H.R. 846 and H.R. 873 Helium Fund Audits

AIMD-95-150R: Published: Jun 15, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 1995.

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GAO suggested changes in H.R. 846, the Helium Act of 1995, and H.R. 873, the Helium Privatization Act of 1995, both of which will terminate helium operations at the Department of Interior's Bureau of Mines, and require annual audits of the Helium Fund's financial statements. GAO noted that the Inspector General's January 1995 audit report on the Bureau of Mines' principal financial statements for fiscal years 1993 and 1994 concluded that: (1) the principal financial statements were reliable in all material respects; (2) the internal control structure in effect on September 30, 1994, provided reasonable assurance that any losses of assets or misstatements in financial information that were material to the financial statements would be detected; and (3) there were no instances of material noncompliance with selected provisions of laws and regulations for fiscal year 1994. GAO also noted that: (1) Interior is not required to prepare annual audited reports detecting Helium Fund information after fiscal year 1995; (2) the effect of both H.R. 846 and H.R. 873 would be to impose a stand-alone financial audit requirement, which would cost about $75,000 annually to implement; and (3) the proposed requirements would duplicate Interior's current financial reporting and auditing practices.

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