The Government's Use of 'M' and Merged Surplus Accounts

Gao ID: T-AFMD-90-26 August 2, 1990

GAO discussed the government's use of M and merged surplus accounts and provided perspectives on legislation to strengthen control and oversight of those accounts. GAO noted that: (1) at the end of fiscal year (FY) 1989, M accounts for executive agencies totalled over $28 billion, and the military services accounted two-thirds of that amount; (2) M account balances for the military services grew from $2.7 billion in FY 1980 to $18.5 billion in FY 1989; (3) in FY 1989, there were 1,362 individual payments of $500,000 or more, totalling $8.1 billion, from accounts; (3) the Agency for International Development (AID) was the second largest user, making 367 payments valued at almost $1.3 billion; and (4) there were 36 restorations over $500,000 in FY 1989, amounting to $320 million, and while the military services accounted for over two-thirds of this amount, AID accounted for less than $1 million. GAO believes that: (1) the proposed legislation needs better financial information on the status of appropriations; and (2) there is a need for leadership to improve reporting and control over appropriations.

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