Grant Administration:

CDC Oversight of Grantees' Activities Needs Improvement

HRD-94-12: Published: Dec 10, 1993. Publicly Released: Dec 10, 1993.

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Pursuant to congressional requests, GAO reviewed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) promotion of safer sex or condom use to control the spread of human immunodeficiency virus, focusing on CDC monitoring of community-based organizations' and national/regional minority organizations' use of federal funds to: (1) engage in prohibited lobbying; (2) advocate cultural, institutional, ideological, economic, or other causes; and (3) promote or encourage homosexuality or the illegal use of intravenous drugs.

GAO found that: (1) CDC has not found grantees' misuse of federal funds for lobbying; (2) CDC has improved its controls over reimbursement of membership dues paid by the grantees by gathering information on the organizations receiving the dues and the purpose of these payments; (3) CDC now requires additional documentation for reimbursement of membership dues to organizations that may participate in lobbying activities; (4) grantees are by nature advocacy groups and generally are not prohibited from advocacy activities except lobbying; (5) CDC does not reject grantees for funding or monitor them closely but does not award grants to organizations that advocate positions that are inconsistent with program objectives; (6) CDC has required grantees to establish program review panels to review acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) related materials to ensure compliance with legislative prohibitions regarding the use of federal funds, but it does not ensure that the reviews are performed; and (7) CDC is reevaluating its policy options for its review requirements for AIDS-related materials.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: CDC incorporated in grant award documents requirements that (1) a program review panel review and assess proposed AIDS-related materials, (2) grantees document in the project files a statement of the vote for approval or disapproval for each proposed item, and (3) grantees include in progress reports a signed statement by the panel chair of the results of the votes for each proposed item.

    Recommendation: To improve CDC oversight of AIDS-related materials, the Director, CDC, should require funded organizations to identify, as part of their periodic reporting requirements, the AIDS-related materials produced or distributed with federal funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: To improve internal coordination, CDC's grants office now forwards a copy of grantees' progress reports to CDC's program office for review and follow-up. Program office staff use the progress reports to determne if grantees are complying with the requirements to provide evidence of program panel reviews of AIDS-related materials.

    Recommendation: To improve CDC oversight of AIDS-related materials, the Director, CDC, should require program staff to periodically determine whether funded organizations have complied with the requirement to provide evidence of program panel reviews of AIDS-related material.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

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