The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is making sure that
taxpayers get their money's worth from the government. Formerly
known as the General Accounting Office, the Government
Accountability Office is the investigative arm of Congress, and, as
the name suggests, it strives to ensure accountability in the
legislative and executive branches of government. The independent
and nonpartisan agency examines federal spending, advises Congress
and heads of executive agencies about the effectiveness and
responsiveness of government, evaluates federal programs, audits
expenditures, and issues legal opinions. The GAO has an annual
budget of more than $550 million.
Besides Washington DC, the GAO operates from 11 field offices in
Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Colorado, Alabama,
California, Virginia, and Washington.
The agency estimates that about 80% of its recommendations are
implemented. It produces special publications to assist Congress
and executive branch agencies by recommending corrections to
problems in government programs and operations, identifying
long-term trends, and raising concerns about the nation's fiscal
The GAO's 2016-2020 strategies include preventing, detecting,
and reporting fraud, waste, and abuse in GAO programs and
operations in addition to improving the efficiency and
effectiveness of its operations.