White House Travel Office

Gao ID: GGD-93-143 September 30, 1993

This interim report updates the status of GAO's ongoing investigation of the White House travel office. GAO cautioned Congress earlier this year that its review was unlikely to be completed by the statutory deadline of September 30. GAO has encountered delays in negotiating access to key individuals and information. Because of balance-of-power concerns, the White House traditionally has been reluctant to open its operations to GAO review. Further limitations have been imposed by the ongoing Justice Department and FBI criminal investigations into allegations of misconduct. Finally, GAO is having to adhere carefully to Internal Revenue Service regulations that prohibit the release of information about taxpayers unless the taxpayer consents. GAO is making progress in establishing suitable procedures, however, and its access to records and individuals is beginning to accelerate.

GAO found that: (1) the Travel Office review is unusual and time-consuming because access to pertinent information has been limited; (2) the White House has been reluctant to disclose information because of balance of power concerns and has edited significant amounts of information on the grounds that it is not relevant to the review or privileged information; (3) the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other investigative agencies have ongoing criminal investigations into the propriety of the employee dismissals; (4) access to legislatively-protected Internal Revenue Service taxpayer information has been limited; and (5) further delays and limitations could limit GAO review of White House Travel Office activities.

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