Need To Strengthen Financial Accountability to the Congress

GGD-77-43: Published: Mar 31, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 1977.

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The Smithsonian Institution's fiscal practices and policies need to be improved.

The following problems were identified: (1) the Institute appears to use the Smithsonian Research Foundation for distribution of federal funds to private nonprofit corporations to avoid federal restrictions; (2) the question of which fund-reprogramming actions by the Institute require congressional approval has not been resolved; (3) the Institute does not provide the appropriations committees with information on the planned uses of its private funds; and (4) as a result, the committees cannot fully assess the impact of their budgetary decisions on the Institute's programs and activities.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution should: (1) dissolve the Smithsonian Research Foundation and the Smithsonian Science Information Exchange; (2) provide the appropriations committees with information on the planned use of private funds when appropriation requests are submitted; and (3) establish, in conjunction with the appropriate congressional committees, clear policies governing the use of federal and private funds. The Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution should: (1) propose and justify to Congress the exemptions from existing legislation that the Institute believes it needs to run effectively, with a minimum of red tape, the programs now funded through the Smithsonian Research Foundation and the Smithsonian Science Information Exchange; and (2) continue working with the appropriations committees to reach a common understanding as to the types of budget reprogramming actions the committees wish to approve in advance and, in the interim, continue seeking committee approval of all reprogramming actions.

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