NASA OIG Audit of NASA's Management and Funding of Fiscal Year 2006 Congressional Earmarks


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National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office of Inspector General
Washington, DC 20546-0001

August 9,2007

TO: Administrator

FROM: Inspector General

SUBJECT: Audit of NASA's Management and Funding of Fiscal Year 2006 Congressional Earmarks (Report No. IG-07-028)

In response to Senator Coburn's request dated August 23, 2006, the Ofice of Inspector General conducted an independent audit of congressional earmarks included in NASA's budget for fiscal year (FY) 2006 to determine the total number and cost, including the cost of the earmark itself and related costs such as staff time and administration, of congressional earmarks within NASA programs; the overall impact of earmarks on advancing the primary mission and goals of the Agency; and what oversight NASA conducted on earmarks and how that oversight compares to the oversight conducted on other expenditures such as grants and contracts.

As Senator Coburn requested, we defined a congressional earmark as a provision of law, a directive, or item represented in any table, chart, or text contained within a joint explanatory statement or a report accompanying a bill that specifies the identity of an entity, program, project, or service and the amount of the assistance to be received. (See Enclosure 1 for scope and methodology details.)

Results in Brief

NASA's FY 2006 budget of $16.6 billion included 199 earmarks with congressionally directed finding of $568.2 million or 3.4 percent of the Agency's budget. The total cost of the 199 FY 2006 earmarks was $576.2 million, which included the $568.2 million in congressionally directed funding plus $8 million in Agency oversight and administration costs.

Of the 199 earmarks, NASA characterized 12 of them as programmatic earmarks because they directed the use of $280.7 million in appropriated finding to existing NASA programs. NASA characterized the remaining 187 as site-specific earmarks because they directed the use of $287.5 million in appropriated hding to specific activities and identified sites andor recipients that should perform the work. We reviewed 42 earmarks, valued at $321.4 million, including all 12 programmatic earmarks and a statistically selected sample of 30 site-specific earmarks. Details on the earmarks we reviewed are contained in Enclosures 2 to 4.

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