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Audit of Special Counsel Expenditures for the 6 Months Ended March 31, 2008

GAO-08-1122R Published: Sep 24, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 24, 2008.
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This report presents the results of our audit of the expenditures of the Office of Special Counsel-Patrick J. Fitzgerald (OSC-Fitzgerald) for the 6 months ended March 31, 2008. The expenditures we audited were those made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) between October 1, 2007, and March 31, 2008, from the permanent, indefinite appropriation (fund) for OSC-Fitzgerald. DOJ determined that the appropriation established by Public Law 100-202 to fund expenditures by independent counsels appointed pursuant to the independent counsel law or other law is available to fund the expenditures of U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who was appointed as a special counsel within the Department of Justice by the then-Acting Attorney General. Under this law, we are required to perform semiannual financial reviews of expenditures from the fund and report our findings to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. To satisfy this requirement, we audit each expenditure processed by DOJ to determine whether it was: properly authorized and approved, supported by appropriate documentation, recorded accurately, and made in accordance with selected provisions of laws and regulations. On December 30, 2003, the then-Acting Attorney General appointed U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel to investigate whether officials of the current administration illegally disclosed the identity of an undercover Central Intelligence Agency officer. In March 2007, after a jury trial, an administration official was convicted of perjury, lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and obstruction of justice in the investigation. In July 2007, the President of the United States commuted the prison term imposed by the sentencing judge upon the administration official. The administration official dropped his appeal of his convictions in December 2007. Expenditures during this period relate to the official's appeal of his conviction of perjury and obstruction of justice charges, as well as some expenses paid during this period that were reimbursements of travel and lodging incurred during the trial and sentencing. The activities of the special counsel were, for all practical purposes concluded as of March 2008, but the office of the special counsel will continue for limited purposes, such as responding to congressional requests for information.

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