[United States Statutes at Large, Volume 122, 110th Congress, 2nd Session]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

122 STAT. 3539

Public Law 110-323
110th Congress

An Act


 
To make certain reforms with respect to the Government Accountability
Office, and for other purposes. [NOTE: Sept. 22, 2008 -  [H.R. 5683]]

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, [NOTE: Government
Accountability Office Act of 2008.]
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; REFERENCES; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) [NOTE: 31 USC 701 note.] Short Title.--This Act may be cited
as the ``Government Accountability Office Act of 2008''.

(b) References.--Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in
this Act an amendment is expressed in terms of an amendment to a section
or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a
section or other provision of title 31, United States Code.
(c) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; references; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Provisions relating to future annual pay adjustments.
Sec. 3. Pay adjustment relating to certain previous years.
Sec. 4.  Lump-sum payment for certain performance-based compensation.
Sec. 5. Inspector General.
Sec. 6. Reimbursement of audit costs.
Sec. 7. Financial disclosure requirements.
Sec. 8. Highest basic pay rate.
Sec. 9. Additional authorities.

SEC. 2. PROVISIONS RELATING TO FUTURE ANNUAL PAY ADJUSTMENTS.

(a) In General.--Section 732 [NOTE: 31 USC 732.] is amended by
adding at the end the following:

``(j)(1) For purposes of this subsection--
``(A) the term `pay increase', as used with respect to an
officer or employee in connection with a year, means the total
increase in the rate of basic pay (expressed as a percentage) of
such officer or employee, taking effect under section 731(b) and
subsection (c)(3) in such year;
``(B) the term `required minimum percentage', as used with
respect to an officer or employee in connection with a year,
means the percentage equal to the total increase in rates of
basic pay (expressed as a percentage) taking effect under
sections 5303 and 5304-5304a of title 5 in such year with
respect to General Schedule positions within the pay locality
(as defined by section 5302(5) of title 5) in which the position
of such officer or employee is located;
``(C) the term `covered officer or employee', as used with
respect to a pay increase, means any individual--

[[Page 3540]]
122 STAT. 3540

``(i) who is an officer or employee of the
Government Accountability Office, other than an officer
or employee described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C)
of section 4(c)(1) of the Government Accountability
Office Act of 2008, determined as of the effective date
of such pay increase; and
``(ii) whose performance is at least at a
satisfactory level, as determined by the Comptroller
General under the provisions of subsection (c)(3) for
purposes of the adjustment taking effect under such
provisions in such year; and
``(D) the term `nonpermanent merit pay' means any amount
payable under section 731(b) which does not constitute basic
pay.

``(2)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, if
(disregarding this subsection) the pay increase that would otherwise
take effect with respect to a covered officer or employee in a year
would be less than the required minimum percentage for such officer or
employee in such year, the Comptroller General shall provide for a
further increase in the rate of basic pay of such officer or employee.
``(B) The further increase under this subsection--
``(i) shall be equal to the amount necessary to make up for
the shortfall described in subparagraph (A); and
``(ii) shall take effect as of the same date as the pay
increase otherwise taking effect in such year.

``(C) Nothing in this paragraph shall be considered to permit or
require that a rate of basic pay be increased to an amount inconsistent
with the limitation set forth in subsection (c)(2).
``(D) If (disregarding this subsection) the covered officer or
employee would also have received any nonpermanent merit pay in such
year, such nonpermanent merit pay shall be decreased by an amount equal
to the portion of such officer's or employee's basic pay for such year
which is attributable to the further increase described in subparagraph
(A) (as determined by the Comptroller General), but to not less than
zero.
``(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the
effective date of any pay increase (within the meaning of paragraph
(1)(A)) taking effect with respect to a covered officer or employee in
any year shall be the same as the effective date of any adjustment
taking effect under section 5303 of title 5 with respect to statutory
pay systems (as defined by section 5302(1) of title 5) in such year.''.
(b) [NOTE: 31 USC 732 note.] Effective Date.--The amendment made
by this section shall apply with respect to any pay increase (as defined
by such amendment) taking effect on or after the date of the enactment
of this Act.
SEC. 3. [NOTE: 31 USC 732 note.] PAY ADJUSTMENT RELATING TO
CERTAIN PREVIOUS YEARS.

(a) Applicability.--This section applies in the case of any
individual who, as of the date of the enactment of this Act, is an
officer or employee of the Government Accountability Office, excluding--
(1) an officer or employee described in subparagraph (A),
(B), or (C) of section 4(c)(1); and
(2) an officer or employee who received both a 2.6 percent
pay increase in January 2006 and a 2.4 percent pay increase in
February 2007.

[[Page 3541]]
122 STAT. 3541

(b) Pay Increase Defined.--For purposes of this section, the term
``pay increase'', as used with respect to an officer or employee in
connection with a year, means the total increase in the rate of basic
pay (expressed as a percentage) of such officer or employee, taking
effect under sections 731(b) and 732(c)(3) of title 31, United States
Code, in such year.
(c) Prospective [NOTE: Effective date.] Effect.--Effective with
respect to pay for service performed in any pay period beginning after
the end of the 6-month period beginning on the date of the enactment of
this Act (or such earlier date as the Comptroller General may specify),
the rate of basic pay for each individual to whom this section applies
shall be determined as if such individual had received both a 2.6
percent pay increase for 2006 and a 2.4 percent pay increase for 2007,
subject to subsection (e).

(d) Lump-Sum Payment.-- [NOTE: Deadline.] Not later than 6 months
after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General
shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, pay to each
individual to whom this section applies a lump-sum payment. Subject to
subsection (e), such lump-sum payment shall be equal to--
(1)(A) the total amount of basic pay that would have been
paid to the individual, for service performed during the period
beginning on the effective date of the pay increase for 2006 and
ending on the day before the effective date of the pay
adjustment under subsection (c) (or, if earlier, the date on
which the individual retires or otherwise ceases to be employed
by the Government Accountability Office), if such individual had
received both a 2.6 percent pay increase for 2006 and a 2.4
percent pay increase for 2007, minus
(B) the total amount of basic pay that was in fact paid to
the individual for service performed during the period described
in subparagraph (A); and
(2) increased by 4 percent of the amount calculated under
paragraph (1).

Eligibility for a lump-sum payment under this subsection shall be
determined solely on the basis of whether an individual satisfies the
requirements of subsection (a) (to be considered an individual to whom
this section applies), and without regard to such individual's
employment status as of any date following the date of the enactment of
this Act or any other factor.
(e) Conditions.--Nothing in subsection (c) or (d) shall be
considered to permit or require--
(1) the payment of any rate (or portion of the lump-sum
amount as calculated under subsection (d)(1) based on a rate)
for any pay period, to the extent that such rate would be (or
would have been) inconsistent with the limitation that applies
(or that applied) with respect to such pay period under section
732(c)(2) of title 31, United States Code; or
(2) the payment of any rate or amount based on the pay
increase for 2006 or 2007 (as the case may be), if--
(A) the performance of the officer or employee
involved was not at a satisfactory level, as determined
by the Comptroller General under paragraph (3) of
section 732(c) of such title 31 for purposes of the
adjustment under such paragraph for that year; or
(B) the individual involved was not an officer or
employee of the Government Accountability Office on the
date as of which that increase took effect.

[[Page 3542]]
122 STAT. 3542

As used in paragraph (2)(A), the term ``satisfactory'' includes a rating
of ``meets expectations'' (within the meaning of the performance
appraisal system used for purposes of the adjustment under section
732(c)(3) of such title 31 for the year involved).
(f) Retirement.--
(1) In general.--The portion of the lump-sum payment paid
under subsection (d) to an officer or employee as calculated
under subsection (d)(1) shall, for purposes of any determination
of the average pay (as defined by section 8331 or 8401 of title
5, United States Code) which is used to compute an annuity under
subchapter III of chapter 83 or chapter 84 of such title--
(A) be treated as basic pay (as defined by section
8331 or 8401 of such title); and
(B) be allocated to the biweekly pay periods covered
by subsection (d).
(2) Contributions to civil service retirement and disability
retirement fund.--
(A) Employee contributions.--The Government
Accountability Office shall deduct and withhold from the
lump-sum payment paid to each employee under subsection
(d) an amount equal to the difference between--
(i) employee contributions that would have
been deducted and withheld from pay under section
8334 or 8422 of title 5, United States Code, if
the portion of the lump-sum payment as calculated
under subsection (d)(1) had been additionally paid
as basic pay during the period described under
subsection (d)(1) of this section; and
(ii) employee contributions that were actually
deducted and withheld from pay under section 8334
or 8422 of title 5, United States Code, during
that period.
(B) Agency contributions and payment to the fund.--
[NOTE: Deadline.] Not later than 9 months after the
Government Accountability Office makes the lump-sum
payments under subsection (d), the Government
Accountability Office shall pay into the Civil Service
Retirement and Disability Fund--
(i) the amount of each deduction and
withholding under subparagraph (A); and
(ii) an amount for applicable agency
contributions under section 8334 or 8423 of title
5, United states Code, based on payments made
under clause (i).

(g) Exclusive Remedy.--This section constitutes the exclusive remedy
that any individuals to whom this section applies (as described in
subsection (a)) have for any claim that they are owed any monies denied
to them in the form of a pay increase for 2006 or 2007 under section
732(c)(3) of title 31, United States Code, or any other law.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no court or administrative
body, including the Government Accountability Office Personnel Appeals
Board, shall have jurisdiction to entertain any civil action or other
civil proceeding based on the claim of such individuals that they were
due money in the form of a pay increase for 2006 or 2007 pursuant to
such section 732(c)(3) or any other law.

[[Page 3543]]
122 STAT. 3543

SEC. 4. [NOTE: 31 USC 732 note.] LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR CERTAIN
PERFORMANCE-BASED COMPENSATION.

(a) In General.-- [NOTE: Deadline.] Not later than 6 months after
the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall,
subject to the availability of appropriations, pay to each qualified
individual a lump-sum payment equal to the amount of performance-based
compensation such individual was denied for 2006, as determined under
subsection (b).

(b) Amount.--The amount payable to a qualified individual under this
section shall be equal to--
(1) the total amount of performance-based compensation such
individual would have earned for 2006 (determined by applying
the Government Accountability Office's performance-based
compensation system under GAO Orders 2540.3 and 2540.4, as in
effect in 2006) if such individual had not had a salary equal to
or greater than the maximum for such individual's band (as
further described in subsection (c)(2)), less
(2) the total amount of performance-based compensation such
individual was in fact granted, in January 2006, for that year.

(c) Qualified Individual.--For purposes of this section, the term
``qualified individual'' means an individual who--
(1) as of the date of the enactment of this Act, is an
officer or employee of the Government Accountability Office,
excluding--
(A) an individual holding a position subject to
section 732a or 733 of title 31, United States Code
(disregarding section 732a(b) and 733(c) of such title);
(B) a Federal Wage System employee; and
(C) an individual participating in a development
program under which such individual receives performance
appraisals, and is eligible to receive permanent merit
pay increases, more than once a year; and
(2) as of January 22, 2006, was a Band I staff member with a
salary above the Band I cap, a Band IIA staff member with a
salary above the Band IIA cap, or an administrative professional
or support staff member with a salary above the cap for that
individual's pay band (determined in accordance with the orders
cited in subsection (b)(1)).

(d) Exclusive Remedy.--This section constitutes the exclusive remedy
that any officers and employees (as described in subsection (c)) have
for any claim that they are owed any monies denied to them in the form
of merit pay for 2006 under section 731(b) of title 31, United States
Code, or any other law. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no
court or administrative body in the United States, including the
Government Accountability Office Personnel Appeals Board, shall have
jurisdiction to entertain any civil action or other civil proceeding
based on the claim of such officers or employees that they were due
money in the form of merit pay for 2006 pursuant to such section 731(b)
or any other law.
(e) Definitions.--For purposes of this section--
(1) the term ``performance-based compensation'' has the
meaning given such term under the Government Accountability
Office's performance-based compensation system under GAO Orders
2540.3 and 2540.4, as in effect in 2006; and

[[Page 3544]]
122 STAT. 3544

(2) the term ``permanent merit pay increase'' means an
increase under section 731(b) of title 31, United States Code,
in a rate of basic pay.
SEC. 5. INSPECTOR GENERAL.

(a) In General.--Subchapter I of chapter 7 is amended by adding at
the end the following:
``Sec. 705. Inspector General for the Government Accountability
Office

``(a) Establishment of Office.--There is established an Office of
the Inspector General in the Government Accountability Office, to--
``(1) conduct and supervise audits consistent with generally
accepted government auditing standards and investigations
relating to the Government Accountability Office;
``(2) provide leadership and coordination and recommend
policies, to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in
the Government Accountability Office; and
``(3) keep the Comptroller General and Congress fully and
currently informed concerning fraud and other serious problems,
abuses, and deficiencies relating to the administration of
programs and operations of the Government Accountability Office.

``(b) Appointment, Supervision, and Removal.--
``(1) The Office of the Inspector General shall be headed by
an Inspector General, who shall be appointed by the Comptroller
General without regard to political affiliation and solely on
the basis of integrity and demonstrated ability in accounting,
auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public
administration, or investigations. The Inspector General shall
report to, and be under the general supervision of, the
Comptroller General.
``(2) The Inspector General may be removed from office by
the Comptroller General. The Comptroller General shall, promptly
upon such removal, communicate in writing the reasons for any
such removal to each House of Congress.
``(3) The Inspector General shall be paid at an annual rate
of pay equal to $5,000 less than the annual rate of pay of the
Comptroller General, and may not receive any cash award or
bonus, including any award under chapter 45 of title 5.

``(c) Authority of Inspector General.--In addition to the authority
otherwise provided by this section, the Inspector General, in carrying
out the provisions of this section, may--
``(1) have access to all records, reports, audits, reviews,
documents, papers, recommendations, or other material that
relate to programs and operations of the Government
Accountability Office;
``(2) make such investigations and reports relating to the
administration of the programs and operations of the Government
Accountability Office as are, in the judgment of the Inspector
General, necessary or desirable;
``(3) request such documents and information as may be
necessary for carrying out the duties and responsibilities
provided by this section from any Federal agency;

[[Page 3545]]
122 STAT. 3545

``(4) in the performance of the functions assigned by this
section, obtain all information, documents, reports, answers,
records, accounts, papers, and other data and documentary
evidence from a person not in the United States Government or
from a Federal agency, to the same extent and in the same manner
as the Comptroller General under the authority and procedures
available to the Comptroller General in section 716 of this
title;
``(5) administer to or take from any person an oath,
affirmation, or affidavit, whenever necessary in the performance
of the functions assigned by this section, which oath,
affirmation, or affidavit when administered or taken by or
before an employee of the Office of Inspector General designated
by the Inspector General shall have the same force and effect as
if administered or taken by or before an officer having a seal;
``(6) have direct and prompt access to the Comptroller
General when necessary for any purpose pertaining to the
performance of functions and responsibilities under this
section;
``(7) report expeditiously to the Attorney General whenever
the Inspector General has reasonable grounds to believe there
has been a violation of Federal criminal law; and
``(8) provide copies of all reports to the Audit Advisory
Committee of the Government Accountability Office and provide
such additional information in connection with such reports as
is requested by the Committee.

``(d) Complaints by Employees.--
``(1) The Inspector General--
``(A) subject to subparagraph (B), may receive,
review, and investigate, as the Inspector General
considers appropriate, complaints or information from an
employee of the Government Accountability Office
concerning the possible existence of an activity
constituting a violation of any law, rule, or
regulation, mismanagement, or a gross waste of funds;
and
``(B) shall refer complaints or information
concerning violations of personnel law, rules, or
regulations to established investigative and
adjudicative entities of the Government Accountability
Office.
``(2) The Inspector General shall not, after receipt of a
complaint or information from an employee, disclose the identity
of the employee without the consent of the employee, unless the
Inspector General determines such disclosure is unavoidable
during the course of the investigation.
``(3) Any employee who has authority to take, direct others
to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not,
with respect to such authority, take or threaten to take any
action against any employee as a reprisal for making a complaint
or disclosing information to the Inspector General, unless the
complaint was made or the information disclosed with the
knowledge that it was false or with willful disregard for its
truth or falsity.

``(e) Semiannual Reports.--(1) The Inspector General shall submit
semiannual reports summarizing the activities of the Office of the
Inspector General to the Comptroller General. Such reports shall
include, but need not be limited to--

[[Page 3546]]
122 STAT. 3546

``(A) a summary of each significant report made during the
reporting period, including a description of significant
problems, abuses, and deficiencies disclosed by such report;
``(B) a description of the recommendations for corrective
action made with respect to significant problems, abuses, or
deficiencies described pursuant to subparagraph (A);
``(C) a summary of the progress made in implementing such
corrective action described pursuant to subparagraph (B); and
``(D) information concerning any disagreement the
Comptroller General has with a recommendation of the Inspector
General.

``(2) The Comptroller General shall transmit the semiannual reports
of the Inspector General, together with any comments the Comptroller
General considers appropriate, to Congress within 30 days after receipt
of such reports.
``(f) Independence in Carrying Out Duties and Responsibilities.--The
Comptroller General may not prevent or prohibit the Inspector General
from carrying out any of the duties or responsibilities of the Inspector
General under this section.
``(g) Authority for Staff.--
``(1) In general.--The Inspector General shall select,
appoint, and employ (including fixing and adjusting the rates of
pay of) such personnel as may be necessary to carry out this
section consistent with the provisions of this title governing
selections, appointments, and employment (including the fixing
and adjusting the rates of pay) in the Government Accountability
Office. Such personnel shall be appointed, promoted, and
assigned only on the basis of merit and fitness, but without
regard to those provisions of title 5 governing appointments and
other personnel actions in the competitive service, except that
no personnel of the Office may be paid at an annual rate greater
than $1,000 less than the annual rate of pay of the Inspector
General.
``(2) Experts and consultants.--The Inspector General may
procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109
of title 5 at rates not to exceed the daily equivalent of the
annual rate of basic pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule
under section 5315 of such title.
``(3) Independence in appointing staff.--No individual may
carry out any of the duties or responsibilities of the Office of
the Inspector General unless the individual is appointed by the
Inspector General, or provides services obtained by the
Inspector General, pursuant to this paragraph.
``(4) Limitation on program responsibilities.--The Inspector
General and any individual carrying out any of the duties or
responsibilities of the Office of the Inspector General are
prohibited from performing any program responsibilities.

``(h) Office Space.--The Comptroller General shall provide the
Office of the Inspector General--
``(1) appropriate and adequate office space;
``(2) such equipment, office supplies, and communications
facilities and services as may be necessary for the operation of
the Office of the Inspector General;
``(3) necessary maintenance services for such office space,
equipment, office supplies, and communications facilities; and
``(4) equipment and facilities located in such office space.

[[Page 3547]]
122 STAT. 3547

``(i) Definition.--As used in this section, the term `Federal
agency' means a department, agency, instrumentality, or unit thereof, of
the Federal Government.''.
(b) [NOTE: 31 USC 705 note.] Incumbent.--The individual who serves
in the position of Inspector General of the Government Accountability
Office on the date of the enactment of this Act shall continue to serve
in such position subject to removal in accordance with the amendments
made by this section.

(c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections for chapter 7 is
amended by inserting after the item relating to section 704 the
following:

``705. Inspector General for the Government Accountability Office.''.

SEC. 6. REIMBURSEMENT OF AUDIT COSTS.

(a) In General.--Section 3521 is amended by adding at the end the
following:
``(i)(1) If the Government Accountability Office audits any
financial statement or related schedule which is prepared under section
3515 by an executive agency (or component thereof) for a fiscal year
beginning on or after October 1, 2009, such executive agency (or
component) shall reimburse the Government Accountability Office for the
cost of such audit, if the Government Accountability Office audited the
statement or schedule of such executive agency (or component) for fiscal
year 2007.
``(2) Any executive agency (or component thereof) that prepares a
financial statement under section 3515 for a fiscal year beginning on or
after October 1, 2009, and that requests, with the concurrence of the
Inspector General of such agency, the Government Accountability Office
to conduct the audit of such statement or any related schedule required
by section 3521 may reimburse the Government Accountability Office for
the cost of such audit.
``(3) For the audits conducted under paragraphs (1) and (2), the
Government Accountability Office shall consult prior to the initiation
of the audit with the relevant executive agency (or component) and the
Inspector General of such agency on the scope, terms, and cost of such
audit.
``(4) Any reimbursement under paragraph (1) or (2) shall be
deposited to a special account in the Treasury and shall be available to
the Government Accountability Office for such purposes and in such
amounts as are specified in annual appropriations Acts.''.
(b) Conforming Amendment.-- [NOTE: Effective date.] Section 1401
of title I of Public Law 108-83 (31 U.S.C. 3523 note) is repealed,
effective October 1, 2010.
SEC. 7. FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS.

Section 109(13)(B) of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C.
App.) is amended--
(1) in clause (i), by inserting ``(except any officer or
employee of the Government Accountability Office)'' after
``legislative branch'', and by striking ``and'' at the end;
(2) by redesignating clause (ii) as clause (iii); and
(3) by inserting after clause (i) the following:
``(ii) each officer or employee of the Government
Accountability Office who, for at least 60 consecutive
days, occupies a position for which the rate of basic
pay, minus the amount of locality pay that would have
been authorized under section 5304 of title 5, United
States Code (had

[[Page 3548]]
122 STAT. 3548

the officer or employee been paid under the General
Schedule) for the locality within which the position of
such officer or employee is located (as determined by
the Comptroller General), is equal to or greater than
120 percent of the minimum rate of basic pay payable for
GS-15 of the General Schedule; and''.
SEC. 8. HIGHEST BASIC PAY RATE.

Section 732(c)(2) [NOTE: 31 USC 732.] is amended by striking
``highest basic rate for GS-15;'' and inserting ``rate for level III of
the Executive Level, except that the total amount of cash compensation
in any year shall be subject to the limitations provided under section
5307(a)(1) of title 5;''.
SEC. 9. ADDITIONAL AUTHORITIES.

(a) In General.--Section 731 is amended--
(1) by repealing subsection (d);
(2) in subsection (e)--
(A) in the matter before paragraph (1), by striking
``maximum daily rate for GS-18 under section 5332 of
such title'' and inserting ``daily rate for level IV of
the Executive Schedule''; and
(B) by striking ``more than--'' and all that follows
and inserting the following: ``more than 20 experts and
consultants may be procured for terms of not more than 3
years, but which shall be renewable.''; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:

``(j) Funds appropriated to the Government Accountability Office for
salaries and expenses are available for meals and other related
reasonable expenses incurred in connection with recruitment.''.
(b) Conforming Amendments.--(1) Section 732a(b) is amended by
striking ``section 731(d), (e)(1), or (e)(2)'' and inserting ``paragraph
(1) or (2) of section 731(e)''.
(2) Section 733(c) is amended by striking ``(d),''.
(3) Section 735(a) is amended by striking ``731(c)-(e),'' and
inserting ``731(c) and (e),''.

Approved September 22, 2008.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 5683:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 110-671 (Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 154 (2008):
June 9, considered and passed House.
Aug. 1, considered and passed Senate, amended.
Sept. 9, House concurred in Senate amendment.