COI Resources Topic: Overseeing Spending
Basic GAO information.
A wide-ranging index of links to helpful databases, search engines, and other resources that may prove useful while conducting oversight.
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.
A general overview of what GAO can do for Congress.
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.
Audio: Finding Waste in the Federal Budget, with Patrick Bailey, Chief Counsel for Governmental Affairs, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs CommitteeApril 20, 2018
Audio: Finding Waste in the Federal Budget, with Peter Tyler, former Senior Professional Staffer on Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs CommitteeApril 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)