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Highlights

A proposed amendment to the National Consumer Cooperative Bank Act, to allow the National Consumer Cooperative Bank to spend funds equivalent to the cost of terminating operations, contains language that would require GAO to perform functions that are incompatible with its independent auditor status. The proposed legislation would require the Comptroller General to establish budgetary amounts that are generally within the province of the Administration. Participation in executive decisions, as proposed in this amendment, would create a conflict of duties because of GAO responsibilities to review and evaluate the Bank's policies and programs and to audit the Bank's financial statements. GAO has consistently opposed legislation giving it executive authority or related functions because of its responsibility to evaluate how those functions are carried out. If the amendment is enacted as proposed, future GAO work concerning the Bank might not be regarded as independent and objective. The resulting loss of credibility would leave Congress without an objective source of reviews, audits, and evaluations. Congress would be better served if the amendment were changed to require the executive branch to determine the amounts in question instead of the Comptroller General.

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