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The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) (formerly named the General Accounting Office) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the "congressional watchdog," the GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. The head of GAO, the Comptroller General of the United States, is appointed to a 15-year term by the President from a slate of candidates Congress proposes.

The GAO's mission is to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. It provides Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced. The GAO examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. The GAO's commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.


The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 (31 U.S.C. Chapter 7) established the GAO to audit Government agencies independently. Over the years, Congress has expanded the GAO's audit authority, added new responsibilities and duties, and strengthened its ability to perform independently. The GAO's fundamental responsibility is supporting Congress. To meet this objective, GAO performs a variety of services, the most prominent of which are audits and evaluations of Government programs and activities, including major FIP resources acquisitions. GAO, in addition to the GSBCA, is authorized to hear and decide protest cases.

GAO reports[]

The following GAO reports are organized by year in reverse chronological order.