Members Query GAO on Revisions to Proprietary Colleges Report
Revisions raise questions about GAO investigative unit’s conclusions and objectivity
WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan group of six lawmakers today released a letter sent to Acting U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro seeking answers about controversial revisions to an August 2010 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report critical of recruiting practices at proprietary colleges and universities. The revisions to the GAO report were released on November 30, 2010, and included major changes to 16 of the 28 key investigative “scenarios” in the report. The factual changes to the report have raised new questions about conclusions reached by GAO regarding the recruiting practices of proprietary schools.
“As the ‘congressional watchdog,’ GAO’s mission is to ‘provide Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced,’” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) said in the letter. “In the same manner that GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars, Congress is entitled to hold GAO to the highest standards of ‘accountability, integrity, and reliability.’ Accordingly, we expect GAO to adhere to ‘strict professional standards of review and referencing,’ and to conduct thorough analysis and fact-checking.”
The letter to Dodaro asks that he respond to questions about the revisions no later than January 3, 2011 and that GAO brief relevant Congressional staff about the circumstances surrounding the revisions.