Dodaro: Financial literacy, high-risk projects top GAO priorities

Thursday - 1/6/2011, 4:55pm EST

Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General, Government Accountability Office

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Newly confirmed Comptroller General Gene Dodaro said the Government Accountability Office's priorities will be to continue to support Congress, to resolve high-risk problems and to expand financial literacy.

GAO has a "strong foundation of work" in financial literacy, Dodaro said in an interview with In Depth with Francis Rose.

"I think the comptroller general position that I'm in now ... will give me the ability to work across the federal government with state and local governments, with people in the private sector and academia, to help lend our voice to the need for greater financial literacy in the country, which will help citizens make more informed choices," Dodaro said.

Several financial literacy efforts are already underway across government. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act includes a mandate for GAO to study different methods to promote financial literacy, Dodaro said. He added that GAO would report on its findings in the summer.

Organizations like the American Institute of CPAs have financial literacy initiatives that GAO will also study, Dodaro said. The goal for the agency is to "study what's effective, where the gaps are, and figure out an appropriate role for GAO," he said.

GAO will also continue to meet with the Office of Management and Budget and agencies with problems on the high-risk list. Every two years, GAO provides Congress an update on the list, which highlights "problems that are at high risk for waste, fraud, abuse mismanagement or in need of broad reform," according to the GAO website. As of November 2009, there were 31 areas on the high-risk list.

These meetings will be crucial in determining " what progress has been made and, more importantly, how additional efforts can be made to reduce things to appropriate levels where we would take them off the list," Dodaro said.