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Highlights

The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance (Commission) was created on December 28, 2000, by the National Moment of Remembrance Act (act). The Commission's purpose is to sustain the American spirit through acts of remembrance, not only on Memorial Day but also throughout the year, for those who died serving our country. Congress appropriated $1 million to the Commission to fund its operations for fiscal years 2002 through 2004. In fiscal year 2004, the Commission received net appropriations of approximately $249,000, along with cash and in-kind donations of approximately $102,000 from individuals and businesses. In addition, it had approximately $240,000 in unexpended appropriations from prior fiscal years. The Commission expended approximately $257,000 of appropriated funds and funded costs of approximately $102,000 with cash and in-kind donations received during the fiscal year. The act requires us to audit the financial transactions of the Commission, and this report covers our work on its fiscal year 2004 financial transactions.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance To improve the Commission's accountability and internal control, the Executive Director and the White House Liaison of the Commission should prepare biweekly time sheets and regularly submit them to VA for approval and processing as evidence of actual hours worked.
Closed - Implemented
During fiscal year 2005, The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance (Commission) began preparing biweekly timesheets that were submitted to VA as evidence of hours worked. As a result, the Commission's internal control and accountability have been enhanced.
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance To improve the Commission's accountability and internal control, the Executive Director and the White House Liaison of the Commission should strengthen the procedures to ensure that appropriate documentation for all financial transactions--including payroll, payroll-related, and intragovernmental transactions--is maintained and readily available for review.
Closed - Implemented
Closed. During fiscal year 2005, the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance began maintaining all appropriate documentation related to payroll-related and intragovernmental transactions.
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance To improve the Commission's accountability and internal control, the Executive Director and the White House Liaison of the Commission should assess the cost of VA's services to determine if comparable services may be available from other sources at a lower cost.
Closed - Implemented
Closed. As a result of our recommendation, the VA director offered to lower the service fee charged to the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance (Commission) from $35,000 to $25,000. As a result, the Commission's annual fee for financial services was reduced by $10,000, enabling the Commission to use these savings to advance its mission.
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance To improve the Commission's accountability and internal control, the Executive Director and the White House Liaison of the Commission should establish procedures to (a) timely reconcile, on a monthly basis, the Commission's financial data to the financial records maintained by its accounting services provider, VA, and (b) communicate all differences to VA as the provider so that the two entities' records can be appropriately reconciled.
Closed - Not Implemented
During fiscal year 2006, the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance (Commission) discontinued the services of an outside bookkeeper to maintain its records and is now relying solely on the VA for all bookkeeping and accounting services. Since the Commission no longer maintains a separate set of bookkeeping records to be reconciled to VA's records, this recommendation is no longer applicable.
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance To improve the Commission's accountability and internal control, the Executive Director and the White House Liaison of the Commission, while continuing to use VA's services, should code all invoices in accordance with VA guidelines to indicate the type of expenditure prior to submitting them to VA for processing.
Closed - Implemented
The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance (Commission) has implemented procedures in which a detailed description is provided to VA for all transactions and the VA assigns account coding based on those descriptions. As a result of these new procedures, recorded expenditures and costs for the Commission should be more complete and accurate.
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance To improve the Commission's accountability and internal control, the Executive Director and the White House Liaison of the Commission should solicit offers or quotes from at least three commercial vendors when goods or services are expected to exceed the $2,500 micro-purchase threshold for federal procurements and when otherwise required by the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
Closed - Implemented
The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance (Commission) is now soliciting offers from three commercial vendors before purchasing goods or services for an amount expected to exceed $2,500, which may result in financial savings for the Commission.
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance To improve the Commission's accountability and internal control, the Executive Director and the White House Liaison of the Commission should strengthen procedures over preparing travel vouchers by (a) adhering to allowable rates in accordance with federal regulations and (b) ensuring that travel-related overcharges and traveler reimbursements are timely collected or offset against amounts due.
Closed - Implemented
The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance (Commission)is now adhering to federal travel regulations, which may result in financial savings for the Commission.
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance To improve the Commission's accountability and internal control, the Executive Director and the White House Liaison of the Commission should strengthen procedures over cash donations by immediately obtaining and retaining documentation that evidences the purpose and intent of the donation.
Closed - Implemented
The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance (Commission) is now retaining copies of all checks received, as well as correspondence accompanying the checks, and is segregating the documentation by donor intent. These new procedures should provide assurance that recorded cash donations are complete and accurate.
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance To improve the Commission's accountability and internal control, the Executive Director and the White House Liaison of the Commission should develop procedures to obtain and retain supporting documentation for the estimated value of in-kind donations and require that the financial information be recorded.
Closed - Implemented
The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance now requests written documentation from all parties providing in-kind donations. This new procedure should provide assurance that recorded in-kind donations are complete and accurate.
White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance To improve the Commission's accountability and internal control, the Executive Director and the White House Liaison of the Commission should discontinue listing No Greater Love's e-mail address and fax number on the Commission's business cards to assist in furthering the distinction of the Commission's and No Greater Love's management and activities.
Closed - Implemented
The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance has obtained their own contact information and no longer includes the related party's e-mail address and fax number on its business cards.

Full Report