Congressional Control Over Appropriations to the Corps of Engineers Can Be Strengthened

FGMSD-79-12: Published: Jan 31, 1979. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 1979.

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When appropriation funds are used to finance headquarters and division activities within the Corps of Engineers, congressional control is weakened because the size and scope of centralized activities cannot be monitored and there can be no assurance that project funds actually are expended for their intended purposes.

Using the Corps of Engineers' billing system, it is extremely difficult to distinquish between services which directly benefit projects and those which do not. The Corps has combined the concept of fund tranfers with the principles of cost accounting. An equitable method that provides for each project to bear its fair share of cost needs be developed. From a cost accounting standpoint, the methods used to obtain the funds from project appropriations did not ensure that projects charged benefited from or were charged an equitable share of the costs. Most of Congress appropriations pertain to specific projects and related functions. The practice of "tapping" project funds to supplement the general expense appropriation is not consistent with the original intent. The revolving fund is used to effect the transfer of funds from districts to supplement the general expense appropriation. Such a fund bills the districts to obtain reimbursement up to predetermined amounts for expenditures made. To achieve equitable cost accounting improvement is needed in the methods used to distribute costs.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should require the Corps to fund its centralized functions through the general expense appropriation which is justified for that purpose. The Corps also should be allowed to continue using project funds for those headquarters and division activities that the Appropriations Committees decide are associated more with project activities than with normal general administration.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to establish appropriate procedures for equitable distribution of administrative costs to projects. This would help assure that the administrative costs distributed to the districts and projects are commensurate with the benefits received.

    Agency Affected:

 

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