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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requested a decision regarding whether it should use the permanent fund or its appropriations to pay for the fees and expenses incurred by a court-appointed special master. SEC advised that: (1) under a joint settlement agreement, SEC and a plaintiff agreed that SEC would hire a special master to review its equal employment opportunity practices; (2) the court appointed a special master when SEC and the plaintiff could not agree on the selection of a suitable expert; and (3) SEC approved the fees and expenses the special master submitted for payment. GAO held that SEC could not use the fund to pay for the special master's fees and expenses, since: (1) SEC agreed to hire the specialist; and (2) the court merely intervened in the appointment because SEC and the plaintiff could not reach an agreement. Accordingly, SEC should use its appropriations to pay for the special master's fees and expenses.

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