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Highlights

Over the years, Congress has created or authorized the creation of numerous entities to carry out federal programs and further public purposes. These federally created entities can be categorized into several types and serve a variety of missions. They are subject to varying governance, accountability, and transparency requirements through which Congress sought to strengthen entity operations, compliance, performance and resource accountability, and public access to information. Collectively, these entities receive trillions of dollars annually in funds appropriated by Congress. Given the wide variety of entity types, applicability of key broad-based requirements, and federal funding, the committee asked GAO to (1) identify and categorize federally created entities by type; (2) determine the extent to which the various entity types are generally subject to key broad-based statutory governance, accountability, and transparency requirements we identified; and (3) determine the amount of appropriations Congress has made directly available to each of the individual entities in recent years (fiscal years 2005 through 2008). To answer these questions, GAO reviewed federal statutes and regulations, previous GAO and Congressional Research Service reports, data on appropriated funds and other budget authority maintained by the Office of Management and Budget, and other relevant manuals, literature and Web sites.

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