31 U.S. Code § 712. Investigating the use of public money

The Comptroller General shall—
investigate all matters related to the receipt, disbursement, and use of public money;
estimate the cost to the United States Government of complying with each restriction on expenditures of a specific appropriation in a general appropriation law and report each estimate to Congress with recommendations the Comptroller General considers desirable;
analyze expenditures of each executive agency the Comptroller General believes will help Congress decide whether public money has been used and expended economically and efficiently;
make an investigation and report ordered by either House of Congress or a committee of Congress having jurisdiction over revenue, appropriations, or expenditures; and
give a committee of Congress having jurisdiction over revenue, appropriations, or expenditures the help and information the committee requests.
(Pub. L. 97–258, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 889.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Revised Section

Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


31:53(a)(1st sentence words before 5th comma).

June 10, 1921, ch. 18, § 312(a)(1st sentence words before 5th comma), (b), 42 Stat. 25.



Aug. 2, 1946, ch. 753, §§ 205, 206(1st sentence), 60 Stat. 837.


31:60(1st sentence).


31:53(b)(1st sentence).


31:53(b)(last sentence).

In clause (1), the words “at the seat of government or elsewhere” are omitted as surplus.

In clause (2), the words “estimate the cost to the United States Government of complying with each restriction on expenditures” are substituted for “make a full and complete study of restrictions . . . limiting the expenditure therein with a view to determining the cost to the Government incident to complying with such restrictions”, and the word “desirable” is substituted for “necessary or desirable”, to eliminate unnecessary words.

In clause (3), the words “executive agency” are substituted for “agency in the executive branch of the Government (including Government corporations)” because of section 102 of the revised title.

In clause (4), the words “committee of Congress” are substituted for “committee of either House” for consistency.

In clause (5), the words “at the request of any such committee, direct assistants from his office” are omitted as surplus.

Identification, Consolidation, and Elimination of Duplicative Government Programs

Pub. L. 111–139, title II, § 21, Feb. 12, 2010, 124 Stat. 29, provided that:

“The Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office shall conduct routine investigations to identify programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives with duplicative goals and activities within Departments and governmentwide and report annually to Congress on the findings, including the cost of such duplication and with recommendations for consolidation and elimination to reduce duplication identifying specific rescissions.”
Report on Tobacco Settlement Agreement

Pub. L. 107–171, title X, § 10908, May 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 538, provided that:

“Not later than December 31, 2002, and annually thereafter through 2006, the Comptroller General shall submit to Congress a report that describes all programs and activities that States have carried out using funds received under all phases of the Master Settlement Agreement of 1997.”