Review of Federal Agencies' Gift Funds

FGMSD-80-77: Published: Sep 24, 1980. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1980.

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A request was made to review the larger gift funds managed by Federal agencies, including fund balances, sources of income, and purposes of expenditures with particular emphasis on travel and entertainment.

During the fiscal year 1979, 41 Government agencies received a total of $21,631,000 classified as gift revenue. The revenue was derived from a variety of sources including private individuals, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. In addition to donations, income such as honoraria, travel reimbursements, and funds received under agreements between Federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations is also classified as gift revenue. The agencies have great flexibility in using gift funds depending on their needs. GAO evaluated selected gift fund disbursements in light of this broad discretion, and found that the funds were generally used to further agency goals. Because gift funds are financed by private sources, they do not go through the appropriation process as would other agency funds. Thus, Congress is not involved in setting funding limits or priorities for gift fund activities. In addition, Congress receives only minimal information about gift fund activities.

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