Legislative / Regulatory

GAO: Accountability goes multimedia

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If you haven't read a Government Accountability Office report lately, it's time you did.

The reports may never win a Pulitzer, but they're informative and eye-opening, and they serve an important purpose: They're sort of our eyes and ears inside Washington, keeping tabs on federal agencies and programs and holding them accountable.

And talk about prolific: In the last week alone, the GAO has released reports on the Food and Drug Administration, the Forest Service, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, Iran sanctions, and the implementation of Recovery Act provisions within the Department of Energy.

Sure, some of them will put you to sleep. But the GAO releases so many reports that it's bound to get around to a topic you care about sooner or later. With categories like economic development, financial institutions, financial management and tax policy, it'll probably be sooner.

Now, the GAO is adding another weapon to its accountability arsenal -- a podcast called "Watchdog Report" that offers, in acting Comptroller General Gene Dodaro's words, "an alternative means for people to learn about significant issues and GAO reports and testimonies.”

One of its most recent podcasts: "Recovery Act's Use of Funds and Strengthening Accountability," featuring an interview with Chris Mihm, managing director of GAO Strategic Issues.

I told you they'd get around to something you care about.

Oh, yeah -- they're on Twitter and YouTube, too.

Unfortunately, the GAO reports directly to Congress. Now there's a body that could use extra doses of accountability and oversight these days.


Bill Sheridan