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Comptroller of the
United States of America
Gene L. Dodaro
Term length 15 years
Formation 1921

The Comptroller General of the United States is the director of the Government Accountability Office (GAO, formerly known as the General Accounting Office), a legislative branch agency founded by Congress in 1921 to ensure the fiscal and managerial accountability of the federal government.

The Comptroller General is appointed for a fifteen-year term by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate per 31 U.S.C. § 703. Also per 31 U.S.C. § 703 when the office of CG is to become vacant the current CG must appoint an executive or employee of the GAO to serve as the Acting CG.

The current Acting Comptroller General is Gene L. Dodaro, who became Acting Comptroller General of the United States on March 12, 2008. He was preceded by David M. Walker (1998-2008).[1] On February 15, 2008, David Walker, then Comptroller General announced that he was resigning from GAO to head the The Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

The Comptroller General has the responsibility to audit the financial statements that the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget present to the Congress and the President. For every fiscal year since 1996, when consolidated financial statements began, the Comptroller General has refused to endorse the accuracy of the consolidated figures for the federal budget, citing "(1) serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense, (2) the federal government’s inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal agencies, and (3) the federal government’s ineffective process for preparing the consolidated financial statements." [1]

US Comptrollers General to date

For additional information on each Comptroller General, see Detailed Table

Comptroller General Date of Service Appointing President
John R. McCarl July 1, 1921[2] – June 30, 1936[2] Warren G. Harding
Fred H. Brown April 11, 1939[2] – June 19th, 1940[2] Franklin D. Roosevelt
Lindsay C. Warren November 1, 1940[2] – April 30, 1954[2] Franklin D. Roosevelt
Joseph Campbell December 14th, 1954[2] – July 31, 1965[2] Dwight D. Eisenhower
Elmer B. Staats March 8, 1966[2] – 1981 Lyndon B. Johnson
Charles A. Bowsher 1981–1996 Ronald Reagan
David M. Walker 1998–2008 Bill Clinton
Gene L. Dodaro [3] Interim Comptroller General effective March 12, 2008

A summary of the activities of each of the Comptrollers General has been published by GAO. This article, written by the agency's historian to commemorate GAO's 80th anniversary, shows how the agency's leaders and employees have adapted to changing times over the years. This article is available at GAO: Working for Good Government Since 1921.


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