Representational Funds:

State Department Expenditures at Selected Posts

NSIAD-87-73FS: Published: Feb 3, 1987. Publicly Released: Feb 10, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO obtained information on the use of representation, official residence, and gift funds at diplomatic posts that received monetary gifts from private donors.

GAO found that, of the seven posts it examined: (1) all used representation funds, primarily for ambassadors and other foreign service officers to host luncheons, dinners, receptions, and similar functions; (2) six used official residence expense funds generally for servants' wages and benefits and customary household expenses; (3) five used gift funds, but the uses for the funds varied; (4) the single largest gift fund expenditure was for an education grant; and (5) the posts also used their gift funds for meals and entertainment associated with representational functions and to improve an official residence. GAO noted that the Department of State advised all of its embassies that it had discontinued the practice of accepting private contributions for entertainment purposes, but that it would accept funds for specific projects in the public interest.

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