GAO was asked to review selected expenditures of the White House and various Federal agencies to determine if appropriated funds were used before the 1980 elections to advance the political candidacy of the incumbent president. Information was requested on employees temporarily detailed to the White House from other agencies. The most significant question raised was whether travel, speechmaking, and public appearances by senior-level officials, including the President and the Vice President, and other personnel actions which may take place during a Presidential campaign and directly or indirectly benefit the campaign, constitute an improper use of appropriated funds. In the absence of legislative criteria, the White House developed guidelines for administration officials to follow during the course of the campaign. The guidelines' objective was not only to prevent the use of appropriated funds for political purposes during the campaign, but to avoid any question that such funds were improperly used. The primary GAO review objectives were to determine what controls the White House and selected agencies had developed to prevent the use of appropriations for political purposes, and whether the controls and related procedures had been followed.
Skip to Highlights