Congress Should Consider Revising Basic Corporate Control Laws

PAD-83-3: Published: Apr 6, 1983. Publicly Released: Apr 6, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the basic corporate control laws in the context of the accountability of government corporations and identified deficiencies in the application of these controls.

Because many corporations have been established outside the purview of these laws, they no longer provide the effective controls that Congress intended. In examining the accountability controls that are specified in 31 U.S.C. 9101-9109, and in the individual corporations' enabling legislation, GAO found that current controls, including financial audit, budget reporting and review, and Treasury financial control, are not uniformly applied. Other controls, such as program audit and oversight and on-budget reporting, are not addressed. These provisions of law distinguish between wholly owned and mixed-ownership corporations, which provide a mechanism for applying accountability controls. The mechanism is conceptually sound; however, there are some deficiencies in its application. The laws do not define government corporations aside from the wholly owned and mixed-ownership corporations. Additionally, the law does not provide a classification or controls for these corporations. These deficiencies create confusion and weaken accountability. GAO believes that, while a broad range of federal accountability controls is needed for these corporations, standard definition and classification criteria are essential if the controls are to be developed appropriately and applied consistently and effectively.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The House Committee on Government Operations is not interested in revising GCCA at this time.

    Matter: Congress should consider the need for on-budget reporting of financial transactions for all corporations receiving federal capital, appropriations, or borrowing. Sections 9103 and 9104 of 31 U.S.C. could be revised to provide for congressional review of the budgets of mixed federal/private and predominately private corporations receiving federal financing, in addition to those of predominately federal corporations.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The House Committee on Government Operations is not interested in revising GCCA at this time.

    Matter: Congress should consider expanding 31 U.S.C. 9105 or adding a new provision of law to provide for periodic program review of these congressionally authorized programs. The revision could also require submission of annual reports to Congress for all corporations.

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The House Committee on Government Operations is not interested in revising GCCA at this time.

    Matter: Congress should consider granting authority for annual audits or GAO review of annual CPA audits to ensure consistency with standards.

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The House Committee on Government Operations is not interested in revising GCCA at this time.

    Matter: Congress should consider establishing uniform accountability standards for government corporations, including a definition, classification criteria, and general accountability standards for all government corporations. This could be done by revising the basic corporate controls, 31 U.S.C. 9101-9109.

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The House Committee on Government Operations is not interested in revising GCCA at this time.

    Matter: Congress should consider amending title 31, section 9101, of the U.S. Code to include a definition that describes government corporations and a list of their common powers or attributes.

  6. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The House Committee on Government Operations is not interested in revising the Government Corporation Control Act (GCCA) at this time.

    Matter: Congress should consider revising title 31, section 9105, of the U.S. Code to cover predominately private corporations when federal financing has been used.

  7. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The House Committee on Government Operations is not interested in revising GCCA at this time.

    Matter: Congress should consider the applicability of sections 9107 and 9108 of 31 U.S.C. to all government corporations. Currently, Treasury approval of accounts and security obligations only applies to 24 of the 47 government corporations listed in the GAO inventory.

 

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