Government Operations:

U.S. Attorney General's Travel Costs for the USA PATRIOT Act Tour and Related Activities

GAO-05-95R: Published: Oct 12, 2004. Publicly Released: Oct 12, 2004.

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In August and September of 2003, the Attorney General of the United States visited a number of cities around the country on what has been termed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as the "USA PATRIOT Act Tour." According to DOJ, the intent of the tour was to (1) educate the public and inform members of Congress about the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and (2) receive input and feedback from state and local law enforcement with respect to information sharing among law enforcement agencies and threats to homeland security. We are providing information on the locations and costs of the U.S. Attorney General's travels known as the USA PATRIOT Act Tour, as well as the locations and costs of a series of trips in September 2003 referred to by DOJ as "Life and Liberty" travel. These latter trips involved a series of speeches regarding crime statistics and other topics, including the importance of the USA PATRIOT Act. We are also providing information on the official positions and office assignments of the DOJ staff that accompanied the U.S. Attorney General on each of these travel visits. Additionally, we are reporting on the purpose and the costs associated with setting up and maintaining the new DOJ Life and Liberty Web site, http://www.lifeandliberty.gov, and the purposes of meetings or contacts held by U.S. Attorneys with members of Congress and the public on the USA PATRIOT Act in August and September 2003.

In summary, GAO found the U.S. Attorney General and his staff visited 14 states and 16 cities as part of the USA PATRIOT Act Tour and 13 states and 16 cities as part of the Life and Liberty travel. According to available DOJ data, total expenses related to the U.S. Attorney General's USA PATRIOT Act Tour, Life and Liberty travel, and the Life and Liberty Web site are $210,976.10. Expenses are reported to include $155,207.51 in travel and related expenses for the U.S. Attorney General and his staff for the USA PATRIOT Act Tour itself, $47,138.15 in travel and related expenses for the U.S. Attorney General and his staff for Life and Liberty travel, and $8,630.44 to develop and maintain the Life and Liberty Web site. Eighty of 93 U.S. Attorneys reported conducting activities that included meetings with members of Congress and the public concerning the USA PATRIOT Act in August and September 2003. According to a DOJ official, the cost of these meetings was not specifically tracked and could not be reasonably reconstructed. DOJ stated that the funds expended were part of the United States Attorney's budget used to conduct any USA business, including press conferences, speeches, etc.

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