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entitled 'Audit of Special Counsel Expenditures for the 6 Months Ended 
March 31, 2008' which was released on September 24, 2008.

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GAO-08-1122R: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

September 24, 2008: 

The Honorable Robert C. Byrd: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Thad Cochran: 
Ranking Member: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable David R. Obey: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Jerry Lewis: 
Ranking Member: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
House of Representatives: 

Subject: Audit of Special Counsel Expenditures for the 6 Months Ended 
March 31, 2008: 

This report presents the results of our audit of the expenditures of 
the Office of Special Counsel-Patrick J. Fitzgerald (OSC-Fitzgerald) 
for the 6 months ended March 31, 2008. The expenditures we audited were 
those made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) between October 1, 2007, 
and March 31, 2008, from the permanent, indefinite appropriation (fund) 
for OSC-Fitzgerald. DOJ determined that the appropriation established 
by Public Law 100-202[Footnote 1] to fund expenditures by independent 
counsels appointed pursuant to the independent counsel law or other law 
is available to fund the expenditures of U.S. Attorney Patrick J. 
Fitzgerald, who was appointed as a special counsel within the 
Department of Justice by the then-Acting Attorney General.[Footnote 2] 
Under this law, we are required to perform semiannual financial reviews 
of expenditures from the fund and report our findings to the House and 
Senate Appropriations Committees. To satisfy this requirement, we audit 
each expenditure processed by DOJ to determine whether it was: properly 
authorized and approved, supported by appropriate documentation, 
recorded accurately, and made in accordance with selected provisions of 
laws and regulations. 

Background: 

On December 30, 2003, the then-Acting Attorney General appointed U.S. 
Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel to investigate 
whether officials of the current administration illegally disclosed the 
identity of an undercover Central Intelligence Agency officer. In March 
2007, after a jury trial, an administration official was convicted of 
perjury, lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and obstruction 
of justice in the investigation. In July 2007, the President of the 
United States commuted the prison term imposed by the sentencing judge 
upon the administration official. The administration official dropped 
his appeal of his convictions in December 2007. 

Expenditures during this period relate to the official's appeal of his 
conviction of perjury and obstruction of justice charges, as well as 
some expenses paid during this period that were reimbursements of 
travel and lodging incurred during the trial and sentencing. The 
activities of the special counsel were, for all practical purposes 
concluded as of March 2008, but the office of the special counsel will 
continue for limited purposes, such as responding to congressional 
requests for information. 

Results of Our Audit: 

Our audit of the expenditures on behalf of Special Counsel Fitzgerald 
covering the 6 months ended March 31, 2008, found that DOJ processed 
expenditures totaling $72,465. We found that all of the expenditures 
were supported by appropriate documentation, contained proper 
authorizations and approvals, and were properly recorded. The 
expenditures consisted primarily of personnel compensation and 
benefits, travel, and contract services. A breakdown of Special Counsel 
Fitzgerald's expenditures for the 6 months ended March 31, 2008, is 
presented in table 1 below. 

Table 1: Special Counsel Expenditures for the 6 Months Ended March 31, 
2008: 

Description: Personnel compensation and benefits; 
Amount: $22,020. 

Description: Travel and lodging; 
Amount: $7,268. 

Description: Contractual office space related services; 
Amount: $43,177. 

Description: Total; 
Amount: $72,465. 

Source: DOJ Financial Management Information System. 

[End of table] 

For the period of our review, personnel compensation and benefits of 
employees assigned to work with the special counsel amounted to 
$22,020. The special counsel also incurred travel expenditure of 
$7,268, primarily consisting of travel to Washington, D.C., during the 
appeal process as well as some travel expenses paid during the current 
period that were reimbursements of travel and lodging expenses 
previously incurred during the trial and sentencing. In addition, the 
special counsel paid $43,177 for contractual services incurred during 
the investigation, trial, sentencing, and appeal process. These 
services relate primarily to charges from the General Services 
Administration (GSA) for heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning 
services in the building that housed the Washington, D.C., special 
counsel offices. GSA charged the special counsel for these extra hours 
of ventilation services because the offices were left open especially 
for the special counsel office, so that personnel could work evenings 
and weekends during the 10-month period from October 1, 2006, to August 
1, 2007. Although most of these charges were incurred primarily before 
the current 6-month reporting period, they were billed by GSA and paid 
by the special counsel during the current audit period. 

Our tests for compliance with selected provisions of laws and 
regulations disclosed no instances of noncompliance with respect to the 
expenditures processed by DOJ on behalf of OSC-Fitzgerald that would be 
reportable under U.S. generally accepted government auditing standards. 

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

Our objectives were to determine whether the expenditures processed by 
DOJ on behalf of OSC-Fitzgerald for the 6-month period were properly 
authorized and approved, supported by appropriate documentation, 
recorded accurately, and made in accordance with selected provisions of 
laws and regulations. 

To perform our audit, we obtained expenditure data files from the DOJ 
and traced the recorded expenditures to supporting documentation 
including payroll records, travel vouchers, and invoices. We reviewed 
all expenditures made between October 1, 2007, and March 31, 2008, for 
proper authorization and approval and ensured they were supported by 
appropriate documentation and recorded accurately by DOJ on behalf of 
OSC-Fitzgerald. We also reviewed expenditures to ensure they were made 
in accordance with selected provisions of Title 5 of the United States 
Code, the Prompt Payment Act, and selected provisions related to pay 
administration and travel regulations. We were not required to, nor did 
we test, the appropriateness of the expenditures. 

We conducted this performance audit in accordance with generally 
accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we 
plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence 
to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on 
our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a 
reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit 
objectives. We performed our review in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, 
Illinois, from February 2008 to August 2008. We provided a draft of 
this correspondence to Special Counsel Fitzgerald and the Department of 
Justice-Justice Management Division. These entities agreed with the 
facts and conclusions in our correspondence. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Chairman and Ranking 
Members of the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, the 
Attorney General, the Special Counsel, and other interested parties. In 
addition, the report is available at no charge on GAO's Web site at 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. Please contact me at (202) 512-3406 or 
sebastians@gao.gov if you or your staff have any questions concerning 
this report. Contact points for our Offices of Congressional Relations 
and Public Affairs may be found on the last page of this report. GAO 
staff who made major contributions to this report are Julie Phillips, 
Assistant Director; Kwabena Ansong; and Richard Cambosos. 

Signed by: 

Steven J. Sebastian: 
Director: 
Financial Management and Assurance: 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] The permanent, indefinite appropriation was established by Pub. L. 
No. 100-202,  101(a), title II, 101 Stat. 1329, 1329-9 (Dec. 22, 
1987), 28 U.S.C.  591 note. 

[2] We reviewed the legal authority for the Department of Justice to 
use the permanent, indefinite appropriation to fund the expenditures 
relating to Special Counsel Fitzgerald's investigation and, in our 
opinion to the Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations 
Committees, concluded that such use was not an illegal, improper, or 
unauthorized use of the appropriation. B-302582 (Sept. 30, 2004). 

[End of section] 

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