B-130441.OM, JUN 2, 1982

B-130441.OM: Jun 2, 1982

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WITH REGARD TO MATCHING PROGRAMS ISSUED UNDER ACT SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT LEGALLY BINDING ON GAO. 2. GAO IS NOT SUBJECT TO TERMS OF PRIVACY ACT ALTHOUGH IT IS OUR POLICY TO CONDUCT OUR ACTIVITIES. HAS INDICATED TO US THAT YOU ARE PLANNING A COMPUTER CROSSMATCH OF OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT (OPM) RECORDS ON ACTIVE AND RETIRED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WITH UNEMPLOYMENT RECORDS FROM MARYLAND. THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS CROSSMATCH IS TO DETERMINE IF FRAUDULENT OR UNAUTHORIZED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ARE BEING PAID TO ACTIVE OR RETIRED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. SINCE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO FEDERAL CLAIMANTS ARE COMPLETELY REIMBURSED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 85 OF TITLE 5 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE.

B-130441.OM, JUN 2, 1982

SUBJECT: FPCD COMPUTER CROSSMATCH (CODE 966084; FILE B-130441) DIGEST: 1. PRIVACY ACT, 5 U.S.C. SEC. 552A, DOES NOT RESTRICT COMPUTER CROSSMATCH OF OPM RECORDS ON ACTIVE AND RETIRED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WITH UNEMPLOYMENT RECORDS FROM MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, AND DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. HOWEVER, OMB GUIDELINES, 44 FED.REG. 23138, APRIL 18, 1979, WITH REGARD TO MATCHING PROGRAMS ISSUED UNDER ACT SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT LEGALLY BINDING ON GAO. 2. GAO IS NOT SUBJECT TO TERMS OF PRIVACY ACT ALTHOUGH IT IS OUR POLICY TO CONDUCT OUR ACTIVITIES, TO MAXIMUM EXTENT PRACTICAL, IN MANNER CONSISTENT WITH SPIRIT OF ACT. 3. PRIVACY ACT DOES NOT PREVENT FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES FROM FURNISHING INFORMATION TO GAO IF DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS WOULD BE TO COMPTROLLER GENERAL, OR ANY OF HIS AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVES, IN COURSE OF PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. 5 U.S.C. SEC. 552AB)(10).

DIRECTOR, FPCD:

MR. JOHN ANDERSON, OF YOUR STAFF, HAS INDICATED TO US THAT YOU ARE PLANNING A COMPUTER CROSSMATCH OF OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT (OPM) RECORDS ON ACTIVE AND RETIRED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WITH UNEMPLOYMENT RECORDS FROM MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS CROSSMATCH IS TO DETERMINE IF FRAUDULENT OR UNAUTHORIZED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ARE BEING PAID TO ACTIVE OR RETIRED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. SINCE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS TO FEDERAL CLAIMANTS ARE COMPLETELY REIMBURSED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 85 OF TITLE 5 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE, THE PURPOSE OF YOUR AUDIT IS TO DETERMINE IF THERE ARE EFFECTIVE CONTROLS TO PREVENT UNAUTHORIZED PAYMENTS OF FEDERAL DOLLARS.

IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THIS CROSSMATCH, YOU PLAN TO OBTAIN COMPUTER TAPES OF ACTIVE AND RETIRED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES FROM OPM. YOU WILL ALSO OBTAIN TAPES OF STATE UNEMPLOYMENT RECORDS FROM EACH OF THE THREE STATES. THE ACTUAL COMPARISON, OR "MATCHING," OF THE OPM AND STATE UNEMPLOYMENT TAPES WILL BE MADE IN GAO BY GAO EMPLOYEES. THE "HITS" WILL THEN BE REFINED IN ORDER TO SCREEN OUT THOSE FOR WHICH THERE IS SOME READY EXPLANATION. YOU THEN PLAN TO REFER THE REMAINING HITS TO APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES. GAO WILL USE THE INFORMATION DERIVED FROM THE MATCHING PROCESS TO EVALUATE PROGRAM CONTROLS AGAINST UNAUTHORIZED PAYMENTS, AND TO PROVIDE A BASIS FOR APPROPRIATE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE AUDIT REPORT.

YOU ASK WHETHER ANY LEGAL RESTRICTIONS, SUCH AS THE PRIVACY ACT, 5 U.S.C. 552A, MUST BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THIS CROSSMATCH. THE PRIVACY ACT DOES NOT RESTRICT THE PROPOSED CROSSMATCH. ON THE OTHER HAND, OMB GUIDELINES ISSUED UNDER THE ACT WITH REGARD TO MATCHING PROGRAMS SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT LEGALLY BINDING ON GAO. THE GUIDELINES ARE DISCUSSED IN DETAIL HEREAFTER.

GAO AND THE PRIVACY ACT

GAO IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE TERMS OF THE PRIVACY ACT, ALTHOUGH IT IS OUR POLICY TO CONDUCT OUR ACTIVITIES, TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PRACTICAL, IN A MANNER CONSISTENT WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE ACT. LIKEWISE THE PRIVACY ACT DOES NOT PREVENT FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES FROM FURNISHING INFORMATION TO GAO. SUBSECTION (5) OF THE PRIVACY ACT PROVIDES THAT NO AGENCY SHALL DISCLOSE RECORDS SUBJECT TO THE ACT BY ANY MEANS TO ANY PERSON OR AGENCY EXCEPT PURSUANT TO A WRITTEN REQUEST BY OR WITH THE PRIOR CONSENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL TO WHOM THE RECORD PERTAINS UNLESS DISCLOSURE OF THE RECORD COMES UNDER ONE OF THE 11 ENUMERATED EXCEPTIONS. THE TENTH EXCEPTION PROVIDES THAT THE INDIVIDUAL'S PRIOR CONSENT IS NOT NEEDED IF DISCLOSURE OF THE RECORD WOULD BE -

"(10) TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, OR ANY OF HIS AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVES, IN THE COURSE OF THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTIES OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE." U.S.C. 552AB)(10).

GAO AND THE OMB MATCHING GUIDELINES

THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) HAS ISSUED MATCHING GUIDELINES WHICH APPLY PRIMARILY TO MATCHING PROGRAMS CONDUCTED BY FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETECTING OR CURTAILING FRAUD AND ABUSE IN FEDERAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS OR BENEFIT PAYMENTS. THE MATCHING GUIDELINES DO NOT APPLY TO GAO SINCE IT IS NOT AN EXECUTIVE AGENCY. HOWEVER, THEY DO APPLY TO OPM, THE MATCHING SOURCE AGENCY WHICH IS DISCLOSING RECORDS TO GAO:

"GUIDELINES FOR MATCHING SOURCE AGENCIES PARTICIPATING IN ANTI-FRAUD MATCHING PROGRAMS

"A. APPLICABILITY: DISCLOSURES OF PERSONAL RECORDS TO ANY OTHER FEDERAL AGENCY OR NON-FEDERAL ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ANTI-FRAUD MATCHING PROGRAMS SHALL BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTION (B) OF THE PRIVACY ACT, RELATED PORTIONS OF THE 1975 OMB GUIDELINES, AND PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION." 44 FED.REG. 23141 (APRIL 18, 1979).

ALSO, IT IS APPROPRIATE TO TAKE THE MATCHING GUIDELINES INTO CONSIDERATION IN FORMULATING AND IMPLEMENTING YOUR MATCHING PROGRAM IN FURTHERANCE OF GAO'S POLICY TO FOLLOW THE SPIRIT OF PRIVACY ACT. WE WILL REVIEW THE VARIOUS PROVISIONS OF THE MATCHING GUIDELINES FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE.

THE OMB MATCHING GUIDELINES ARE DESIGNED "TO AID AGENCIES IN BALANCING THE GOVERNMENT'S NEED TO MAINTAIN THE INTEGRITY OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS WITH THE NEED TO PROTECT AN INDIVIDUAL'S RIGHT TO PRIVACY. ***" 44 FED.REG. 23138. TO THIS END, THEY REQUIRE MATCHING AGENCIES TO DEVELOP AND PROVIDE AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE CONCERNING THE MATCHING PROGRAM IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE REQUIRED BALANCING.

SECTION 5(A) OF THE GUIDELINES PROVIDES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF DETAILED COST BENEFIT INFORMATION IN CONNECTION WITH MATCHING PROGRAMS. REQUIRES THAT THIS INFORMATION INCLUDE, AS A MINIMUM, THE FOLLOWING:

"(1) ESTIMATED LOSSES RESULTING FROM FRAUD, ABUSE, ERROR OR LOAN DEFAULTS.

"(2) ESTIMATES OF THE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE RECEIVING OR HAVE RECEIVED BENEFITS FOR WHICH THEY ARE INELIGIBLE ***

"(3) THE AMOUNT WHICH COULD POTENTIALLY BE RECOVERED OR SAVED BY IDENTIFICATION OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS AND THE TERMINATION OF IMPROPER PAYMENTS ***

"(4) POTENTIAL SAVINGS WHICH COULD BE ACHIEVED THROUGH DETERRENCE OF INELIGIBLE APPLICANTS OR THROUGH OTHER IMPROVEMENTS IN THE PROGRAM MANAGEMENT (E.G., REDUCED ERROR RATES) BASED ON THE MATCHING PROGRAM.

"(5) ESTIMATES OF REIMBURSEMENT COSTS TO BE PAID TO THE MATCHING SOURCE FOR THE ACQUISITION OF RECORDS FOR THE MATCHING PROGRAMS.

"(6) ESTIMATES OF ANY COST INVOLVED IN THE ACTUAL MATCHING ITSELF ***

"(7) ESTIMATED COSTS OF FOLLOW-UP ON INDIVIDUAL 'HITS,' INCLUDING VERIFICATION OF INDIVIDUAL'S RECORDS, LOCATING THE INDIVIDUALS, ANY PLANNED COUNSELING OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS, COLLECTION EFFORTS, AND LITIGATION.

"(8) AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE CONDUCT OF THE MATCHING PROGRAM COULD DISCOURAGE INDIVIDUALS FROM EXERCISING THEIR RIGHTS.

"(9) AN ANALYSIS OF ALTERNATIVE MEANS FOR CURTAILING FRAUD THAT WERE CONSIDERED AND REJECTED, INCLUDING A FULL DESCRIPTION OF THE REASONS WHY THEY WERE NOT CONSIDERED VIABLE ALTERNATIVES TO CONDUCTING A MATCHING PROGRAM."

FED.REG. 23138 AT 23139, APRIL 18, 1979. SECTION 5(B) OF THE GUIDELINES FURTHER REQUIRES THAT THE MATCHING AGENCY SUBMIT A REPORT DESCRIBING THE PROPOSED MATCHING PROGRAM TO THE DIRECTOR OF OMB AND TO THE CONGRESS 60 DAYS BEFORE THE MATCHING PROGRAM IS INITIATED.

IT IS NOT CLEAR TO US, AND THE GUIDELINES DO NOT EXPLAIN, HOW THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 5(A) AND (B) APPLY TO A PROPOSED MATCHING PROGRAM SUCH AS YOURS WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY EXPERIMENTAL SINCE IT IS BEING DONE TO ASCERTAIN THE EXTENT OF A POSSIBLE FRAUD PROBLEM AND THE POSSIBLE LACK OF ADEQUATE INTERNAL CONTROLS. WE DO NOT SEE HOW GAO COULD PROVIDE A MEANINGFUL REPORT CONTAINING THE DETAILED COST/BENEFIT INFORMATION CALLED FOR BY THE GUIDELINES PRIOR TO CONDUCTING THE MATCHING EXPERIMENT. ASSUME THAT ONCE YOUR MATCHING EXPERIMENT IS COMPLETED, IT WILL PROVIDE THE INFORMATION NEEDED TO CONSIDER WHETHER A MATCHING PROGRAM SHOULD BE CONDUCTED BY THE APPROPRIATE AGENCIES ON A REGULAR BASIS. FURTHER, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE RESULTS OF YOUR AUDIT WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF A GAO REPORT.

FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, WE DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS PRACTICAL FOR GAO TO SUBMIT THE REPORT CALLED FOR BY SECTION 5(B) OF THE OMB GUIDELINES; NOR DOES IT SEEM FEASIBLE FOR GAO TO DEVELOP THE DETAILED COST/BENEFIT INFORMATION COVERED BY SECTION 5(A). ON THE OTHER HAND, WE SHOULD BE PREPARED TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS THAT OPM MAY HAVE, AS A MATCHING SOURCE SUBJECT TO THE GUIDELINES, IN DETERMINING WHETHER ITS PARTICIPATION IS APPROPRIATE.

ACCORDING TO SECTION 5(C) OF THE OMB GUIDELINES, THE MATCHING AGENCY SHOULD PROVIDE THE MATCHING SOURCE WITH ANY INFORMATION NECESSARY FOR THE SOURCE TO MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION ON THE APPROPRIATENESS OF DISCLOSING INFORMATION FOR THE PROPOSED MATCH, INCLUDING:

"(A) A DESCRIPTION OF THE PERSONAL RECORDS TO BE DISCLOSED BY THE SOURCE.

"(B) A DESCRIPTION OF THE PERSONAL RECORDS AGAINST WHICH THEY WILL BE MATCHED.

"(C) THE DATES WHEN THE RECORDS WILL BE DISCLOSED BY THE SOURCE AND THE DATES WHEN THEY WILL BE RETURNED TO THE SOURCE OR DESTROYED.

"(D) A DESCRIPTION OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WHICH MAY SUBSEQUENTLY BE REQUESTED OF THE SOURCE IN RELATION TO "HITS," (E.G., DETAILED PAYROLL INFORMATION ON "HITS").

"(E) SUBSEQUENT ACTIONS EXPECTED OF THE SOURCE (E.G., VERIFICATION OF THE IDENTITY OF THE "HITS" OR FOLLOW-UP WITH MATCHING SOURCE EMPLOYEES WHO ARE "HITS).

"(F) THE METHODOLOGY TO BE USED FOR ALLOCATION OF ANY COSTS OF CONDUCTING MATCHING PROGRAM ***

"(G) ANY LIMITATIONS ON REDISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION PROVIDED TO THE MATCHING AGENCY BY THE MATCHING SOURCE OR TO DISCLOSURE OF ANY INFORMATION PROVIDED TO THE MATCHING SOURCE AS A RESULT OF THE MATCH." FED.REG. 23140.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE PREPARING A DOCUMENT THAT WILL FULLY INFORM OPM, AS THE MATCHING SOURCE AGENCY, WITH REGARD TO EACH OF THE ITEMS QUOTED ABOVE. THIS SHOULD SATISFY SECTION 5(C) OF THE OMB GUIDELINES.

DISCLOSURE BY STATES TO GAO AND ANALYSIS OF INFORMATION BY GAO

AS PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED, GAO PLANS TO OBTAIN TAPES OF INDIVIDUALS RECEIVING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FROM THE STATES OF MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. SINCE THE STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE NOT COVERED BY THE PRIVACY ACT, NEITHER THE ACT NOR THE OMB MATCHING GUIDELINES APPLY TO THEM. THE STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MAY HAVE THEIR OWN PRIVACY RESTRICTIONS CONCERNING INDIVIDUALS RECEIVING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, BUT YOU INDICATED TO US THAT YOU ANTICIPATE NO PROBLEMS IN OBTAINING THE REQUESTED INFORMATION FROM THEM. MOREOVER, YOU INDICATE THAT THE GAO IS PLANNING TO CONDUCT THE MATCH "IN HOUSE" BY ITS OWN AGENCY PERSONNEL, RATHER THAN BY CONTRACT. AN "IN HOUSE" OPERATION IS CONSISTENT WITH THE OMB MATCHING GUIDELINES WHICH PROVIDE:

"C. OPERATION REQUIREMENTS - ANTI-FRAUD MATCHING PROGRAMS SHOULD, TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PRACTICABLE, BE CONDUCTED 'IN-HOUSE' BY FEDERAL AGENCIES, USING AGENCY PERSONNEL, RATHER THAN BY CONTRACT." FED.REG. AT 23140.

REDISCLOSURE BY GAO

ONCE GAO MAKES THE REQUIRED MATCH AND THE INDIVIDUALS RECEIVING STATE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS WHO ARE ALSO ACTIVE OR RETIRED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES ARE IDENTIFIED, THE QUESTION BECOMES HOW GAO MAY TURN OVER THE "HITS" TO THE APPROPRIATE STATE OFFICIALS. THE OMB GUIDELINES ON THE SUBJECT OF DISCLOSURE (SEE GENERALLY SECTION 5(C)(3) OF THE GUIDELINES) ARE CONCERNED PRIMARILY WITH PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER OF THOSE NOTICES REQUIRED BY THE PRIVACY ACT, E.G., "ROUTINE USE" NOTICES. SINCE THE PRIVACY ACT DOES NOT APPLY TO GAO AND SINCE IT IS NOT OUR PRACTICE TO PUBLISH NOTICES OF DISCLOSURE, WE SEE NO NEED FOR YOU TO FOLLOW THIS ASPECT OF THE OMB GUIDELINES.

SECTION 5(C)(4) OF THE GUIDELINES DOES INCLUDE CERTAIN CAVEATS ON DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION. SPECIFICALLY, IT PROVIDES THAT DISCLOSURE SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY A STATEMENT TO THE RECIPIENT WHICH SETS FORTH:

"(A) THE USE TO WHICH THE RECORDS WILL BE PUT BY THE RECIPIENT.

"(B) A STIPULATION THAT THE RECIPIENT WILL DISCLOSE THEM FURTHER ONLY WHERE REQUIRED BY LAW OR WHERE (E.G., IN THE CASE OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT OR ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY) SUCH DISCLOSURE IS COMPATIBLE WITH THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE RECORDS WERE ORIGINALLY DISCLOSED TO THE MATCHING AGENCY BY THE MATCHING SOURCE.

"(C) THE DATE BY WHICH THE RECORDS TRANSFERRED WILL BE DESTROYED OR RETURNED TO THE MATCHING AGENCY, OR, IF IT IS NECESSARY THAT THE RECORDS BE RETAINED BY THE RECIPIENT, A WRITTEN EXPLANATION OF WHY THEY ARE BEING RETAINED."

44 FED.REG. 23141. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU COMPLY WITH THIS ASPECT OF THE GUIDELINES, AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE PLANNING TO DO SO.

IT REMAINS TO CONSIDER TO WHOM DISCLOSURE SHOULD BE MADE. WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE PLANNING TO DISCLOSE INFORMATION ON "HITS" TO STATE OFFICIALS. WE HAVE NO OBJECTION TO SUCH REPORTING. HOWEVER, WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHECK WITH THE GAO FRAUD TASK FORCE ON APPROPRIATE REPORTING METHODOLOGY. WE NOTE IN THIS REGARD THAT GAO ORDER 1130.1 (JUNE 1, 1979) PROVIDES FOR COORDINATION WITH THE FRAUD TASK FORCE AS TO DISPOSITION OF INFORMATION INDICATING POTENTIAL FRAUD OR ABUSE IN AGENCY PROGRAMS. THE CITED GAO ORDER ALSO PROVIDES FOR COORDINATING OUR WORK IN THESE AREAS WITH THE APPROPRIATE AGENCY INSPECTOR GENERAL (IN THIS CASE, WE ASSUME, THE INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR THE LABOR DEPARTMENT). AS TO THE DISPOSAL OF THE RECORDS THEMSELVES, THE OMB GUIDELINES RECOMMEND THAT MATCHING SOURCE TAPES (HERE THE OPM TAPES) BE EITHER DESTROYED OR RETURNED TO OPM WITHIN 6 MONTHS AFTER THE MATCH. AS FOR THE RECORDS OF THE HITS, THE GUIDELINES RECOMMEND THAT HITS AND ANY ADDITIONAL PERSONAL INFORMATION COMPILED ON THE HITS SHOULD BE DESTROYED BY THE MATCHING AGENCY (HERE GAO) WITHIN 6 MONTHS AFTER THE MATCH UNLESS THEY ARE NECESSARY FOR THE COMPLETION OF PENDING LAW ENFORCEMENT OR ADMINISTRATIVE LAW ACTIVITIES CONSISTENT WITH THE PURPOSE OF THE MATCHING PROGRAM AND AUTHORIZED BY LAW. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU FOLLOW THESE PROCEDURES.

YOU HAVE ASKED THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS CONCERNING POTENTIAL LEGAL LIABILITIES GROWING OUT OF A PROPOSED MATCHING PROGRAM:

"1. CAN THE COURTS COMPEL GAO TO TURN OVER THE NAMES OF INDIVIDUALS WE FIND ARE RECEIVING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS CONCURRENT WITH A FEDERAL ANNUITY OR FEDERAL WAGES?

"2. IF THE STATE PROSECUTES A PERSON FOR FRAUDULENT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS DISCOVERED DURING GAO'S CROSSMATCH, DOES THAT PERSON HAVE LEGAL RECOURSE AGAINST OPM OR GAO FOR RELEASE OF THE DATA TO THE STATE?

"3. HAVE PREVIOUS GAO CROSSMATCHING EFFORTS RESULTED IN LEGAL RECOURSE AGAINST GAO OR AGENCIES GAO PROVIDED WITH THE DATA? IF SO, HOW CAN WE PRECLUDE SUCH LAWSUITS DURING OUR PROPOSED CROSSMATCH?"

WITH REGARD TO THE FIRST QUESTION, ABOVE, IT IS CONCEIVABLE THAT A COURT COULD COMPEL GAO TO TURN OVER THE NAMES OF INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN THE MATCH. HOWEVER, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT GAO WOULD BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE SUCH INFORMATION SHORT OF A COURT ORDER AND WE CANNOT READILY ENVISION A COURT ACTION WHICH WOULD LEAD TO THE DISCLOSURE OF SUCH INFORMATION.

WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR SECOND AND THIRD QUESTIONS, ABOVE, WE CANNOT OFFER A GUARANTEE THAT THE MATCHING PROGRAM WOULD NOT RESULT IN SOME SORT OF LAWSUIT. HOWEVER, WE KNOW OF NO SUCH LAWSUIT WHICH HAS BEEN INITIATED AGAINST GAO IN THE PAST AND WE WOULD NOT ANTICIPATE A LAWSUIT IN THIS CASE. WE NOTE THAT SUBSECTION (G)(1)(D) OF THE PRIVACY ACT PROVIDES FOR CIVIL REMEDIES AGAINST EXECUTIVE AGENCIES FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY PROVISION OF THE PRIVACY ACT. AS NOTED PREVIOUSLY, GAO IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE PRIVACY ACT. HOWEVER, OPM IS SUBJECT TO THE ACT AND CONCEIVABLY COULD BE SUBJECT TO A LAWSUIT UNDER SUBSECTION (G)(1)(D).

WE HOPE WE HAVE BEEN OF ASSISTANCE TO YOU. IF YOU WISH FURTHER ASSISTANCE, SUCH AS ASSISTANCE IN DRAFTING A LETTER TO OPM CONCERNING THE CROSSMATCH, PLEASE DO NOT HESTITATE TO CALL MS. SUZANNE STOVER-CARR OF MY STAFF.