When enforcing regulations, federal agencies use fines to punish willful violators and to deter future violations. However, if agencies don't regularly adjust these fines for inflation, they may become less effective as a deterrent. Congress enacted the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 partly to address this issue. In 2015, Congress amended the act to require GAO to annually review agencies' compliance with certain provisions.
This year, we found that the majority of the 48 agencies that could be subject to the act published their 2022 inflation adjustment in the Federal Register and Agency Financial Reports.
What GAO Found
In this seventh annual review, GAO found that the majority of federal agencies that could be subject to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended (IAA), have published civil monetary penalty inflation adjustments for 2022 in the Federal Register and reported related information in their 2022 or 2021 agency financial reports (AFR) or equivalent. However, one agency did not publish the inflation adjustment in the Federal Register as of December 31, 2022, and did not report the required information in its 2022 AFR for four of its civil monetary penalties.
Why GAO Did This Study
The IAA includes a provision, added in 2015, for GAO to annually submit to Congress a report assessing agencies' compliance with the annual inflation adjustments the act requires.
For more information, contact Paula M. Rascona at (202) 512-9816 or firstname.lastname@example.org.