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Friday, April 06, 2007

Biggest spenders are least accountable agencies, report finds

Agencies with the biggest budgets are the least transparent when it comes to explaining their results to the public, according to a study released April 3.

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a government watchdog, has analyzed the annual performance and accountability reports issued by 24 major federal agencies for the last eight years. The group rates whether the reports are easy to find and read, communicate the benefits of agency work and help drive management changes.

Nearly 90 percent of federal funds in 2006 were spent by agencies with unsatisfactory performance reports, according to Mercatus. The four lowest-ranking agencies alone — the Office of Personnel Management and the Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services departments — accounted for almost $800 billion in federal spending in 2006.

That’s a problem since trust and transparency are essential in a democracy, said Comptroller General David Walker at a press conference announcing the results.

According to the ratings, agencies had the most trouble with linking results to costs, explaining why they failed to achieve major goals and resolving major management challenges.

- Mollie Ziegler, FederalTimes.com

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