Certificated Expenditures:

FY 1996 Presidential and Vice Presidential Certificated Expenditures and Related Matters

AIMD-99-26: Published: Oct 29, 1998. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 1998.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the reimbursable activities of the Executive Residence at the White House and provided information on the number of overnight guests and overnight stays at the Executive Residence during 1993 through 1996.

GAO noted that: (1) for fiscal year (FY) 1996, certificated expenditures of the President and Vice President totalled about $8.3 million; (2) GAO reviewed samples of FY 1996 certificated transactions and found that they were made for purposes authorized under 3 U.S.C. sections 105 and 106; (3) based on the results, GAO concluded that FY 1996 certificated expenditures were proper; (4) when official and nonofficial reimbursable events were held at the White House, the related expenses were initially paid from the Executive Residence at the White House appropriation; (5) White House records showed that, in FY 1996, 144 reimbursable events were held at the White House and that these events had total reimbursable costs of about $1.6 million; (6) the Executive Residence Organization and Procedures Manual describes key procedures for handling reimbursable activities; (7) these procedures are generally consistent with those GAO observed in its prior audits of Executive Residence at the White House certificated expenditures; (8) the Chief Usher's administrative staff inadvertently used incorrect salary rates to compute overtime and made computational errors that misstated the amounts billed for FY 1996; (9) GAO brought this matter to the attention of the Chief Usher and the White House Counsel's staff; (10) a Deputy Counsel to the President told GAO that the White House would address the misstated billings for FY 1996; (11) the First Family reimburses the Executive Residence at the White House appropriation for certain personal expenses; (12) there also may be other incidental costs associated with the First Family's nonofficial guests; (13) GAO was unable to determine the amount of these unreimbursed incidental costs because the White House does not maintain, nor is it required to have, a system to accumulate these costs; (14) in 1997, the White House publicly disclosed that 938 guests stayed overnight at the Executive Residence during 1993 through 1996 and identified 831 of them; (15) the White House had indicated that the 107 overnight guests who were not identified are relatives of the President and the First Lady and friends of their daughter; (16) GAO examined materials the White House staff stated they used to report the names of overnight guests, and GAO discussed recordkeeping on overnight guests and overnight stays with White House officials and others; and (17) GAO could not verify the number of overnight guests or determine the number of overnight stays; however, GAO did not identify any notable discrepancies between the names the White House publicly disclosed and the materials GAO examined.

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