Need to Strengthen Financial Accountability to the Congress, Smithsonian Institution

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  • The United States General Accounting Office was asked by a joint request of the Subcommittee on the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies, the Committee on Appropriations, and the United States Senate to conduct a study of the Smithsonian Institution and it financial accountability. The report disclosed three specific problems: 1) the Smithsonian's distribution of Federal funds to private, nonprofit corporations thereby avoiding fiscal year and civil service restrictions, 2) the need for congressional approval of reprogramming of funds within the Salaries and Expenses appropriation, and 3) the need for the Congress to be informed of the Smithsonian's planned use of private funds.
  • The report contents includes chapters 1) Introduction, 2) Avoidance of Restrictions on the Use of Appropriated Funds, 3) The Congress Needs more Information on Smithsonian Funds, 4) Establishment of Facilities and Their Impact on Federal Funding Requirements, and 5) Other Matters. Chapter 4 discusses the use of starting programs with private funds and then need the support of federal funds. This includes discussion of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, the Chesapeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies (now the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center), the Conservation and Research Center, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The Appendix includes "The role of the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution," and a letter from Secretary Ripley which includes an "Outline of the Origin and Development of the Smithsonian Institution."


  • Ripley, Sidney Dillon 1913-2001
  • United States General Accounting Office
  • United States Congress
  • Subcommittee on the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies
  • United States Congress House Committee on Appropriations
  • United States Congress Senate
  • Chesapeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)
  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • National Museum of Design
  • Conservation Biology Institute (National Zoological Park)
  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
  • Board of Regents


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • Title 20, Education
  • Report


Report Number: GGD-77-43. Report can be found in Smithsonian Institution Archives Record Unit 613, Office of the Secretaries for the Year 1977, Box 422, Folder GAO Comptroller (Accession #81-078).

Contained within

Report of the Comptroller General of the United States, GGD-77-43, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 613, Office of the Secretary (S. Dillon Ripley), Records, Box 422, Folder: GAO Comptroller (Book)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Trusts and trustees
  • Law and legislation
  • Secretaries
  • Finance
  • Status (Law)
  • Expenditures, Public
  • Federal funds
  • Finance--Law and legislation



Physical description

Number of pages: 120; Page Numbers: i-110

Full Record

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