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.

    Agency Affected:

 

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