The U.S. Government Accountability Office is an independent, nonpartisan agency that “examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, reliable information to help the government save money and work more efficiently.”
In 2015 and 2016, the GAO found dozens of problems with the way that the State Department and the Agency for International Development were doing business.
The GAO made 132 recommendations, including 50 to USAID and 82 to the State Department.
Earlier this year, the watchdog agency followed up on those recommendations and found that USAID had resolved 48 of 50, a success rate of 96 percent.
A GAO report said the State Department resolved just 45 of 82 recommendations, or 55 percent. And, the GAO said, 10 of the 37 unresolved recommendations warranted “priority attention from heads of key departments and agencies.”
State Department officials said they would continue to work with GAO to ensure that its unresolved recommendations “are closed as quickly as possible.”
The State Department told GAO:
Thank you for providing the Department with the opportunity to respond to this GAO draft correspondence. In response to the same congressional mandate, the Department is finalizing its own report on actions taken, or to be taken, on these GAO recommendations. We value the recommendations resulting from the work of the GAO as they identify ways to improve our programs and operations.
The Department has a collaborative and robust liaison relationship with the GAO. We will continue to provide GAO with quarterly updates as we work together to assure that their recommendations are closed as quickly as possible.
USAID told GAO that it was pleased with its performance and had “made it a corporate priority to carry out GAO recommendations.”