Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Commission

T-GGD-91-24: Published: Apr 23, 1991. Publicly Released: Apr 23, 1991.

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GAO discussed the status of the Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Commission and its ability to carry out a celebration commemorating Christopher Columbus' voyages of discovery. GAO noted that: (1) the Commission's fundraising efforts fell significantly short of its expectations, with the Commission only raising $888,700 from all non-federal sources, $2,411,300 less than anticipated, between 1986 and 1990; (2) most of the unrestricted cash donations came from Commission members; (3) the Commission's limited success was due to a lack of fundraising planning and corporate sponsorship; (4) the Commission poorly managed the funds it collected, lacked adequate accounting, and internal controls, and had incomplete or incorrect financial statements and recordkeeping; (5) as of December 31, 1990, the Commission's cash balance was $43,000, while its liabilities amounted to $764,000; and (6) the Commission has taken steps to improve financial management, but it will clearly require funding far in excess of its $220,000 appropriation request. GAO believes that Congress could most effectively contribute to the Commission's success by exercising close and constructive oversight of its activities.