The Geological Survey's Financial Disclosure System Is Adequate but Further Refinements Are Needed

FPCD-82-37: Published: Apr 16, 1982. Publicly Released: May 3, 1982.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the adequacy of the Geological Survey's financial disclosure system which is intended to deter employee financial interests that may cause conflicts with the employee's government duties.

While efforts by the Survey have substantially improved its financial disclosure system since the last GAO review, further improvements could be made by: (1) more clearly presenting the list of positions subject to financial disclosure requirements; (2) better documenting the rationale used to determine whether an employee's interests conform to relevant policies and guidelines; and (3) improving the timeliness of responses to requests for policy decisions. The Survey's system for preventing conflicts of interest can also be improved by using more precise data to identify prohibited holdings. To further protect the system's integrity, the need for the Survey to closely monitor the holdings of spouses and minor children cannot be overemphasized. Since the Survey does not determine whether employees report all financial interests, the success of the system depends, to a great extent, upon the honesty and integrity of the employees.

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