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In a recent audit, the General Accounting Office reported “significant deficiencies” in the internal controls of the fund that pays operating and maintenance costs for the Senate’s page dorm.

[IMGCAP(1)]The March 31 GAO report, which focused on fiscal 2002, found that while the Daniel Webster Senate Page Residence Revolving Fund “had effective internal control over financial reporting (including safeguarding of assets) and compliance with laws and regulations” certain “internal controls should be improved.”

“These weaknesses in internal control, although not considered material weaknesses, represent significant deficiencies in the design or operations of internal control, which could adversely affect the entity’s ability to meet the internal control objectives,” the report continues.

Among the issues cited in the report, GAO noted that staff using purchase cards exceeded annual spending limits established in Senate Procurement Regulations.

“Fund staff exceeded the fiscal year 2002 spending limits based on verbal approval received from Sergeant at Arms staff,” the report states. “Subsequently, the Sergeant at Arms sought and obtained ratification of the excess purchase card spending from the [Senate Rules and Administration] Committee.”

In its conclusion, the GAO report recommends the fund officials improve policies governing how transactions are recorded; develop procedures to ensure transactions are properly reviewed; and improve controls over purchase card spending limits.

— Jennifer Yachnin

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