. In cases of multiple requests for testimony involving 
the same subject matter, GAO will testify on the date of the first 
hearing held and will be available to testify at any subsequent 
hearings. For testimony based on new work, regardless of whether it is 
a preliminary or final product, GAO will, consistent with professional 
auditing standards, obtain the views of agency officials before the 
written testimony is completed to (1) validate the accuracy of data 
gathered and (2) discuss the implications that flow from the data. GAO 
will distribute its written testimony in accordance with the rules of 
the Senate or House, including the committees' rules, and be available 
to brief the majority and the minority on material facts, major 
findings, and recommendations included in the testimony.

Access to Audit Documentation:

GAO will grant Members, upon their written request, access to its audit 
documentation at GAO offices or will provide copies of selected audit 
documentation after a product has been made publicly available. After a 
product has been issued to a requester but is not yet publicly 
available, GAO may grant access to specific, selected audit 
documentation after receiving a written request from the requesting 
Member(s). In this situation, copies of audit documentation will not be 
provided until the report has been made publicly available. This access 
is subject to legal and privacy considerations, such as those 
concerning taxpayer return information and protected banking 
information.

Detailees to the Congress:

By law,[Footnote 6] GAO staff can be assigned on detail only to 
congressional committees, not to leadership or personal offices. GAO 
staff may not engage in partisan activities or discussions. Committee 
requests for GAO detailees should be in writing and be for specific 
purposes for a period not to exceed 1 year. All detailees must be 
approved by the Comptroller General in a manner consistent with the 
applicable rules and policies of the Senate or House.

Press Policy:

In response to media inquiries about ongoing work, GAO will provide 
information only about the objectives, scope, and methodology of an 
assignment; the names of the requesters; and the expected completion 
date. GAO will refer inquiries for any additional information to the 
requesters. As a professional courtesy, GAO will inform requesters of 
substantive media inquiries during an ongoing assignment. Once a 
product is publicly released, GAO staff with expertise in the subject 
matter will answer questions from the media. On-camera interviews for 
television news programs are done only on request and only when GAO 
deems them appropriate for public understanding of the facts, findings, 
conclusions, and recommendations of GAO products. GAO's policy is that 
senior executives with the broadest knowledge of a completed assignment 
do such interviews. Before GAO agrees to do an on-camera interview, GAO 
will advise the requesters of the media source and the expected date 
and time. If asked to participate in press briefings sponsored by 
requesters, GAO will provide support if the press briefing is held in 
Washington, D.C. In such instances, GAO will provide knowledgeable 
staff with the understanding that they are present only to answer 
questions about the specifics of released GAO products. Although GAO 
does not generally hold press conferences or issue press releases about 
products, it does advise the media and the public of the release of GAO 
products via the World Wide Web and other venues.

Investigations:

GAO has an Office of Special Investigations that (1) investigates 
referrals and congressional requests concerning specific allegations of 
federal fraud, waste, abuse, or misconduct and (2) conducts specific 
projects that require special investigative tactics. It is GAO's policy 
to conduct investigations according to standards established by the 
President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) as adapted for 
GAO's work. PCIE standards place upon GAO and its investigators the 
responsibility to ensure that (1) investigations are conducted by 
personnel who collectively possess the required knowledge, skills, and 
abilities to perform the investigations; (2) judgments made in 
collecting and analyzing evidence and communicating results are 
impartial; and (3) due professional care (e.g., thoroughness, 
appropriate use of investigative techniques, impartiality, 
objectivity, protection of individual rights, and timeliness) is 
exercised. GAO's congressional protocols apply to all investigative 
work conducted by the Office of Special Investigations unless an 
exception is specified herein or noted in advance.

FOOTNOTES

[1] 31 U.S.C. 712 (1).

[2] 31 U.S.C. 717 (b).

[3] 31 U.S.C. 716 (a).

[4] 31 U.S.C.  718 (b)(2)(B).

[5] 31 U.S.C. 718 (b)(1).

[6] 31 U.S.C. 734.

GAO's Mission:

The General Accounting Office, the 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 
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