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U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Overview

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the "congressional watchdog," GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars.

Our Mission is to support the 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. We provide Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced.

Our Core Values of accountability, integrity, and reliability are reflected in all of the work we do. We operate under strict professional standards of review and referencing; all facts and analyses in our work are thoroughly checked for accuracy.

Our Work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is mandated by public laws or committee reports. We also undertake research under the authority of the Comptroller General. We support congressional oversight by

  • auditing agency operations to determine whether federal funds are being spent efficiently and effectively;
  • investigating allegations of illegal and improper activities;
  • reporting on how well government programs and policies are meeting their objectives;
  • performing policy analyses and outlining options for congressional consideration; and
  • issuing legal decisions and opinions, such as bid protest rulings and reports on agency rules.

We advise Congress and the heads of executive agencies about ways to make government more efficient, effective, ethical, equitable and responsive.

Climate Change Response

The federal government’s efforts to respond to climate change include adaptation (adjustments to natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climate change) and climate engineering (large-scale deliberate interventions in the earth's climate system to diminish climate change or its impacts).

Keywords

Scale: 
National / Federal

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