Additional Controls Are Needed Over Navy Relief Fundraising Activities

AFMD-82-62: Published: Jun 18, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 1982.

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GAO conducted an inquiry regarding an allegation that a planned 1981 fundraising campaign at a Navy installation for the Navy Relief Society (NRS), which provides interest-free loans or grants to Navy and Marine servicemen and their dependents during emergencies, violated State and Federal regulations and Navy policies and instructions. Specifically, it was alleged that campaign plans included the raffling of beer and liquor and the use of civilian employees as campaign organizers. It was further alleged that campaign activities interfered with official work and that improper fundraising activities occurred at other Navy installations.

The authorization for the 1981 fundraising campaign granted a limited exemption to the prohibition on gambling, betting, and lotteries on Government owned, leased, and controlled property by permitting commanders to conduct raffles and similar games of chance. Two conditions were placed on this exemption: (1) the commanding officer must determine that the proposed raffles will be consonant with local law and must give full consideration to all relevant community relations implications; and (2) the commanding officer must establish adequate administrative controls to ensure that all proceeds after expenses are donated to the NRS. GAO auditors found that the campaign included a beer raffle, but not a liquor raffle, and a poker game was witnessed in which one-fourth of the winnings were donated to the NRS. Navy officials were not sure whether campaign activities were legal or appropriate and stated that other commands conduct similar or more extensive campaigns. GAO concluded that the Navy lacks adequate or formal guidance defining: (1) what activities are permissible during the NRS campaigns; (2) who may be excused from work to participate in the campaigns; and (3) how much official time may be spent on the campaigns. Navy officials generally agreed with these findings, and the 1982 authorization of the fundraising campaign was modified so that: (1) civilian personnel should not be assigned to work in their official capacities in support of the campaign; and (2) the gambling exemption which authorized games of chance will not extend to card games such as poker.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Navy should direct commands to develop guidelines for future campaigns with an emphasis on compliance with local, State, and Federal regulations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Navy should direct commands to develop clear guidelines on who may be used in support of the campaign.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Navy should direct commands to establish internal administrative controls over fundraising activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Naval Command Inspection Program should evaluate the fundraising activities of the Navy Relief Campaign to ensure that proper administrative controls will be established before future Navy Relief Society fundraising activities are conducted.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

 

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