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Reports & Testimonies

The Report Process

Requests for GAO reports and testimonies must come from congressional committees, subcommittees, or members of Congress. In conjunction with Members of Congress, GAO developed its Congressional Protocols which outline policies and procedures for accepting and completing work. Here's an overview of our report process. Members of Congress can also learn more about the process and timing of GAO reports in our quick guide to requests (PDF, 1 page).

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Requests for GAO work come from Congress. Members of Congress can log into our Watchdog website for Congress (accessible through the congressional computer network) to learn more about sending us request letters. Members of Congress can e-mail a request letter to our Congressional Relations office.

For assistance drafting a request letter, Members of Congress can contact the Office of Congressional Relations at (202) 512-4400.


Once GAO accepts a congressional request, we assemble the team and initiate the audit work.

Timing on initiation depends on staff availability.


The team meets with GAO experts, stakeholders, and management to design an audit method—one that is fact-based and can support our findings and potential recommendations.

This process typically takes about 3 months.

Interim Briefings

Congressional requesters of the work can ask for a briefing on the status of work or for preliminary findings at any point during our audit.

Members of Congress and their staff have access to information regarding GAO’s ongoing work through our Watchdog website for Congress (accessible through the congressional computer network).

Agency Review

We send our draft report to the audited agencies for comment.

At this time, congressional requesters of the work will also receive an informational copy.

Report Issuance

We typically issue the report about 14 days after receiving agency comments.

We will contact the congressional requesters of the work to confirm the date.

Congressional requesters are allowed to restrict reports for up to 30 days before public release. This restriction can sometimes mean that the public release date of the report is up to 30 days after the publication date.

GAO work that results from legislative mandates is made public as soon as it is issued to Congress.

All unclassified GAO reports are available to the public for free on our website. Anyone can order printed copies of our reports.

Top 10 List & Month in Review

Access our Top 10 list of reports, an alphabetical listing of significant reports and testimonies issued each month.

Our Month in Review is a list of reports issued monthly. You can also find our Annual Index of reports from each fiscal year with the Month in Review.