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Legal Opinions

If you need a legal opinion, GAO can help. GAO provides legal opinions to congressional requesters on several different matters of federal law.

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GAO’s Office of General Counsel issues legal decisions, opinions, and reports on bid protests, appropriations law, and other issues of federal law.

  • Appropriations DecisionsMembers and committees of Congress may request opinions and certain agency officials may request decisions from the Comptroller General on questions involving the use of and accountability for public funds, as well as decisions to relieve accountable officers for certain losses of public funds.
  • Bid ProtestsGAO provides an objective, independent, and impartial forum for the resolution of disputes concerning the awards of federal contracts.
  • Other Legal Work: GAO also issues other legal decisions. For example, we report on federal rules under the Congressional Review Act, and review the temporary filling of executive agency positions under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

Read our Protocols for Legal Decisions and Opinions (PDF, 17 pages).

How to Request

Contact Congressional Relations to set up a call with our Office of General Counsel. GAO attorneys will assist you in identifying relevant legal provisions that may apply to your request.

Requests may come from the chairs or ranking members of committees or subcommittees or from individual members. See the Guide to Congressional Requests for Legal Opinions (PDF, 1 page) for more details on the request process.

Office of General Counsel contact

Shirley A. Jones, Esq.
Managing Associate General Counsel


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