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Government Accountability Office

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. 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.

GAO’s 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.  GAO’s work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is mandated by public laws or committee reports. They also undertake research under the authority of the Comptroller General. Congressional oversight is supported 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.

Department/Agency Specific Prune Job Profiles:
Government Accountability Office, Comptroller General