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Smithsonian Institution: Implementation of Governance Reforms is Progressing, but Work Remains

GAO-10-190R Published: Dec 10, 2009. Publicly Released: Dec 10, 2009.
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The Smithsonian Institution (Smithsonian) is the world's largest museum complex. Its funding comes from its own private trust fund assets and federal appropriations. The Smithsonian Board of Regents, the Smithsonian's governing body, is responsible for the long-term stewardship of the Smithsonian. In recent years, GAO and others have documented significant governance and accountability breakdowns at the Smithsonian, which could ultimately put funding and the organization's credibility at risk. In 2007 the Board of Regents Governance Committee released a report recommending 42 governance reforms. In May 2008 GAO found that the Board of Regents had implemented 30 of these 42 reforms. GAO also made 4 additional recommendations. In response to a congressional mandate, this report provides an update on the status of the Smithsonian's implementation of governance reforms recommended by the Board of Regents Governance Committee and GAO. The work for this report is based on analysis of Smithsonian documents, interviews with Smithsonian officials, and a GAO report on Smithsonian governance (GAO-08-632). GAO is not making any new recommendations. The Smithsonian and the Board of Regents concurred with the findings of this report.

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