Monday, February 06, 2006

Agency Spotlight: GAO

Agency Overview: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) studies the programs of the federal government with an eye towards fiscal responsibility and efficiency. The agency also investigates allegations of illegal activities. The head of the agency (The Comptroller General) also issues some legal decisions.

Relevance to Legal Research: These nonpartisan reports can support policy arguments (e.g., by providing statistics regarding a program's effectiveness and total federal money spent on programs) and may be a useful supplement to legislative history as GAO representatives often testify at Congressional hearings.

Research Tips: The GAO website has a searchable database of GAO reports going back to before 1970 that may be searched by keyword or browsed by topic. Westlaw's GAO Reports Database (GAO-RPTS) has reports back to 1994.

Keep up with new GAO reports by signing up for email notification or subscribing to an RSS feed.