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Government Accountability Official Urges Congress to Pass Lankford’s Taxpayer Right to Know Act

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in a Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing entitled, “Duplication, Waste, and Fraud in Federal Programs.” Most notably, hearing witness, Eugene L. Dodaro, a senior official at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), praised Lankford’s Taxpayers Right to Know Act, and urged Congress to pass it and the president to sign it into law. The Taxpayers Right to Know Act is a bipartisan bill that would require the federal government to make public the details, costs, and performance metrics of every federal program.

In conjunction with the release of an annual GAO report on duplicative government programs, today’s hearing examined duplication, waste, and fraud in federal government programs. The GAO is a nonpartisan government agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for Congress. One of Lankford’s top priorities as a Member of Congress has been government waste and transparency. Lankford is also the author of an annual government waste report, entitled Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball.

Excerpts:

Senator James Lankford:

Mr. Dodaro, we have talked often about a bill that Sen. Claire Mccaskill (D-MO) and I have worked on and tried to get done in the last session of Congress called, The Taxpayers Right to Know. What you’ve done in the duplication work is phenomenal. What we tried to get accomplished in the last session and what we can hopefully get accomplished very soon is to be able to get some of this evaluation tools that’s out there. We’re missing a tool and you’re missing a tool. We wait for this [annual GAO] report yearly when it comes out, but it’s something we should be able to pull immediately with just the agencies making that information available. Every taxpayer should be able to pull this information, we should be able to see how things are evaluated, we should be able to see the basic spend patterns, it should not be a rocket science request of our agencies. They already have that information – [they need] to be able to make it available.  

Eugene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General, U.S. Government Accountability Office:

I would urge the Congress to complete passage of that bill and send it to the president for signature. I think that it would make a huge difference in identifying overlap, duplication, fragmentation in the federal government and provide a better accountability tool to the Congress and the agencies. It’s severely lacking. One of the biggest difficulties we’ve had in executing our responsibility under this requirement to produce this [GAO] report is the lack of information that’s available on what it costs for programs, how have they ever been evaluated, what’s the evaluation shown? The [Taxpayers Right to Know Act] would have that information automatically available and be really, a very much more efficient way to address this issue so I would encourage its passage.

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