Suppression of Audit Reports

PSAD-80-28: Published: Feb 8, 1980. Publicly Released: Feb 19, 1980.

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An investigation of an allegation by a former auditor of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that Headquarters had been suppressing audit reports prepared by the Southwest Region audit staff located at Johnson Space Center was undertaken. Accordingly, the audit procedures and workpapers supporting two audit reports were reviewed. Concern about an issue in one of the reports involving unauthorized expenditures on Building 37, and the claim that a substantial quantity of lunar material was missing or otherwise unaccounted for were also examined.

No support for the allegation concerning suppression of audit reports was found. Analysis showed that suggested changes were made to make the reports more accurate, objective, and constructive, and that these changes were reasonable and within the authority of the Director, Office of Audit. However, the Southwest Regional Director interpreted these suggestions as attempts to change the reports. Therefore, the Southwest Regional Director unilaterally chose not to issue the reports, but to await a decision on their issuance by the person who would fill the newly designated NASA Inspector General position. Subsequently, the Inspector General issued the reports as originally drafted. Further examination of the NASA fiscal year 1972 budget was made in an effort to decide the issue involving unauthorized expenditures. It was learned that the issue concerning unauthorized expenditures for Building 37 was not a current problem, but that Congress was aware of the issue and had taken steps to resolve it many years ago. NASA had been directed to provide total estimated costs to make a facility fully operable when making future budget requests for facilities construction appropriations. Examination of the NASA fiscal year 1980 construction of facilities budget request, indicated that the agency was providing full cost estimates for major projects. In addition, the validity of the claim that a substantial quantity of lunar material was missing or otherwise unaccounted for was reviewed. Examination of the workpapers provided insufficient evidence to support the claim.

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