The Comptroller General of the United States (CG) 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 persuant 31 U.S.C. §703. Also persuant 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 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."
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