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Friday, September 04, 2009

Is GAO Always Objective?

Forty years ago, at a Senate Government Operations Committee hearing on the role of GAO, Sen. Alan Cranston of California (a former state comptroller) observed that when GAO is asked to evaluate programs the GAO itself has recommended, objectivity problems can arise. As Sen. Cranston put it at the hearing: “If they [GAO officials] make a recommendation and it is adopted by Congress, they then have a sort of vested interest in that particular program, and their independence and ability to judge are somewhat impaired and, I think, less reliable.”

By: Christopher Hanks, Ph.D.

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