Funding of International Election Observers for El Salvador Election

ID-82-44: Published: Jun 25, 1982. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 1982.

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GAO reviewed the propriety of using funds provided under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to pay the expenses of international observers for the March election in El Salvador.

The Agency for International Development (AID) entered into a limited agreement with El Salvador to provide funds for the air fare, food, lodging, in-country transportation, interpreters, guides, and secretarial services for the official international observers of the election. None of the AID funds were to be used for publicity, printing, and binding; receptions; entertainment of any kind; or support of news media personnel. GAO determined that the Act's prohibition against the use of funds to influence the outcome of any election was not violated, since the purpose of the observers was to encourage a situation in which everyone had the opportunity to participate in the electoral process as opposed to specific involvement in the campaigns of political candidates. Since 1977, this type of funding has been used to carry out programs and activities which encourage or promote increased adherence to internationally recognized civil and political rights in countries eligible for assistance under the Act.

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