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GAO discussed its review of the Office of Government Ethics' (OGE) oversight of agency ethics programs, focusing on recommendations OGE made to the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), State, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). GAO found that: (1) OGE staff limitations prevented agency audits every 3 years; (2) OGE recommendations had not been accepted and implemented until 1988 or 1989, when State and HUD committed additional staff to their programs, and in 1990, when USDA committed more staff; (3) OGE issued regulations to strengthen its oversight capability; and (4) many OGE recommendations went unaddressed because OGE failed to follow up on them.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Government Ethics 1. To strengthen the OGE oversight and enforcement program, the Director, OGE, should more aggressively follow up on its recommendations and require agencies to provide evidence showing promised corrective actions have been taken.
Closed - Implemented
OGE has incorporated audit recommendations into its policy on issuing Notices of Deficiencies and Corrective Actions and will notify the President and Congress of agencies' noncompliance with OGE recommendations.
Office of Government Ethics 2. To strengthen the OGE oversight and enforcement program, the Director, OGE, should promptly issue regulations on confidential financial disclosure.
Closed - Implemented
On April 7, 1992, OGE issued final regulations establishing an uniform system of confidential final disclosure for the executive branch (5 C.F.R. 2634, subpart I).
Office of Government Ethics 3. To strengthen the oversight and enforcement program, the Director, OGE, should require financial transactions to be reported on confidential financial disclosure statements.
Closed - Implemented
OGE revised its regulations to require assets held during the year be reported.

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