Congressional Oversight Initiative

COI Resources

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COI Resources Topic: Overseeing Spending

Basic GAO Information

May 18, 2018

Basic GAO information.

Useful Databases and Other Resources

May 18, 2018

A wide-ranging index of links to helpful databases, search engines, and other resources that may prove useful while conducting oversight.

Federal Contracting Investigative Tips

May 18, 2018

What do you need to learn when a contract seems wasteful or has hints of conflicts of interest? This tip sheet will provide you with some questions you should get answered for each stage of a contract.

GAO Resources for Congress

May 18, 2018

A general overview of what GAO can do for Congress.

Government Accountability Office and the Office of Management and Budget

April 20, 2018

Two resources for budget oversight are the Government Accountability Office and the Office of Management and Budget. In addition to GAO’s publicly available reports and information, Congressional staff have access to a special, non-public area that lists all reports currently under development. There is a public-facing GAO webpage called “restricted products” which lists all classified or sensitive reports. Congressional staff can request copies of these reports that are not readily available to the public. The OMB provides information about such things as data on the national defense budget function and all its components, including both discretionary and mandatory spending (www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Analytical_Perspectives); access to current agency budget appendices (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Appendix); an earmarks database (http://earmarks.omb.gov/); and information on federal agency improper payments.

Oversight.gov

April 20, 2018

Oversight.gov is a central repository for reports from most of the 72 Inspectors General. The site allows Congress and the public to search for reports efficiently across the work of multiple government agency Inspectors General, as opposed to going to each individual site.

Total US National Security Spending for 2015-2016

January 29, 2016

A basic breakdown of total national security spending. It includes the DoD budget plus OCO, DHS, VA, International Affairs, retirement costs, and the share of the national debt.

Powerpoint: What is the Defense Budget?

January 29, 2016

These slides show how different ways of measuring the defense budget and how they can be used to mislead viewers. Slide 6 best depicts the DoD Budget over the past 70 years, and slide 9 shows that total national security spending is actually almost twice the DoD budget.

Essay 8: “Decoding the Defense Budget”

January 29, 2016

Pentagon oversight often begins with understanding military spending, and that can mean sifting your way through thousands of pages of budget documents. Here’s a helpful guide to reading, calculating, and utilizing defense budgets.

Essay 4: “Congressional Oversight: Willing and Able or Willing to Enable?”

January 29, 2016

The history of Congressional oversight of the military is rich and complex, and offers many lessons for Congress today. This essay explains what it takes to oversee the Pentagon.

Audio: Patrick Bailey on How to Find Waste in the Federal Budget

December 11, 2015

Patrick Bailey, Chief Counsel for Governmental Affairs on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, gives tips and best practices about finding waste in the federal budget. (Running time: 10:53)

Audio: Peter Tyler on How to Find Waste in the Federal Budget

December 11, 2015

Peter Tyler, Senior Professional Staffer on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, gives tips and best practices about finding waste in the federal budget. (Running time: 19:19)