U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: More Operational and Financial Oversight Needed Page: 2 of 63
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Accountability- Integrity- Reliability
Highlights of GAO-04-18, a report to the
Chairman, Subcommittee on the
Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives
Why GAO Did This Study
Over the past 10 years, GAO, the
Congress, the Office of Personnel
Management (OPM), and others
have raised numerous concerns
about the U.S. Commission on Civil
Rights. GAO was asked to assess
(1) the adequacy of the
Commission's project management
procedures, (2) whether the
Commission's controls over
contracting services and managing
contracts are sufficient, and (3) the
extent of recent oversight of the
Commission's financial activities.
GAO recommends, among other
things, that the Commission adopt
procedures that provide for
involvement in projects; establish
greater controls over its
contracting activities in order to be
in compliance with federal
regulations; and take steps
immediately to meet the financial
statement preparation and audit
requirements of the Accountability
of Tax Dollars Act of 2002 for fiscal
In commenting on a draft of this
report, four of the commissioners
agreed with GAO's conclusions and
recommendations. GAO did not
receive comments from the
remaining four commissioners. In
separate comments, the staff
director indicated he will consider
recommendations but took
exception with many of GAO's
findings of management
weaknesses at the Commission.
To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Robert E.
Robertson at (202) 512-7215 or
U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
More Operational and Financial Oversight
What GAO Found
The Commission has established a set of project management procedures
for commissioners and staff to follow when they plan, implement, and report
the results of approved Commission projects. However, the procedures lack,
among other things, a requirement for systematic commissioner input
throughout projects. As a result, commissioners lack the opportunity to
review many of the reports and other products drafted by Commission staff
before products are released to the public, which serves to significantly
reduce the opportunity for commissioners to help shape a report's findings,
recommendations, and policy implications of civil rights issues.
The Commission lacks sufficient management control over its contracting
procedures. The Commission routinely did not follow proper procedures for
its fiscal year 2002 contracting activities. For the Commission's largest dollar
contract, key documentation on how the contract was initially awarded was
missing from contract files. Moreover, Commission officials did not follow
the legal requirements to obtain competition for its subsequent media
services contracts. As a result, the Commission did not have all of the
information it should have had to determine whether its contracts provided
the best value to the government.
Little, if any, external oversight of the Commission's financial activities has
taken place in recent years. An independent accounting firm has not audited
the Commission's financial statements for the last 12 years. Although the
Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002 requires the Commission-along
with certain other executive agencies-to have its financial statements
independently audited annually, the Commission has been granted a waiver
by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from compliance with the
financial statement preparation and audit requirements of the act for the
fiscal years 2002 and 2003 audit cycles, which OMB was authorized to waive
during an initial transition period of up to 2 years.
Management Reporting Structure, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Source: GAO analysis.
United States General Accounting Office
Budget & ASCD
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United States. General Accounting Office. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: More Operational and Financial Oversight Needed, report, October 31, 2003; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293466/m1/2/: accessed April 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.