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NCJ Number: 65480 Find in a Library
Title: CONFIDENTIAL SPENDING AND GOVERNMENTAL ACCOUNTABILITY
Journal: GEORGE WASHINGTON LAW REVIEW  Volume:47  Issue:2  Dated:(JANUARY 1979)  Pages:347-385
Author(s): L FISHER
Corporate Author: George Washington University
National Law Ctr
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 39
Sponsoring Agency: George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: TYPES OF GOVERNMENTAL CONFIDENTIAL SPENDING THAT ARE JUSTIFIED ONLY BY CERTIFICATES ARE IDENTIFIED, AND STATUTORY CHANGES TO CONTROL THESE EXPPENDITURES ARE RECOMMENDED.
Abstract: CONGRESS PERMITS CERTAIN AGENCIES TO USE CERTIFICATES INSTEAD OF VOUCHERS TO ACCOUNT FOR FUNDS. THIS PREVENTS THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE (GAO) FROM CONDUCTING A FULL SCALE AUDIT SINCE DOCUMENTS SUCH AS RECEIPTS AND VOUCHERS DO NOT EXIST. THE CONSTITUTIONAL CLAUSE THAT REQUIRES THE GOVERNMENT TO ACCOUNT FOR ALL RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES OF PUBLIC FUNDS HAS BEEN SUBJECT TO MANY INTERPRETATIONS, AND RECENT COURT CASES HAVE FOCUSED ON THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY'S BUDGET. IN FOREIGN RELATIONS, CONFIDENTIAL SPENDING HAS BEEN PERMITTED SINCE THE EARLY DAYS OF THE UNITED STATES. HOWEVER, AFTER SEVERAL CHALLENGES, THE STATE DEPARTMENT IS NOW LIMITED TO USING ITS CONFIDENTIAL ACCOUNTS FOR RELIEF AND REPATRIATION LOANS FOR AMERICANS ABROAD AND FOR DEPARTMENTAL EMERGENCIES. THE FOREIGN ASSISTANCE ACT OF 1961 AUTHORIZES THE PRESIDENT TO USE UP TO $50 MILLION ON HIS OWN CERTIFICATION AND PERMITS OTHER AGENCIES TO MAKE SMALLER CONFIDENTIAL EXPENDITURES. THE PEACE CORPS AND THE INSPECTOR GENERAL ALSO MAY USE CERTIFICATES TO DOCUMENT SOME EXPENDITURES. MILITARY APPROPRIATIONS CONTAIN LARGE CONFIDENTIAL SECTIONS, AND THE ENTIRE MANHATTAN PROJECT TO DEVELOP THE ATOMIC BOMB WAS FINANCED IN THIS MANNER. THE FOLLOWING AGENCIES HAVE CONFIDENTIAL FUNDS, PRIMARILY TO PAY INFORMERS WITHOUT REVEALING THEIR IDENTIFIES: THE FBI, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINSTRATION, THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, THE COAST GUARD, THE TREASURY, AND THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE. OFFICIALS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALSO HAVE CONFIDENTIAL FUNDS AT THEIR DISPOSAL. CONGRESS HAS AUTHORIZED SEVERAL CONFIDENTIAL FUNDS FOR THE PRESIDENT, INCLUDING OPERATING EXPENSES FOR THE EXECUTIVE RESIDENCE AND TRAVEL EXPENSES. SINCE THE NIXON ADMINSTRATION, PRESIDENTS HAVE NOT REQUESTED THAT THE SPECIAL PROJECTS OR EMERGENCY FUNDS BE CONFIDENTIAL. SOME CONFIDENTIAL SPENDING CAN BE JUSTIFIED ON SECURITY GROUNDS, BUT FREQUENTLY INVESTIGATIONS ARE OPPOSED BECAUSE THEY COULD CAUSE POLITICAL EMBARRASSMENT. CONFIDENTIAL FUNDS SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED BY SUBSTANTIVE LAW, NOT BURIED IN APPROPRIATION BILLS. PROVISIONS THAT ARE IN APPROPRIATIONS SHOULD BE EXPLICIT CONCERNING AMOUNTS AND AUTHORIZATIONS. THE GAO SHOULD CONDUCT SOME AUDIT TO INSURE THAT FUNDS ARE BEING SPENT AS THE LEGISLATION INTENDED, AND AGENCIES SHOULD SUBMIT ANNUAL REPORTS ON THEIR CONFIDENTIAL ACCOUNTS. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Accountability; Classified information; Confidential records access; Federal government; Legal privacy protection; Privacy and security; Privileged communications; Security; US Government Accountability Office (GAO)
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65480

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