Travel Policies and Practices of Department of Energy Grantees

FPCD-81-76: Published: Sep 30, 1981. Publicly Released: Oct 7, 1981.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the extent to which selected Department of Energy (DOE) grantees took trips to conventions and conferences, including those in Washington, D.C., during fiscal year 1980; (2) the policies and procedures governing DOE grantee travel; (3) the extent of control and review of travel expenditures; and (4) how travel costs were being reported to DOE.

DOE made 9,987 grants valued at $649,013,000 during fiscal year 1980. GAO selected 10 grantees for review. The 10 grantees made 1,194 trips costing $170,974, or about 1 percent of their grant funds spent during fiscal year 1980. Grantees' travel costs ranged from $331 to $46,512, and the number of trips ranged from 1 to 471. These trips included educational institutions, governmental entities, private companies, and quasi-governmental organizations. The grantees made 46 trips to Washington, D.C., during fiscal year 1980 at a cost of $27,609. DOE travel is covered by the requirements outlined in several documents. Among these are Office of Management and Budget circulars, Federal management circulars, and various sections of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. Basically, these documents permit the reimbursement of travel costs with grant funds on an actual or per diem basis, or a combination of the two, so long as the costs are not unreasonable or do not exceed what the grantee would normally pay for similar travel. However, travel regulations for Federal employees do not apply to grantees. DOE specifies any travel cost reporting requirements in each grant. The most frequent reporting period was quarterly, then yearly, followed by monthly. The 10 grantees routinely reviewed internal travel vouchers during the payment-processing operation.

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