Inquiry Into Allegations of Improprieties at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

FPCD-83-23: Published: Dec 3, 1982. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 1982.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO inquired into allegations, made by an anonymous individual, of misconduct or misappropriating funds by officials in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the Department of Commerce.

Although GAO found that most of the specific charges were not valid, instances of unnecessary travel were found. Actions have been taken by the administrator over the past 2 years to reduce travel costs by about 40 percent. Various allegations of personal use of Government owned equipment were not confirmed. Investigations into allegations of unqualified personnel in top level positions uncovered no cases in fact; GAO also found that the number of authorized positions had steadily declined over the last 4 years. Allegations of improprieties in grants administration related to the NTIA Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, which NTIA favors to phase out, and to the Satellite Applications Program, which NTIA has discontinued. GAO found that most funds available for grants under the programs have been awarded to grantees and some funds have been either reprogramed or not yet expended on grants projects. GAO noted that the guideline was not included in the continuing budget resolution which funded NTIA and, therefore, the agency is not legally bound by it. GAO found that the allegation that funds appropriated specifically for minority programs have not been expended for that purpose was false and that the NTIA budget did not specifically identify an amount to be spent on minority telecommunications programs.

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