Capitol Preservation Fund:

Audit of Fiscal Years 2008 through 2010 Transactions

GAO-12-85R: Published: Oct 14, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 2011.

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In November 1988, the Capitol Preservation Commission (Commission) was established for the purpose of providing for improvements in, preservation of, and acquisitions for the United States Capitol. At the same time, the Capitol Preservation Fund (Fund) was established within the U.S. Treasury (Treasury) and was made available to the Commission to provide financing for the Commission to carry out its purpose. The Library of Congress (Library) provides financial management services and support to the Commission. GAO is required to audit the transactions of the Commission and report the results to the Congress. This report presents the results of our audit of the Commission's transactions as recorded in the Fund during fiscal years 2008 through 2010. Our audit objectives were to determine whether (1) the Fund's recorded transactions for fiscal years 2008 through 2010 were authorized in advance, supported by documentation, accurately accounted for, and in compliance with applicable laws: and (2) operating, reporting, and oversight practices were documented and in place at the Commission and the Library to help ensure that Fund transactions were properly executed and Fund assets were adequately safeguarded.

For fiscal years 2008 through 2010, the Fund's recorded transactions consisted of 159 investment transactions recorded and accounted for by the Library. With one exception, the Fund's recorded transactions were authorized in advance, supported by documentation, and accurately accounted for. We also found that all recorded transactions were in compliance with the applicable laws that we deemed significant to the objectives of our audit. For fiscal years 2008 through 2010, operating and oversight practices were documented and in place at the Commission. For the same period, with the exception of investment and reporting practices, the Fund's operating practices were documented and in place at the Library. The documented practices at both the Commission and the Library helped to ensure that Fund transactions were properly executed and Fund assets were adequately safeguarded. The Commission had documented operating practices used to account for the receipts, disbursements, investments, and oversight of the Fund. These practices are described in legislation, the Rules of the Commission, and memoranda from the Commission to the Library. The Library had documented operating practices used to account for Fund disbursements in its payment directive. However, the Library's investment and reporting practices used in providing services to the Commission were not documented and approved. Until the Library's investment practices are documented and approved, the Commission and the Library are at risk that funds will not be consistently invested in accordance with applicable operating practices, and Fund assets will not be adequately safeguarded against loss or unauthorized use or distribution. Furthermore, having documented reporting practices at the Library would provide further assurance that the Commission is provided information on a routine basis to adequately monitor the Fund. We are making a recommendation to the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives to work with the Library to ensure that the Library documents and approves practices used to carry out the Library's investment and reporting responsibilities supporting the Capitol Preservation Fund. The Chief Financial Officer of the Library of Congress, the Secretary of the Senate, and the Clerk of the House of Representatives agreed with our recommendation and worked together to complete procedures to address our recommendation.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In September 2011, the Library and the Commission took action to address this recommendation. Specifically, the Library's Office of the Chief Financial Officer formally documented and approved investment procedures that will help provide assurance that the Fund's assets will be consistently invested in accordance with applicable operating practices. Additionally, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House worked in coordination with the Library to issue accounting guidelines for the Fund. These guidelines require that the Library prepare a report highlighting Fund financial transaction activities and send it to the Commission on a quarterly basis. Having documented reporting practices provides assurance that the Commission is provided information on a routine basis to adequately monitor the Fund.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives should work with the Library's Chief Financial Officer to ensure that the Library documents and approves operating practices for its investment and reporting responsibilities supporting the Capitol Preservation Fund.

    Agency Affected: Clerk of the House

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In September 2011, the Library and the Commission took action to address this recommendation. Specifically, the Library's Office of the Chief Financial Officer formally documented and approved investment procedures that will help provide assurance that the Fund's assets will be consistently invested in accordance with applicable operating practices. Additionally, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House worked in coordination with the Library to issue accounting guidelines for the Fund. These guidelines require that the Library prepare a report highlighting Fund financial transaction activities and send it to the Commission on a quarterly basis. Having documented reporting practices provides assurance that the Commission is provided information on a routine basis to adequately monitor the Fund.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives should work with the Library's Chief Financial Officer to ensure that the Library documents and approves operating practices for its investment and reporting responsibilities supporting the Capitol Preservation Fund.

    Agency Affected: Secretary of the Senate

 

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