GAO List Identifies Federal Wastrels

A bipartisan, bicameral group of senators and congressmen recently helped unveil the Government Accountability Office's biennial list of federal agencies at high-risk of waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, or in need of broad reform.

The list, released at the beginning of every Congress since 1990, contained four new programs since the 2007 list was published, and one program listed in 2007 was removed, for a total of 30 agencies, departments or programs now at risk.

Accompanying Acting GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro were Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Joe Lieberman, (I-Conn.), Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins, (R-Maine.), Committee members Daniel Akaka, (D-Hawaii) and George Voinovich, (R-Ohio), and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chair Ed Towns, (D-N.Y.), and Ranking Member Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.).

"Because of the Department of Homeland Security's essential mission to keep the American people safe, GAO's listing of the entire department, once again, is distressing but not unexpected," Lieberman said. "We are acutely aware of the department's progress, as well as its shortcomings, and we have put its continued improvement at the top of our to-do list."

Collins said: "The High-Risk list that GAO releases every Congress serves as a road map to those of us in Congress and the Administration. The task of rooting out waste, fraud, abuse and inefficiencies in the federal government, as well as identifying agencies and activities at risk of failure, requires persistent and diligent oversight. Whether it is helping to ensure that programs such as the 2010 census are viable, protecting our nation's critical infrastructure or modernizing an outdated financial regulatory system, it is obvious from GAO's 2009 High Risk list that much work remains to be done."

New on the list this year are modernizing the federal financial regulatory system, protecting public health through better oversight of medical products, and transforming EPA's processes for accessing and controlling toxic chemicals. The 2010 Census preparations were added to the list in 2008. Falling off the list was the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control modernization.