GAO discussed how the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has complied with appropriations limitations on funding of possibly obscene art. GAO found that: (1) NEA incorporated the statute as an express term and condition of every fiscal year (FY) 1990 grant; (2) NEA submits for further review any grant application that raises potential compliance issues; (3) the controls over grant awards cannot guarantee that funds will not be used in a manner inconsistent with the statute; (4) NEA has met its legal obligation to adopt reasonable controls designed to prevent statute violations; (5) NEA could enhance compliance with the statute by issuing additional guidance; (6) concerns have been raised that the statutory language is vague and possibly unconstitutional; (7) it might not be obvious whether seasonal support grant funds are used to promote, disseminate, or produce obscene materials; and (8) it is difficult to make determinations at the grant award stage on whether materials produced under the grant will comply with the statute.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|National Endowment for the Arts||1. NEA should issue a policy stating that it will apply the Miller test in order to respond to concerns over the alleged vagueness of the language.|
|National Endowment for the Arts||2. NEA should consider adopting a procedure whereby grantees could seek advisory opinions from NEA at a later stage concerning whether they are in jeopardy of violating section 304(a). It might be possible in some cases for NEA, in response to a request from a grantee, to advise the grantee whether a potential use of grant funds would violate the statute.|