Justice and Law Enforcement:

The Reagan-Bush Transition Team's Activities at Six Selected Agencies

GGD-82-17: Published: Jan 28, 1982. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 1982.

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Pursuant to a congressional committee request, GAO reviewed the activities of the Reagan-Bush transition team at six federal agencies which fall within the committee's jurisdiction. GAO was directed to: (1) identify and assess the adequacy of transition guidelines and procedures followed by the agencies; (2) examine the activities of the transition team and the information requested and received by it; (3) determine what conflicts of interest, if any, existed; and (4) identify the total costs of the transition process.

GAO found that five of the six agencies generally followed procedures they established for controlling information disclosures, and most of the information requested by and given the team by all six agencies was public. At one of the agencies reviewed, GAO found that a Reagan-Bush transition team leader inappropriately involved himself in agency personnel activities by requesting the agency to hire two members of the transition team. The two team members were hired by the agency during the transition period, and both continued working directly for the transition team leader on a nonreimbursable basis. Federal conflict-of-interest laws and regulations generally do not apply to transition team members primarily because they are not federal employees. The transition team did request and obtain some information which could or normally would be withheld from the public; however, review of those nonpublic documents did not indicate any advantage to be obtained by either the team members or their known business affiliation. The six agencies estimated that about $235,000 in transition-related expenses were charged to the incoming administration. Most of these expenses were incurred for gathering and communicating information about agency operations.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should, at the beginning of the transition period, notify agencies and the Office of the President-elect that the Presidential Transition Act provides that agency employees may only be detailed to the transition team on a reimbursable basis.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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