Managing DOE:

Tighter Controls Needed Over the Department of Energy's Outside Litigation Costs

T-RCED-94-264: Published: Jul 13, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 13, 1994.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) efforts to control its litigation costs at three DOE facilities. GAO noted that: (1) although DOE does not know the total cost of litigation against its contractors, preliminary findings show that in 1992, DOE spent about $31 million on legal fees and an additional $8 million annually for litigation support activities; (2) DOE has limited oversight and control over contractor litigation costs because it has not effectively controlled its costs for reimbursing outside legal services; (3) DOE has not established criteria for its contractors to seek discounted fees, set limits on travel and administrative costs charged by law firms, or developed effective or detailed procedures for reviewing legal bills; (4) although DOE recently issued guidance to reduce litigation costs, the guidance does not clarify which costs are allowable and which costs are not allowable; and (5) stronger DOE oversight will become more critical as additional information disclosures about past radiation experiments become available.

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