The GAO has said it experienced “repeated problems with gaining access to both people and documents” when conducting an assessment of the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research, the type of complaint that has led Congress to increase the authority of other investigative bodies such as the OSC and agency IGs.
“Many meetings took months to schedule, some were canceled with short notice, and responses to requests for documentation and other information were delayed. GAO made repeated attempts to obtain required documentation and to schedule interviews with agency officials. These attempts included frequent follow-up emails and phone calls, the imposition of deadlines for document delivery that were either not complied with or resulted in production of some but not all required documents,” GAO said.
GAO added that it stopped its work after the Treasury IG began investigating a whistleblowing disclosure that the agency had “manipulated” the information it did provide.
GAO’s statement caused the chairwoman of a House Financial Services Committee to suggest that the OFR should be abolished, saying that other agencies perform its mission of overseeing financial markets.
The OFR director told the panel that the office “complied fully with all GAO requests related to the audit” and that it has acted on the recommendations of prior GAO reports.