Statistical Agencies:

Statutory Requirements Affecting Government Policies and Programs

GGD-96-106: Published: Jul 17, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided a listing of legislatively mandated reports that statistical agencies produce for Congress on a regular basis, focusing on the statutory authority for these reports.

GAO found that: (1) the 11 principal statistical agencies are subject to a variety of laws that authorize statistical activities, prevent the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, and require them to report the results of their statistical activities to Congress; (2) legislatively mandated reporting requirements vary in number and scope among agencies and usually direct the principal statistical agencies to report to Congress on specific subjects of interest; (3) authorizing legislation often mentions that the report is to Congress, but usually does not mention congressional jurisdiction; (4) Congress uses statistical information to monitor the performance of federal agencies as they implement legislation, exercise appropriate budget control, and formulate policies for federal programs and other legislative initiatives; and (5) the statistics produced by the 11 principal statistical agencies assist in the development and revision of numerous government policies, administration of many federal programs, and evaluation of government programs.

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